Updated: “Breakthrough” Vitamin K2 MK-7 Study Confirms Heart Benefits


A newly published intervention trial confirms what previous population-based studies have till now only hinted at.

Updated 3/12/15 11 AM PST

A newly published intervention trial confirms what previous population-based studies have hinted at: that vitamin K2 MK-7 helps to improve arterial flexibility. The study is specifically on NattoPharma’s (Oslo, Norway) MenaQ7 natural vitamin K2 MK-7.

“This is the first study showing that long-term use of vitamin K2 in the form of MK-7 beneficially affects cardiovascular health,” said Cees Vermeer, a scientist from Maastricht University in the Netherlands who led the study’s research team, in a press release. “Previous population-based studies have shown an association between vitamin K2 intake and cardiovascular risk, but this is the first intervention trial focused on vitamin K2 supplementation with cardiovascular endpoints.”

The three-year study, published first online in Thrombosis and Haemostasis, included 244 healthy postmenopausal women aged 55-65 years. Subjects were randomly assigned to either 180 mcg of MenaQ7 daily or placebo. Using pulse wave velocity and ultrasound analysis, researchers determined that vitamin K2 not only inhibited age-related stiffening of artery walls but also achieved “unprecedented statistically significant improvement” in vascular elasticity. Vermeer says these results confirm vitamin K2’s contributions toward improving cardiovascular outcomes.

“The techniques that were used in this study, the pulse wave velocity and the ultrasound, basically take a measurement from the carotid artery to the femoral artery to see how quickly the blood is flowing through this area," said Kate Quackenbush, director of communications, NattoPharma, at Natural Products Expo West. "If your arteries are clogged and calcified, your arteries are going to get smaller, you’re not going to have as much free flow. So, again, it’s an early idea about how cardiologists and general practitioners can start to examine that.”

The same cohort in this Thrombosis and Haemostasis cardiovascular study was also featured in a 2013-published bone health study in Osteoporosis International. By activating osteocalcin, vitamin K2 helps to limit calcium buildup in the arteries and shutter it toward bone building instead.

“Both studies are significant because they are long-term-three years of participation and then examination of the results,” said NattoPharma’s CEO Hogne Vik in a press release. “Observing changes in heart health and bone health, for that matter, take time.”

In other NattoPharma news, at this year's Natural Products Expo West, the company's new MenaQ7 Pure nature-identical vitamin K2 MK-7 ingredient won the NutrAward for best functional ingredient 2015.

“This nature-identical synthetic really is as close to a natural product as you can get, but it helps to bring the cost down” by sidestepping the variations and subsequent standardization required following the fermentation process for natural vitamin K2 MK-7, Quackenbush said. "It really is so close to the natural molecule that you’d be getting with our traditional material, but this allows us to offer a lower cost that makes it more accessible for people to put into their products."

Knapen MH et al., “Menaquinone-7 supplementation improves arterial stiffness in healthy postmenopausal women: double-blind randomised clinical trial,” Thrombosis and Haemostasis. Published online ahead of print February 19, 2015.


Photo © iStockphoto.com/spanteldotru

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