Friday, February 23, 2018

The Vitamin K2 (menaquinone-7 / MK-7) Hype

You might have noticed that there’s a hype concerning Vitamin K2, especially menaquinone-7 [1], which is already on the market. This is quite strange as there are only a few studies and most have been done on small numbers. There are possible health benefits and we’ll look at some studies. Menaquinone-7 is rare in foods and not produced in human cells, but E. coli in the colon will possibly transform Vitamin K1 into menaquinone-7 [MK-7] and other menaquinones.  The only rich food in menaquinone-7 is nattō (なっとう or 納豆).

W.J. Wu and colleagues published the following study [2]: “The antiosteoporotic effects of Cheonggukjang containing vitamin k2 (menaquinone-7) in ovariectomized rats [female Sprague-Dawley rats].” Cheonggukjang (청국장; 淸麴醬) is the Korean pendant to the Japanese nattō, both use soy beans that are inoculated with bacillus subtilis. “… MK-7 may be a promising approach for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis.”

R. Caluwé and colleagues [3] found, that MK-7 “supplementation may be a novel approach to prevent vascular calcifications in chronic haemodialysis patients”.

M.S. Abdel-Rahman and colleagues looked at 84 RA [rheumatoid arthritis] patients [4]: “Menaquinone-7 as a novel pharmacological therapy in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: A clinical study.” According to their study the authors see in MK-7 “a new promising agent for RA in combination therapy with other disease modifying antirheumatic drugs”.

I think that menaquinone-7 warrants further investigation. It might be promising, but effect and unwanted effects should be known before supplementation. Maybe we produce enough menaquinone-7 in our gut so that supplementation is totally unnecessary. People taking warfarin and warfarin like drugs should be aware that menaquinone-7 (as all vitamin Ks) interfere with their anticoagulation.

Don’t follow the hype and supplement before it is known to be safe. In the meantime you might continue to enjoy your nattō or cheonggukjang.



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