At first, doctors told us that COVID-19 was a disease of the lungs. It caused inflammation of the airways and pneumonia. This made breathing difficult or impossible.
But as the pandemic progressed, something strange started to happen.
Mysterious symptoms were being reported that seemed to have nothing to do with the lungs.
Both are caused by abnormal blood clotting.
Now, it’s starting to look like COVID-19 is as much a vascular disease as it is a respiratory one. In fact, one study found that 40% of deaths from coronavirus are related to cardiovascular complications.
A recent paper in The New England Journal of Medicine found widespread evidence of blood clots in the lungs of people who died from COVID-19.
“We saw blood clots everywhere,” said Dr. William Li, co-author of the paper.
Another study provides even more evidence that COVID-19 kills with blood clots.
Dutch researchers found that patients who have died or been admitted to intensive care with COVID-19 are often deficient in vitamin K. It is crucial for the body’s production of proteins that regulate blood clotting.
Dr. Rob Janssen was one of the researchers who worked on the study. He said vitamin K is a low-risk therapy that could help in the fight against COVID-19. It’s “an intervention which does not have any side effects, even less than a placebo,” he said.
There are areas of Japan where almost no one is vitamin K deficient because the residents eat a food called natto. It’s made from fermented soy beans and is a rich source of vitamin K. In these regions “there is not a single person to die of COVID-19,” Dr. Janssen said.
There are several types of vitamin K. But the two most important are K1 and K2.
“K1 is in spinach, broccoli, green vegetables, blueberries, all types of fruit and vegetables,” Dr. Janssen said.
“K2 is better absorbed by the body. It is in Dutch cheese, I have to say, and French cheese as well.” It’s also in other hard cheeses, natto, pork, chicken, and eggs.
But it may be difficult to get a therapeutic dosage from food. “My advice would be to take vitamin K supplements,” said Dr. Janssen. He notes that it’s safe for everyone except people on blood-thinning medications.
If you take a supplement, make sure it contains both K1 and K2.
Besides possibly protecting against coronavirus, vitamin K is essential for bone and heart health. “Even if it does not help against severe COVID-19, it good for your blood vessels, bones, and probably also for the lungs,” said Dr. Janssen.
Make sure that you get enough of this important nutrient during the pandemic.
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