In praise of vitamin K

| July 11, 2020

I’m aware that my story sounds like a travelling salesman blurb for a patent medicine, but it’s a genuine tale of what appeared to be a ‘golden bullet’ as far as I am concerned.

I’ve exercised all of my life, even after getting bilateral knee replacements at 72. In 2013 at age 81, my co-morbidities were cardiovascular disease (with a stent in my right descending coronary artery) with frequent mild anginas, developing cataracts, developing chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pre-diabetes 2, and lumbar spinal problems.

As the year wore on, I progressively developed osteoarthritis of the right ankle that had me using crutches and unable to walk independently for any distance. My ankle bones were virtually collapsing (Charcot’s Foot) and a 25 mm osteophyte began to protrude from the medial aspect of my right ankle. I was rapidly heading for a wheelchair.

By 2014, I decided to get my right ankle bones fused together so that I would have a club foot, which would be more practical than a wheelchair around the house. Fortunately I had to undergo ultrasounds of my leg arteries to ensure sufficient circulation for ankle surgery to heal. The scans revealed that most of leg arteries were stenosed by atherosclerosis to some extent and many were actually occluded.

While waiting for my next appointment with the vascular surgeon, I decided to review the literature on atherosclerosis and osteoarthritis.

The power of Vitamin K

A significant revelation was that atherosclerosis was easily produced experimentally in rats, pigs, dogs etc, but if experimental animals were fed high doses of vitamin K, the reproduction was not successful.

My pragmatic reasoning was that if vitamin Ks prevented experimental atherosclerosis, maybe they would at least take some of the calcium and stiffness out of my arteries and allow them to become a little more elastic.

That was when I reviewed hundreds of research papers on vitamin K and chronic diseases, worked out a sensible dose of both vitamins K1 and K2 and began self-medication without any further visits to the foot surgeon or vascular surgeon.

Ultrasounds after 14 months revealed a reversal of atherosclerosis in all arteries stenosed about 50% and some of the 75% ones. Occluded arteries remained occluded.

All of my chronic conditions (except chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) have ameliorated; when I was 85, I set a new Australian record of 61 minutes across all age groups for a gym exercise known as ‘The Plank’. It comes up in Google under “DOUG FENWICK PLANK.”


The whole dissertation is available as a free download of an eBook titled ‘Vitamin K or a Wheelchair: Your ChoiceAt the end of Chapter 5, I’ve listed all the many supplements I used during 2013 without any success in an attempt to improve my osteoarthritis, and also the brands of the vitamins K1 and K2 that I have used over the last 6 years to date, with marked physical improvement and no detectable side effects.

It is 100% evidence-based with over 100 website references to basic research publications. The ultrasounds of my leg arteries shown in that dissertation from before and then 14 months after vitamin K supplementation are the ONLY published record of reversal of atherosclerosis in the world. The evidence also suggests that western diets do not contain sufficient vitamin K to support a healthy lifestyle.

In fact, two reviews are cited in which the authors claim that western diets do not contain enough vitamin Ks to support healthy lifestyles. Green leafy vegetables contain relatively high contents of vitamin K1, but it is tightly bound to chloroplasts inside cells and we do not possess the digestive enzymes to break down the lignin of plant cell walls. We obtain variable amounts of vitamin K2 from our gut flora.

Side effects and toxicity?

There are NO published records of any side effects, let alone harmful effects of vitamin K usage, and any suggestions to the contrary by health professionals are based on imagination and not on evidence. In 1940, an attempt to kill a rat with a dose equivalent to 2 kg of vitamin K1 for an 80 kg human, was unsuccessful.

In addition, as long ago as 1997, Rondell et al in a paper titled Modulation of arterial thrombosis tendency in rats by vitamin K and its side chains, used a rat aortic loop model to observe the coagulation rate of blood. They reported that in rats, very high doses of vitamin K (250,000 micrograms per kg body weight per day of either phylloquinone or menaquinone-MK4) affected neither the blood coagulation characteristics nor the blood platelet aggregation rate.

The dose I have been using successfully for 6 years, of 1000 micrograms per day, is quite low by comparison. This means of course that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by spending less than $1 a day to either improve your well-being or to prevent many degenerative diseases later in life. It is available over the counter at many chemist outlets, or online herbal outlets, but you need to check the dose on the packets.

