Vitamin K2 linked to lower prostate cancer risk

April 11th 2008, Lysaker, Norway - An increased intake of vitamin K2 may reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 35 per cent, suggest results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

The findings, based on dietary intake from 11,319 men taking part in the EPIC Heidelberg cohort, are published in this month's issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study, by Katharina Nimptsch, Sabine Rohrmann and Jakob Linseisen, adds to a growing body of science supporting the potential health benefits of vitamin K2, most notable for bone and blood health.

In this recent study, dietary intake of vitamin K2 was linked to an inverse association with prostate cancer, while vitamin K1 intake did not offer any prostate benefits, report the researchers from the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg.

Dr. Anne Bjørnebye Vik, Vice President R&D for NattoPharma, says: “ The potential anti-tumor effect of vitamin K2, in this case specifically prostate cancer, adds to the great potential for NattoPharma’s natural vitamin K2, MenaQ7™, one of the more documented derivatives in the group of vitamin K2’s or the so called long-chain menaquinones. As this interesting field of nutrition and cancer now also include vitamin K2, we are excited that NattoPharma’s natural menaquione-7, branded as MenaQ7™, shows to be the optimal form of vitamin K2.”

The study has also been welcomed by leading vitamin K researcher Cees Vermeer, PhD, from the VitaK and Cardiovascular Research Institute CARIM at the University of Maastricht. Commenting on the research, Dr. Vermeer says: "the beneficial effect of the long-chain menaquinones has previously been reported for cardiovascular disease; this specific form of vitamin K2 is characterized by preferential transport (via LDL) to extra-hepatic tissues (such as prostate and arterial vessel wall), and by very long half-life times (three days versus 1.5 hours) as compared to vitamin K1 and the short-chain menaquinone-4.

"I am highly pleased by this paper, which underpins the (widely underestimated) importance of long chain menaquinones for disease prevention," Dr. Vermeer says.

"It also supports my opinion that intake of vitamin K2 supplements may have a significant contribution to public health."

Study details

Nimptsch, Rohrmann and Linseisen from the Division of Cancer Epidemiology at the German Cancer Research Centre state that epidemiologic studies of dietary vitamin K intakes have not been conducted in relation to prostate cancer risk.

According to the European School of Oncology, over half a million new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed every year worldwide, and the cancer is the direct cause of over 200,000 deaths. More worryingly, the incidence of the disease is increasing with a rise of 1.7 per cent over 15 years.

A food frequency questionnaire was used to assess habitual dietary intakes at the start of the study, with vitamin K intakes divided into phylloquinone (vitamin K1) and menaquinones (vitamin K2) and total and advanced prostate cancer in the Heidelberg cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.

The researchers documented 268 incident cases of prostate cancer during the 8.6 years of follow-up. Of these, 113 cases were classified as advanced prostate cancer. While no reduction in the risk of prostate cancer was observed for vitamin K1 (phylloquinone), an increased intake of all menaquinones (vitamin K2) was associated with a 35 per cent reduction in risk. However, the researchers stated that this association was "non-significant".

Furthermore, a strong association was documented when they considered only advanced prostate cancer, with increased intake of menaquinones linked to a 63 per cent reduction in risk.

While dietary sources of menaquinones include meat and fermented food products like cheese, and natto, Nimptsch and co-workers report that menaquinones from dairy had a stronger inverse association with advanced prostate cancer than did menaquinones from meat.

"Our results suggest an inverse association between the intake of menaquinones, but not that of phylloquinone, and prostate cancer," concluded the researchers. "Further studies of dietary vitamin K and prostate cancer are warranted."

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
April 2008, Volume 87, Number 4, Pages 985-992
"Dietary intake of vitamin K and risk of prostate cancer in the Heidelberg cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Heidelberg)"
Authors: K. Nimptsch, S. Rohrmann, J. Linseisen
NattoPharma, Norway offers a natural vitamin K2 under the trade name MenaQ7.

K definitions

There are two main forms of vitamin K: phylloquinone, also known as phytonadione, (vitamin K1) and menaquinones (vitamins K2). K1 is found in green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli and spinach, and makes up about 90 per cent of the vitamin K in a typical Western diet; while K2, which makes up about 10 per cent of Western vitamin K consumption, is found mainly in fermented dairy products as e.g. cheese. The Japanese food Natto (fermented soybeans) is especially rich in vitamin K2.

A synthetic form of vitamin K, known as K3, does exist but is not recommended for human consumption.

The vitamin K’s are less well known than vitamins A to E, but this increasing body of research, as well as increased marketing and advertising from supplement makers, is raising public awareness of vitamin K.

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About MenaQ7(TM)
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

About NattoPharma
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.

For more information, please contact Morten Sundstø +47 950 61 860

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