Vitamin pill to reduce heart problems in people with kidney disease

15 April 2016        

Category: Research

heart and kidney cartoon

We are funding researchers in Scotland £290,000 to find out if vitamin k can improve cardiovascular health in people with chronic kidney disease.

Vitamin K is found in all sorts of leafy greens, and has been associated with a number of health benefits over the years. Now, the first patients have begun receiving treatment in a new clinical trial to find out if vitamin K can improve heart and blood vessel health in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD). 

People with kidney disease have a significantly greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Kidney disease causes a layer of calcium to settle in the wall of blood vessels, making them stiff, which increases blood pressure and puts strain on the heart.

Chronic kidney disease

CKD is a long-term condition where the kidneys do not work effectively. It is linked to ageing and is a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Over a third of people over the age of 65 have some level of CKD, which is one of the most common comorbidities seen in hospitals, particularly in those admitted with acute cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks and strokes.

The study

The researchers, based at the University of Dundee and the University of Glasgow, will give either 400mcg of vitamin K or a placebo to 166 people with CKD once a day for a year and measure the stiffness of blood vessels.

What could this lead to?

Dr Miles Witham, the lead researcher on the BHF-funded trial at the University of Dundee, said: “If successful, this trial could open up a whole new avenue of ways to reduce heart attacks and strokes, not only in people with chronic kidney disease but also in others affected by calcium build-up in their blood vessels.

Professor Jeremy Pearson, our associate Medical Director, said: “We can only fund clinical trials like this with the support of the public. We receive no funding from Government so we rely on the continued and generous support of people making donations.”