Open Heart has published a new paper that explores better strategies for optimizing bone strength and reducing risk of fracture, while at the same time decreasing risk of cardiovascular disease. The paper found that vitamin K2 is recognized, along with calcium, vitamin D and magnesium, as essential in supporting strong bones and healthy arteries.
In the paper, “Nutritional strategies for skeletal and cardiovascular health: hard bones, soft arteries, rather than vice versa,” the authors cite a U.S. Surgeon General’s Report that states that one in two Americans over age 50 is expected to have or to be at risk of developing osteoporosis, which causes 8.9 million fractures annually, with an estimated cumulative cost of incident fractures predicted at $474 billion over the next 20 years in the USA. Further, a Mayo Clinic study reported that compared to 30 years ago, forearm fractures have risen more than 32 percent in boys and 56 percent in girls.
Meanwhile, strong epidemiological associations exist between decreased bone mineral density (BMD) and increased risk of cardiovascular (CV) disease. For example, individuals with osteoporosis have a higher risk of coronary artery disease, and vice versa. This problem will be magnified, according to the paper, if the therapies for osteoporosis (e.g., calcium supplements) independently increase risk of myocardial infarction.
To that end, the authors conducted a comprehensive and systematic review of the scientific literature to determine the optimal dietary strategies and nutritional supplements for long-term skeletal health and cardiovascular health. They summarized what is helpful for building strong bones while maintaining soft and supple arteries:
- Obtain calcium from dietary sources (the best choice is a calcium-hydroxyapatite) with the adequate animal protein, fruit and vegetables intake;
- Concomitantly increase potassium consumption while reducing sodium intake should be taken into account;
- Maintain vitamin D levels in the normal range; and
- Increase the intake of foods rich in vitamins K1 and K2.
The study notes: “A meta-analysis concluded that while supplementation with phytonadione (vitamin K1) improved bone health, vitamin K2 was even more effective in this regard. This large and statistically rigorous meta-analysis concluded that high vitamin K2 levels were associated with reduced vertebral fractures by approximately 60%, hip fractures by 77 percent and all non-vertebral fractures by approximately 81 percent. Supplementation with vitamin K2 as MK-7 increased bone strength in postmenopausal women in three-year clinical study.
“Additionally, increased vitamin K2 intake has been associated with decreased arterial calcium deposition and the ability to reverse vascular calcification in animal models. Moreover clinical trial proved that vitamin K2 supplementation increases elasticity of the arteries [over three years],” the paper stated.
The authors recommend increasing the intake of foods rich in vitamins K1 and K2 to secure skeletal and cardiovascular health. While relevant dietary sources for vitamin K1 are referred to in Table 3 on page 4, the authors also state that “the positive health potential of vitamin K2 is more effective than for vitamin K1”. Yet Dr. Hogne Vik, chief medical officer with NattoPharma, world leader in Vitamin K2 R&D, exclusive global supplier of MenaQ7® vitamin K2 as MK-7, and sponsor of the three-year studies cited in the paper, explains that it is not possible to get sufficient amounts of vitamin K2 through a European or US diet. “The only food that contains enough vitamin K2 is the Japanese dish Natto. This means that if you want to get enough vitamin K2 into your body, then you have to take dietary supplements or functional foods containing Vitamin K2.
“We are gratified, but not surprised, that our three-year clinical studies were cited in this paper,” Dr. Vik continues. “NattoPharma has driven the clinical research that has demonstrated vitamin K2’s benefits for human health, and our breakthrough studies provided the first intervention data confirming the associations that observational studies made previously: That vitamin K2 as MK-7 is available beyond the liver to support bone and cardiovascular health. And it does this by activating proteins that help the body to properly utilize calcium—there by simultaneously supporting both skeletal and cardiovascular health.”
To view the new study in Open Heart, visit: http://openheart.bmj.com/content/3/1/e000325.
O’Keefe JH, Bergman N, Carrera-Bastos P, et al. Nutritional strategies for skeletal and cardiovascular health: hard bones, soft arteries, rather than vice versa Open Heart 2016;3:e000325. doi:10.1136/openhrt-2015-000325.