Speaking about the rise in interest in the essential compound of vitamin K, Chris Speed, senior vice president of global sales and marketing at NattoPharma ASA, explains how the firm is working to boost awareness throughout the health sector.
Ultimately, the firm - which develops the clinically validated Vitamin K2 supplement MenaQ7 - aims to initiate the creation of a global recommended daily intake.
“We are currently compiling the necessary evidence to make a sound argument to all governing regulatory bodies, including EFSA and the US FDA.
“Through the Horizon 2020 grants awarded in which the CARIM is the beneficiary, in partnership with NattoPharma, the company will host PhD students (ESRs) to teach them about the food and supplement industry and foster a further understanding of the RDI values set by FDA/EFSA.
"These ESRs will utilise this knowledge as they conduct a comprehensive literature review elucidating the data for K2’s bone and cardiovascular benefits. This cogent argument will work towards the efforts of petitioning for RDIs.
“Most people throughout the world are deficient in this vitamin and this may be what’s at the route of what makes us unwell when it comes to both bone health and blood related diseases.”
Speed points out in the last 12 months, almost 2 dozen European products have been launched featuring MenaQ7 Vitamin K2 as MK-7, with more set to launch in the next six months, showing a ‘significant increase’ in interest in the ingredient.
This increased interest has all stemmed from the increasing number of studies showing the link between vitamin K2 and good bone and cardiovascular health, many of which have only been published in the last few years.
Speed argues that these studies show that health issues, such as atherosclerosis, are not necessarily the result of ageing, but the result of vitamin deficiencies and he says people are becoming much more aware of this.
“Consumers are starting to understand that bone health isn’t something to start thinking about when you’re older, they realise what they consumer when they are young will have a huge influence on their health when they’re older.
“People are looking for nutritional methods for remaining healthy and it’s near impossible to get enough K2 through diet alone.”
In order to consume an adequate amount of vitamin K2 through food, a person would need to consume one of the following per day: 4kg of grass fed beef, five litres of milk or yogurt, 80 grams of soft cheese or eight egg yolks.
Vitamin K2 works by ‘turning on proteins in the body’. It activates the calcium-binding actions of two proteins — matrix GLA protein and osteocalcin, which drives calcium out of the arteries and into the bones.
Acknowledgement of vitamin K2 as its own group of molecules with its own health benefits only really came came about in the 1950's.
Awareness arose through researchers wanted to find out why the Northern Japanese population had a lower prevalence of heart disease than Western populations.
Researchers discovered much of the Northern Japanese population's good health could be attributed to their consumption of a fermented soy bean food nattō bean which contains very high levels of vitamin K2.
In the 1960's, Vitamin K2 as MK‑4 was approved as a drug in Japan. MK-7 is now recognised in scientific literature for providing optimal activity and vitamin K status in the body.