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A new animal study suggests Vitamin K2 as MK-7 may inhibit calcification in the aorta and myocardium.
A new animal study is offering additional evidence of potential cardiovascular benefits of Vitamin K2 as MK-7 (menaquionone-7). Published in Nutrients, the rat study suggests that MenaQ7 Pure, a MK-7 supplement supplied by NattoPharma (Oslo, Norway), may inhibit cardiovascular muscle damage caused by chronic kidney disease.
Kidney disease patients often suffer from cardiovascular complications such as calcification of the aorta and coronary arteries, so the researchers created an in vivo rat model system for kidney disease to study MK-7’s effect on cardiovascular health. In order to simulate the cardiovascular calcification resulting from kidney disease, researchers performed a 5/6 nephrectomy (kidney removal surgery) on the rats and administered a high phosphate diet.
For 12 weeks, half of the rats received a high MK-7 diet of 100 µg/g while the other half received only calcium and phosphate. There was also a control group of rats that underwent a sham operation without any kidney removal, which was similarly divided so that half of the animals received a high MK-7 diet while the others did not. After 12 weeks, researchers assessed cardiovascular calcification in all the rats by examining atomic absorption spectroscopy, serum chemistry, creatinine clearance, and cardiac function.
As intended, the nephrectomy provoked increased aortic and myocardial calcification in the rats. But as to the effect of Vitamin K2 as MK-7, the researchers found that MK-7 supplementation “inhibited cardiovascular calcification and decreased aortic alkaline phosphatase tissue concentrations.” They hypothesized that “the protective effect of MK-7 may be related to the inhibition of secondary mineralization of damaged vascular structures.”
NattoPharma says the findings of this study lend “further understanding to the mechanism by which [MK-7] inhibits calcification damage to cardiovascular muscle.”
The study also revealed the new finding that MK-7 supplemented animals showed a 10-fold increase in matrix Gla-protein gene expression. This is the first time that MK-7 “has been shown to affect the synthesis of MGP in the vascular wall-and not only locally in the arterial wall,” according to NattoPharma.
The researchers concluded that, based on the study findings, Vitamin K2 as MK-7 could be a “promising therapeutic agent” in protecting against cardiovascular calcification.
“This study is monumental because it shows that our MenaQ7 Vitamin K2 protected smooth muscle cells from calcification,” says Hogne Vik, CEO, NattoPharma. “Being able to provide the researchers with our new nature-identical MenaQ7 Pure to add to our growing body of clinical validation marks a true milestone for us.”
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Scheiber et al., “High-dose menaquionone-7 supplementation reduces cardiovascular calcification in a murine model of extraosseous calcification,” Nutrients, vol. 7, no. 8 (August 2015): 6991-7011