An anti-ageing substance that supports healthy bones and blood vessels.
Today there is an increasing interest in research and understanding the physiological ageing process. New and known ingredients’ abilities to influence the ageing process are being studied. As we age, most people get stiffer blood vessels, either because of a loss of elasticity or calcification of the arteries. Several international studies show that vitamin K2 inhibits the development of arterial stiffness. Vitamin K2 also delays the development of age-related osteoporosis. This is good news for people concerned with health and who wants to exercise preventive self-care, leading to prolonged life of higher quality.
Several international studies show that vitamin K2 inhibits developement of arterial stiffness.
Vitamin K – history
Vitamin K was discovered by the Danish researcher Henrik C. P. Dam at the Biochemical Institute at Copenhagen University already in the early 1930s. During experimental studies on chickens fed with a low-fat diet, he discovered an unknown substance necessary for the blood to coagulate. The fat-soluble vitamin was named vitamin K after its function: necessary for coagulation.
Some years later, the American researcher Edward A. Doisy managed to determine the molecular structure of vitamin K1 and synthesize it. Later, several related molecular structures could have the same function – these were also called K-vitamins (K1, K2). In 1943 Dam and Doisy were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discoveries. Vitamin K is a collective term for a group of vitamins with more or less common molecular structures.
Studies of different foods
Today we know a lot about the effect of vitamin K. Some population groups have a diet containing much larger quantities of vitamin K than others. In Japan, the dish natto, with high vitamin K2/MK-7, is a traditional dish that has been served for hundreds of years. Of the European countries, the Netherlands has been especially active in researching vitamin K. This might be since the Netherlands is known for its wonderful cheeses and that the population eats a lot of dairy products in general, including cheese. Researchers in the United States are mostly focusing on vitamin K1, but they discover that vitamin K1 is not as efficient as K2.
Vitamin K2 and bone health
Bone is formed and broken down continuously as long as we live. Both repair small injuries and make it possible for the body to utilize the large calcium reserves in the bone tissue to preserve vital functions. During childhood and adolescence, the rate of formation is greater than the rate of decomposition. After the age of ca. 25-30, this changes, leading to a gradual loss of bone strength and mass.
Several important studies conducted in Japan have identified that vitamin K2 (as menaquinone-7 or MK-7) in natto (bacterially fermented soya beans) has an excellent effect on bone health. Women from areas in Japan with high consumption of natto have fewer broken bones and bone fractures and generally better bone health than women from districts where the food natto is less common. Currently, natto is the dish that is measured to have the highest content of K2/MK-7.
Studies show that vitamin K2 has a positive effect on cardiovascular disease.
K2 is the most effective form of vitamin K for bone health Studies from Europe, and the United States have confirmed the discoveries in Asia: K2 is the most effective form of vitamin K when it comes to bone health. Vitamin K1 also affects, but due to the rapid turnover of vitamin K1 in the body, much larger doses of K1 are required to achieve the same effects as smaller doses of K2.
The most extensive clinical study so far on vitamin K2/MK-7 is from the Netherlands – a double-blind placebo-controlled study with a total of 244 postmenopausal women (Ref. Osteoporosis Int. 2013). This study shows that vitamin K2/MK-7 has a good effect but takes some time before the effect becomes apparent. After two years of regular consumption of vitamin K2/MK-7, a delay in “natural” bone decay was documented. A review of relevant studies that are currently published shows that vitamin K2/MK-7 has a good effect on bone health and is more efficient than vitamin K1, but that measurable changes in bone indicators such as bone mass, mineral density and bone strength show up after 2-3 years. Vitamin K2/MK-7 is, therefore, first and foremost, a preventative supplement that should be taken regularly over time to reduce the risk of age-related changes in the bone tissue – which again might lead to osteoporosis.
Vitamin K2 and cardiovascular health
The classic scientific article that confirms the effect of vitamin K2 on cardiovascular diseases is the so-called “Rotterdam Study”, published in 2004. Originally “The Rotterdam Study” was only one of approximately 1000 articles written after an extensive study was conducted in a district in the Dutch city Rotterdam. At the end of the 1980s, almost 8000 men and women above the age of 55 were recruited to phase one of the population studies. The aim was to study a population for many years to examine lifestyle factors that affect health, disease and cause of death with a particular focus on cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Since 1990 more and more people have been included in the study. In 2008 approximately 15 000 people (45 years old and older) were included in the study. In the study from 2004, approximately 4800 men and women (who initially were healthy) were monitored over a period of 10 years with regards to cardiovascular diseases and cause of death concerning dietary consumption of vitamin K1 and K2.
The results revealed a clear connection between the dietary consumption of the largest doses of vitamin K2 and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and the risk of dying from such diseases. Even though vitamin K1 was consumed in much larger doses than K2, there was no such protecting relationship between vitamin K1 and cardiovascular health. The findings in this part of the Rotterdam Study were confirmed in another extensive population study, also from the Netherlands (PROSPECT-EPIC-cohort; Utrecht). This study includes more than 16 000 women aged 49-70 who, when recruited, did not suffer from any cardiovascular diseases.
The women were monitored for 8 years, and the trend was the same: even after adjustments for traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors such as age, obesity, smoking, high alcohol consumption, diabetes etc., there was a clear connection between the dietary consumption of K2 and a reduced risk for cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin K1 once again did not demonstrate the same good effect as vitamin K2.
Amongst a selection of 564 postmenopausal women from this study, it was also discovered that the women who ate most K2 had less calcification of the arteries supplying the heart muscle – a condition that leads to stiffer arteries and potentially to, for example, a heart attack. Several studies have now generated the same results: Consuming foods with a high content of vitamin K2 (some dairy products/ fermented cheeses and soybeans/natto) has a positive effect on cardiovascular health. The latest clinical study conducted on vitamin K2/MK-7 revealed that K2/MK-7 has a good effect on stiff arteries – so-called arterial stiffness. Arterial stiffness is shown in several studies to be an independent risk factor for developing cardiovascular diseases, and it occurs relatively often with increased age. Loss of elasticity in the arteries is connected to the risk of high blood pressure, a phenomenon that affects large parts of the older population.
Vitamin K2 is a substance that also delays the development of age-related osteoporosis.
A study that was published in Thrombosis and Haemostasis in February 2015 showed that the 120 women that took vitamin K2/MK-7 for a period of three years showed a reduction in arterial stiffness while the same amount of women that received a placebo (capsules without vitamin K2) show an increase in arterial stiffness. Since arterial stiffness develops over time, such studies must be conducted over enough time for the effect to show itself.
The study was conducted under controlled conditions and confirmed the previously mentioned positive effects: regular consumption of vitamin K2 reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular problems. This study also shows that women who already have stiff arteries can reduce this development with the help of vitamin K2.
EU Health Claims
||GOOD FOR YOUR CIRCULATION/ CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
Vitamin K contributes to normal blood clotting.
||GOOD FOR YOUR BONES
Vitamin K contributes to the maintenance of normal bones.
||VITAMIN D3: GOOD FOR YOUR BONES
Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal bones.
||GOOD FOR YOUR BLOOD CONCENTRATION OF CALCIUM
Vitamin D contributes to the normal absorption/utilisation of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D contributes to normal blood calcium levels.
||GOOD FOR YOUR TEETH
Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal teeth.
||GOOD FOR YOUR IMMUNE RESPONSE
Vitamin D contributes to the normal function of the immune system.
||GOOD FOR YOUR NORMAL GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
Vitamin D has a role in the process of cell division.
Watch the video about Vitamin K2+D3