Vitamin K2 research defended in doctoral thesis

With support from the Norwegian Research Council and a research grant awarded to NattoPharma ASA (now Gnosis by Lesaffre), Grzegorz Wasilewski defended his doctoral thesis on the cardiovascular and bone health benefits of vitamin K2.

Gnosis by Lesaffre (Marcq-en-Baroeul, France) has announced that PhD candidate Grzegorz Wasilewski defended his doctoral thesis on February 20, 2022 at Maastricht University, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), The Netherlands, with support from the Norwegian Research Council and a research grant awarded to NattoPharma ASA (now Gnosis by Lesaffre). The thesis called "Calcium Paradox – the role of vitamin K in the bone-vascular axis,” highlighted the published work Wasilewski has done in conjunction with and under the leadership of Professor Leon Schurgers, who is a professor of Biochemistry of Vascular Calcification and vice chair of Biochemistry at CARIM, Maastricht University.

The published work included in the thesis were a review paper, an in-vivo study investigating the combination of phosphate binder therapy with vitamin k2 to inhibit vascular calcification in kidney patients, and an in-vitro study investigating the impact of vitamin K2 as MK-7 supplementation in osteogenesis.

“Scientists from Maastricht University have recently shown that combining vitamin K2 with phosphate binder treatment reduces vasculature and cartilage calcification. Additionally, they also discovered a novel role of vitamin K2 in beneficially affecting osteoblast maturation from induced pluripotent stem cells. Their findings might be clinically relevant for chronic kidney disease patients and for those seeking stem-cell therapies,” said Wasilewski during his defense.

"With these discoveries, we are a step closer towards management of vascular calcification in chronic kidney disease patients. Using our novel experimental animal model of chronic kidney disease and vitamin K-deficiency demonstrates the beneficial role of combining phosphate binders with vitamin K2 in reducing vascular calcification compared to phosphate binders alone,” he added, noting that future clinical trials are needed to address whether vitamin K2 needs to be implemented in standard treatment therapy with phosphate binders. "Further, we have discovered a novel non-canonical role of vitamin K2 in aiding collagen synthesis in our iPSC model of osteoblast differentiation. Our results are fascinating as it changes the perspective on how MK-7 can impact skeletal disorders as well as paving the way for stem cell-based personalized therapy."

NattoPharma has worked closely with Maastricht University since 2004 to document the benefits of the company’s exclusive vitamin K2 as MK-7 called MenaQ7. The research grant awarded to the NattoPharma International Research Network provided training in innovative therapeutic strategies that include MenaQ7, integrating early detection and prevention, to yield novel approaches to the management of chronic vascular and metabolic diseases that affect the increasing aging population of Western societies.

“We are honored to have had the opportunity to support this distinguished researcher, and to see him come through this program making a substantial contribution to the argument that Vitamin K2 as MK-7 can indeed change the face of global health,” says Hogne Vik, MD, chief medical officer of NattoPharma (now Gnosis by Lesaffre). “This work is so important as we continue to build an unshakeable science-based argument for Vitamin K2 as MK-7 is an essential nutrient worthy of its own Recommended Daily Intake (RDI), but also as a potential therapy for patient populations who express excessive calcification as a symptom of their condition.”