NattoPharma says calcium research highlights vitamin K role

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Osteoporosis

Norwegian vitamin K supplier NattoPharma has backed the role of vitamin K in calcium metabolism following the controversial British Medical Journal meta-analysis linking calcium consumption and increased risk of heart attack.

The article has drawn widespread industry criticism for inappropriately “cherry picking” ​data, but NattoPharma says regardless of that fact, the research highlights the importance of vitamins D and K in the way the body processes calcium.

“Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and vitamin K2 activates the proteins responsible for directing the calcium to the bone where we want it and out of the arteries where it can have detrimental negative effects,”​ said NattoPharma chief executive officer, Morten Sundstø.

The company referenced vitamin K researcher, Professor Cees Vermeer, who backed observations made by two of the researchers that, “the only mechanism for arteries to protect themselves from calcification is via the vitamin K‐dependent protein MGP.”

“MGP is the most powerful inhibitor of soft tissue calcification presently known, but non‐supplemented healthy adults are insufficient in vitamin K to a level that 30 per cent of their MGP is synthesised in an inactive form. So protection against cardiovascular calcification is only 70 per cent in the young, healthy population, and this figure decreases at increasing age.”

NutraIngredients coverage of the calcium research that found the risk of vascular calcium deposits causing heart attack outweighed potential bone health benefits can be found here.

Sundstø noted the western diet was something like 30 per cent deficient in vitamin K2 which could extenuate calcium deposits, especially among over-50s who commonly use calcium supplements to ease osteoporosis.

Vermeer added: Obviously, an increased calcium load (by taking calcium supplements) will be beneficial for bone strength, but at the same time it will worsen the situation for the vasculature.”

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