A better vitamin K status was associated with more pronounced increase in bone mass in healthy children – yet western populations are likely vitamin K deficient
NattoPharma, Norway, and P.L. Thomas today note the publication of a new study demonstrating vitamin K’s role in promoting healthy bones in children. Published online at the British Journal of Nutrition (Link), the researchers followed 307 healthy children, with an average age of 11.2 years, over a two year period and measured skeletal bone mineral content. They found improved status of the K vitamins over the two year period resulted in better mineral content and improved bone mass of the whole body.
According to the lead author, Marieke Summeren, Ph.D., “As children grow, the increase in bone mass may fail to keep up with the increase in height, or length of the bone, and as a consequence, this imbalance may result in fracture.” She continued, “But the main threat of a long-term shortage of K vitamins is that peak bone mass may be compromised, and as we age and begin to lose bone density, the risk of fracture in later life is increased.”
Study author Leon J. Schurgers, Ph.D. commented, “Numerous population studies and interventional trials have established the consumption of K vitamins to bone strength, structure and the reduction of the risk of fracture. This is due to the need to activate the vitamin K-dependent protein osteocalcin, which is essential for the body to utilize calcium in a healthy bone tissue. Unfortunately, most people, including children, are likely deficient in the K vitamins related to the need for bone health.”
This is amongst the first studies linking K vitamins to bone health in children. Vitamin K status was evaluated by measured by the amount of active osteocalcin to inactive osteocalcin. Without adequate vitamin K, the osteocalcin remains inactive, and thus not effective. Previous research has evaluated vitamin K status in children and found that they have inadequate K vitamins consumption to fully activate osteocalcin.
“There are two types of vitamin K from dietary sources. Vitamin K1 is found in leafy green vegetables, and Vitamin K2, also called menaquinones, are predominately found in fermented cheeses, curd, and the fermented soy called natto,” stated Schurgers. “Vitamin K1 is mostly used by the liver where it is involved in the synthesis of certain blood clotting factors. Vitamin K2 is also equally active outside the liver, in tissues including bone. Thus it is important to have good sources of both types of vitamin K!”
The recommended intakes of vitamin K today are based solely on coagulation. However, K vitamins are also necessary for the activation of osteocalcin, a protein necessary to transport calcium from the blood to form healthy bone matrix. Also, K vitamins are needed to activate matrix GLA protein (MGP), the most potent inhibitor of vascular calcification known. In essence, K vitamins are necessary to keep calcium in your bones and out of your arteries.
About Vitamin K2
The role of newly recognized vitamin K2 has for the past decade been linked to two of the most important health issues, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. This link specifically centers on calcium utilization- implying that there is concurrent arterial calcification and osteoporosis when metabolism of calcium is inadequate. K vitamins are essential to activate proteins involved in calcium metabolism.
Numerous population studies and interventional trials have established the consumption of vitamins K and K2 to bone strength, structure and the reduction of the risk of fracture. More recently, and specifically to vitamin K2, a significant role in cardiovascular health has been established.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition called the “Rotterdam Study” in 2004, followed over 4,800 people for a ten year period. The study found increased intake of specifically vitamin K2 from dietary sources significantly reduced the incidence of arterial calcification and the risk of CHD mortality by 50% as compared to low dietary vitamin K2 intake. In this study, vitamin K1 had no effect at all.
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PLT offers a natural vitamin K2 under the trade name MenaQ7 in alliance NattoPharma, Norway, the owner of the brand 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 called menaquinone-7 (MK-7). MenaQ7 provides the only 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
NattoPharma, Norway, is a publically-traded company and the exclusive international supplier of MenaQ7 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. 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/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