Caring for cardiovascular health is one of the most pressing health issues facing the global populations, and vitamin K2 is a newly recognised nutrient essential for supporting this important area of wellbeing.
Very simply put, Vitamin K2 activates, or ‘turns on’, important proteins in the body, such as osteocalcin for strong bones and the matrix Gla protein (MGP) for heart health. By ‘turning on’ these K-dependent proteins, vitamin K2 helps keep calcium—that crucial bone-building nutrient—away from the arteries so they don’t harden and lead to cardiovascular issues. Unfortunately, studies have shown 97 percent of Western populations are deficient in this vital nutrient, even those consuming healthy diets.1 Supplementation presents a viable alternative to ensure enough Vitamin K2 to experience both the cardiovascular and bone benefits.
A multitude of studies have been conducted demonstrating vitamin K2’s effectiveness in three categories: cardiovascular health, bone health, and children’s health. NattoPharma ASA has driven this research, providing our MenaQ7® vitamin K2 as MK-7 to research teams.
Our breakthrough study published in 2015 in the journal Thrombosis and Haemostasis, confirmed the impressive cardiovascular support potential of vitamin K2.2 This randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of healthy postmenopausal women showed taking 180 mcg daily for three years not only inhibited age-related stiffening of the artery walls, but also made a statistically significant improvement of vascular elasticity. In other words, a nutritional dose of vitamin K2 actually made the arteries more flexible. This study is a breakthrough because it is the first intervention trial where the results confirm the association made by previous population-based studies: vitamin K2 intake is linked to cardiovascular risk. According to the researchers, the data demonstrated a nutritional dose of vitamin K2 promotes cardiovascular health.
Clearing Up Calcium Confusion
Health care providers are not making the connection between bone and heart health, constituting a great concern for cardiovascular health. Calcium supplementation plays an important role for building bones, but can cause problems for the heart if vitamin K2 is missing from the users supplement regimen. Many doctors will advise their patients to stop taking calcium to avoid cardiovascular risk, but that’s not the answer. The body cannot produce calcium on its own, and calcium is required for many functions in the body, including building strong bones. The answer is to take calcium with vitamin K2, as it plays a critical role in regulating calcium metabolism. By keeping the calcium in the bones and out of the arteries where calcium build-up can lead to artery clogging, vitamin K2 is an essential nutrient for promoting bone and cardiovascular health simultaneously.
1 Shea MK et al. Circulating uncarboxylated matrix gla protein is associated with vitamin K nutritional status, but not coronary artery calcium, in older adults. J Nutr. 2011 Aug;141(8):1529-34.
2 Knapen MHJ et al. Menaquinone-7 supplementation improves arterial stiffness in healthy postmenopausal women: double-blind randomised clinical trial. Thrombosis and Haemostasis. 2015 113 5: 1135-1144.