New Study: Vitamin K2 as Menaquinone-7 (MENAQ7®) is Essential for Healthy Bone Growth and Development in Children

Findings of a new study published in British Journal of Nutrition 2009 by van Summeren and colleagues demonstrated that even modest supplementation with menaquinone-7 in children increases activation of osteocalcin, the bone-building protein; and in that way supports healthy bone growth and development. This is an important finding as the greater bone mineral established during childhood and early adult years, culminating in peak bone mineral density around 30 years of age, allows for better maintenance of bone health as we age and lose bone mass.

The present study is a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study examining the effect of 45 mcg natural vitamin K2 as menaquinone-7 (MK-7) (MenaQ7®) on the circulating levels of the vitamin K-dependent protein Osteocalcin. Active osteocalcin is required for bone-building cells (osteoblasts) to optimally utilize calcium for building and maintaining a healthy bone matrix. 8 weeks of MenaQ7 supplementation in healthy prepubertal children increased blood levels of vitamin K2 as MK-7 and significantly increased the amount of active osteocalcin.

According to Professor Cees Vermeer at the VitaK research center, “Non-supplemented people are generally insufficient in vitamin K. It has been demonstrated that children are far more vitamin K deficient than adults. We explain this by the rapid growth of their bones and consequently the high vitamin K demand by the bones for the production of osteocalcin. The present study is the first one to demonstrate that increased vitamin K intake by supplement improves the osteocalcin activity in children. The next step must be that also an effect of MenaQ7 on bone strength or fracture risk is demonstrated in this age group. There is a growing awareness that maximizing bone strength at childhood is an important strategy to prevent osteoporosis at later age.”

Osteocalcin – the potent protein
Osteocalcin is a protein responsible for utilization of calcium within bone tissue - it has the ability to bind calcium to the matrix of bones, which makes them stronger and less susceptible to fractures. Without sufficient amounts of vitamin K in the diet, or in cases of Vitamin K deficiency, inactive osteocalcin is not able to bind calcium properly, and thus the bones weaken and become fragile.

Strong bones - best investment for the future
Children have the greatest requirement for active osteocalcin and thus for K vitamins because bone tissue grows and develops most intensively during childhood and adolescence. The higher peak mass young bones achieve, the lower the risk of osteoporotic changes in the elderly. Hence, the optimal pubertal status of bone is important to prevent disorders in later life. Knowing that MenaQ7 ® is the optimal product for achieving good bioavailability of vitamin K2, this study clearly shows that also children will benefit from supplementation with MenaQ7 to improve activation of osteocalcin.

Benefits scientifically proven
Results of the new study clearly confirm outcomes of previous laboratory experiments, population-based (i.e., epidemiological) studies and clinical trials that have tightly linked better vitamin K status in children to the achievement of a healthy, strong bone-structure. Simplified, improving vitamin K status in children results in stronger and denser bones. Additional K vitamins intake might also improve bone geometry and positively influence gain in bone mass. That contributing effect has been recently reported by O’Connor et al , who, while conducting a study in a cohort of 223 healthy girls (11-12 years old), found better K vitamin status related to higher bone mineral density.

Warfarin, a commonly prescribed blood-thinning medication, inhibits vitamin K activity. A study of children with long-standing vitamin K deficiency induced by this drug were shown to have a significantly reduced bone mass, which illustrates the potential consequences of K vitamins deficiency in growing bones.

About MenaQ7
MenaQ7 provides Natural Vitamin K2 as an extract of natto, a fermented soy food from Japan. Natto is particularly rich in the highly bio-available form of vitamin K2, menaquinone-7 (MK-7). MenaQ7 is the best documented commercially available Natural Vitamin K2 with guaranteed actives and stability, clinical substantiation and international patents awarded and pending.
For more information on the health benefits of MenaQ7, please visit www.menaq7.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/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

About NattoPharma
NattoPharma, Norway is the exclusive international supplier of MenaQ7, the natural Vitamin K2. NattoPharma has entered into a multi-year research and development program to substantiate and discover the health benefits of natural vitamin K2 for applications in the exciting marketplace for functional food and health food supplements.
For more information, please visit our website www.nattopharma.com

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