Why Vitamin K supplements work

I realise that it’s a silly thing to say, but my assessment is that supplementing your diet with vitamin Ks is one of those things you should be doing when you don’t need to do so. I’m sure that I would still have my own knees if I’d been doing that in my 30s or 40s.

The reason that vitamin K deficiencies are involved in so many degenerative conditions is because of its role in preventing atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is not just an accumulation of lipids and chlolesterol in the walls of arteries.

It is a process caused by a lack of Activated Protein C, which requires vitamin K for activation. Activated Protein C inhibits every stage of atherosclerosis formation, and in my case, reversed it in arteries that were not already occluded.

Atherosclerosis of course produces degrees of blockage of arteries and this in turn causes a poor blood supply to end organs such as the legs (mainly in my case), heart, brain, gut spine, etc, with resulting degeneration of those end tissues and organs.

The dissertation lists references associating vitamin K deficiencies and arteriosclerosis & atherosclerosis with osteoarthritisleg function in oldiesreproductive biologyheart conditionsbone health, chronic kidney diseasetype 2 diabetesnervous system health, cataracts, inflammation biomarkersblood cholesterolregeneration of blood vessels and skindementia, back pain and all-cause mortality.

The literature indicates that early lesions of atherosclerosis (presumably due to vitamin K deficiencies) can occur in infants and is common enough in teenagers. Of course it becomes more prevalent with aging. We are born with very low vitamin K reserves and mother’s milk contains very small amounts.

My belief is that adequate vitamin K supplementation would halve the national health budget.If I used Occam’s Razor to rationalise all of the above I would have to conclude that blood clotting failures (apart from genetic diseases such as haemophilia) are just one rare  manifestation of acute and severe vitamin K deficiency and that arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis are both very common pathological effects of prolonged (or chronic) deficiency of vitamin K.

Cardiac ischaemic diseases, strokes, dementias, back pains, osteoarthroses, nephroses and just maybe other specific organ diseases (eg cataracts, benign prostate gland enlargement) could, subject to further investigations, turn out to be secondary manifestations of primary atherosclerosis caused by vitamin K deficiency.

Because these secondary effects of atherosclerosis involve structural, as distinct from functional, damage to tissues that may be irreversible (such as my ankles, and possibly cataracts), prophylactic supplementation on most days seems to be quite sensible, even from birth.

We all get an injection at birth these days because some 3% of babies used to die from internal haemorrhages, and it seems to me that it could be continued for life using a sensible dosage. This is all the more plausible because of the absence of recorded side effects of vitamin K, its cheapness and its over-the-counter availability.

It’s worth repeating that a toxic oral dose could not be established in rats with as much as the equivalent of two kilograms being administered to an 80 kilogram human-being such as myself.

And it’s also worth repeating that we do not not know if a higher dose than what I have used just may interfere with the the function of other bodily processes. More just may or may not be better. Until more research is done, it’s wise to be somewhat conservative.

As far as I am aware, the eBook (above) contains the only clinically-recorded case of reversal of 50% stenosis of arteries as well as probably the functional reversal of osteoarthritis following the use of vitamin K. It shows a few ultrasound artery scans of my leg arteries before and after vitamin K, as well as angiographs of my heart artery before and after stenting.

All of the evidence suggests that both vitamins K1 and K2 need to be taken to cover the possibility of different requirements for different tissues, and that doses in excess of the daily recommended allowances may be required. I settled on 500 micrograms of each in tablet form on most days.

One of the missing factors to date is that although many researchers have concluded over the last 40 years that large trials should be conducted, the therapeutic trials to date have either used doses that are too small in my opinion, or else they have used vitamin K1 in cases where vitamin K2 should have been used.

I’m feeling rather diffident about submitting this for publication for a couple of reasons. If time proves me wrong, I will have made a complete ass out of myself. But if I’m correct and people adopt daily vitamin K supplementation, older people at least will be much healthier.

The down side of the healthier older generation could be that there will be a larger population dependent on welfare, but using less of the health budget. If it results in a widespread reduction of cardiovascular and joint diseases alone, it will cause a significant degree of unemployment in the health industry.

Don’t take my word for it. Judge for yourself by downloading my eBook for free and perusing the evidence.