March 25, 2008 - Morristown, NJ - P.L. Thomas and its partner NattoPharma are pleased to notify that a new study linking vitamin K2 to bone health appeared in the European Journal of Epidemiology (2008, 23:219-225). Results of the study conducted by Yaegashi, et al., indicated that dietary vitamin K2 intake, especially from the food natto (menaquinone-7; MK-7), is associated with a significantly decreased risk of hip fracture.
According to Dr. Leon Schurgers, vice-president of VitaK, the world's largest and leading research company in vitamin K,: "This study completely fits in the current understanding of vitamin K. Previous studies have shown that K2 is far more active than K1 in maintaining bone health and also vascular health. Especially MK-7 was consistently found to be much more effective in the availability and activity compared to K1 and MK-4. The recommended dose of 45 mcg/day has been shown to significantly contribute to human health."
There are two natural forms of vitamin K: K1 (phylloquinone), which can be found in dark-green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, lettuce and spinach; and K2, a complex of 13 compounds which are similarly built; they have in common a naphtoquinone ring structure, but differ in the length and saturation degree of the attached side chain. They are also known as menaquinones or MK-n: with the n determined by the number of side chain residues.
Menaquinones are of bacterial origin and are primarily obtained through food sources. Menaquinones are also partly synthesized by the microflora in the intestines, but this source of vitamin K to the daily requirement of K vitamins is questionable as it is believed to be insignificant. Longer-chain menaquinones like MK-8 and MK-9 are present in fermented products like cheese and shorter-chain MK-4 can be found in animal meat. Natto, a traditional fermented soyfood popular in parts of Japan, is particularly rich in MK-7.
Yaegashi, et al., have investigated the relation between hip fracture incidence and dietary intake of four nutrients – calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K – all widely recognized as contributing to bone health. Only consumption of MK-7 from natto could explain visible differences in hip fracture rate found between western and eastern Japan.
"There was a striking pattern of high intake of vitamin K and low incidence of hip fractures in eastern areas of Japan, with the opposite pattern – a low intake of vegetables rich in vitamin K and a high incidence of hip fracture – in western areas, "explain scientists in the report. "… there is a possibility of decreasing the incidence of hip fracture by encouraging increased consumption of green and yellow vegetables in general, and natto in particular."
Natural vitamin K2 as menaquinone-7 is abundant in the food. Mk-7 is the most bioavailable and bioactive form of supplemental vitamin K. MK-7 has been shown to play an important and crucial role in the accrual and management of calcium deposition in bone, thereby strongly and positively associated with better bones, higher mineral content and improved geometry of bone.
Bone is a living tissue, and is composed of osteoblasts, cells which build up the skeleton, and osteoclasts, cells which break the skeleton down. Osteoblasts synthesize osteocalcin, a protein capable of binding calcium to the mineral part of bone. Its function is believed to strengthen the bone and thus make it less susceptible to break. In case of vitamin K deficiency, osteocalcin is produced in an inactive form not able to fulfill its bone-building function. Long-term vitamin K-deficiency will lead to reduced density and quality of bone, resulting in increased risk of fractures.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) osteoporosis is currently affecting some 200 million people globally. With the rapidly aging population, and obesity adding extra strain on bones, the number of suffering people is expected to increase steadily.
According to the authors – "The finding that consumption of natto, high in vitamin K2, appears to be associated with a lower incidence of hip fracture offers a readily available solution."
More about Vitamin K2
A groundbreaking study showing the correlation between natto intake and osteoporosis was previously written by a group of scientists led by Masao Kaneki . This research suggested that higher MK-7 levels from natto consumption, can contribute to bone health.
The beneficial role of vitamin MK-7 is not limited to bone health only. K2 intake has been found to be linked to cardiovascular health. Osteoporosis and CVD are linked together very closely: the lack of calcium in bones (due to accelerated bone loss) correlated strongly with calcium accrual in their arteries (arterial stiffening). This is also known as the calcium paradox.
Findings of ‘The Rotterdam Study' published in 2004 in The Journal of Nutrition suggest a strong protective effect of high dietary vitamin K2 intake on arterial calcification in elderly men and women: in the study population, with data from the first 10 years follow-up, K2 intake resulted in reduced risk of cardiovascular death of 50%. Of notice, – vitamin K1 had no effects at all, even when taken in very large quantities.
NattoPharma, Norway offers a natural vitamin K2 under the trade name MenaQ7.
# # #
MenaQ7 is the only commercially available Natural Vitamin K2 extracted from traditional Japanese dish Natto with guaranteed actives and stability, clinical substantiation and international patents awarded and pending. MenaQ7 provides the Natural K2 Vitamin in a form of menaquinone-7, the long chained molecule offering superior bioavailability and health effects in low doses, which has been tied to both bone and cardiovascular health.
For more information on the health benefits of MenaQ7, please visit www.menaq7.com.
NattoPharma, Norway, is the exclusive international supplier and brand-owner of MenaQ7, the most effective natural form of vitamin K2. NattoPharma has entered into a multi-year research and development program with the leading scientific vitamin K expert group in the world, VitaK BV, at the Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of Maastricht, in the Netherlands, to substantiate and discover the health benefits of natural vitamin K2 for applications in the exciting marketplace for functional food and health food supplements. www.nattopharma.com
About PL Thomas
PL Thomas, a New Jersey-based ingredient supplier, offers fifty years of innovation in securing reliable, high quality raw materials for the food and beverage, functional food and nutrition industries. PLT is a one-stop resource for application solutions, current industry information and technical service, and specializes in water-soluble gums and clinically-supported botanical extracts. www.plthomas.com