Vitamin K2 has shown promise in the treatment of Parkinson’s, a condition characterised by lack of movement, tremors and muscle stiffness. Using vitamin K2, Patrik Verstreken, from the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) and colleagues from Northern Illinois University, succeeded in undoing the effect of one of the genetic defects that leads to Parkinson’s.
“It appears from our research that ministering vitamin K2 could possibly help patients with Parkinson’s. However, more work needs to be done to understand this better,” adds Verstreken, the journal Science reports. Mitochondria at the heart of each cell is the source of energy for cellular activities and their movements. They generate this fuel by transporting electrons, according to a VIB statement.
In Parkinson’s patients, the activity of mitochondria and the transport of electrons suffer a disruption, which slows down the process of producing sufficient energy for the cell. Consequently, certain neurons or brain cells start dying off, disrupting communication between them, which produce typical Parkinson’s symptoms – lack of movement, tremors and muscle stiffness. One of the genetic mutations found in Parkinson’s patients, includes the so-called PINK1. Researchers also found it in fruitflies. Mitochondria in these insects were just as defective as in Parkinson’s patients, rendering them too powerless to fly.
But once they were administered vitamin K2, the energy production in their mitochondria normalised and they were able to fly. The energy production was restored because the vitamin K2 had improved electron transport in the mitochondria. This in turn led to improved energy production.