NattoPharma ASA (Oslo, Norway) announced it has been awarded a research grant by the Norwegian Research Council to fund a four-year project to document the effects of its proprietary ingredient, MenaQ7 vitamin K2 MK-7, on calcium metabolism. The company says the research will be the first to study the impact of MenaQ7 vitamin K2 MK-7 on calcium metabolism in vivo.
The research will be conducted by NattoPharma in collaboration with the Maastricht University (Maastricht, Netherlands) and will focus on what happens to calcium in the body, with and without the presence of vitamin K2, in preclinical models for postmenopausal bone loss and chronic kidney failure. Vitamin K2 is a nutrient that helps calcium distribute to crucial areas of the body—for instance, where calcium helps to build healthy bones and teeth—instead of collecting in soft tissues like the arteries where calcium would otherwise calcify and harden the arteries.
MenaQ7, formulated with vitamin K2 as menaquinone-7 (MK-7), is said to support healthy bone tissue, cardiovascular health, and bone development. Ultimately, the researchers say they hope to substantiate the necessity of vitamin K2 for proper calcium metabolism. “This study will help to provide further evidence that calcium without adequate vitamin K2 consumption might end up in the soft tissues where it is not wanted, rather than in the bone matrix, where it is needed,” said Leon Schurgers, PhD, senior scientist, associate professor of biochemistry, Maastricht University and the Cardiovascular Research Institute of Maastricht (CARIM), in a press release.
The company also hopes that the new research will further prove vitamin K2 potential for cardiovascular support and build on the results of a 2015 three-year study which demonstrated its efficacy in improving arterial health and flexibility, it says. Hogne Vik, chief medical officer, NattoPharma, emphasized the importance of research on the role of vitamin K2 in calcium supplementation: “This will be the first study that demonstrates vitamin K2’s impact on calcium metabolism in vivo; however, we have shown in human studies with healthy participants that the progression of hardening of the arteries can be halted and even regressed. Calcium supplement manufacturers must recognize the importance of pairing calcium with Vitamin K2. They cannot ignore the growing body of evidence that K2 is required for the body to properly metabolize and utilize calcium.”