Oslo, Norway, and Edison, NJ—A new research paper has identified the need for a vitamin K2-specific RDI, according to a press release from NattoPharma.

“In this review, we highlight the specific activity of vitamin K2 based upon proposed frameworks necessary for a bioactive substance to be recommended for an RDI. Vitamin K2 meets all these criteria and should be considered for a specific dietary recommendation intake,” the authors of the study wrote.

The paper, published inNutrients, explains that there is a distinct difference between vitamins K1 and K2. Many countries have an RDI for vitamin K, based on its necessary role in the activation of vitamin K-dependent coagulation proteins. However, vitamin K2 as long-chain menaquinones specifically has been highlighted for its long half-life and extrahepatic activity, whereas vitamin K1 and shorter-chain menaquinones have much shorter half-lives. The authors also note that K2 plays a different role than K1 “in relation to the absorption, carboxylation efficacy of VK2 on vitamin-K dependent proteins, and even non-carboxylated mediated processes that VK1 lacks.”

Vitamin K2 is found “sporadically” in fermented foods common to Western diets, according to the paper: “Its specific concentration can vary drastically depending on factorial preparation methods, namely, which bacteria are used in fermentation processes.”

The paper summarizes: “It is known that VK2 supplementation, when used in a variety of clinical trials on bone and cardiovascular disease, results in a reduction in the development of disease. Therefore, it can be postulated that consistent consumption of VK2 can reduce the risk of occurrence of such aging diseases in the first place.”
Related: Healthy Aging Vitamin K2 Linked to Lower Risk of Coronary Heart Disease, Study Shows Study: Vitamin K Safe, Cost-Effective Treatment for Vascular Micro-Calcification
NattoPharma worked with a team of researchers at Maastricht University, Netherlands, which has led the way in discovering and validating the health benefits of vitamin K2, according to the press release. NattoPharma has worked with the university since 2004, documenting benefits of the company’s MenaQ7.

“We have been working with Maastricht University for almost two decades validating the health benefits of Vitamin K2, creating this category. Our work, in addition to others’, is building the necessary body of evidence required to convince regulatory bodies how essential Vitamin K2 is for the betterment of global human health,” said Kjetil Ramsøy, NattoPharma CEO, in the press release. “This is no small undertaking, yet we at NattoPharma believe it is vital we reach a global recommendation for K2 intakes if we are to correct the K2 deficiency that has so negatively impacted the bone and cardiovascular health, and correcting this deficiency can benefit men and women, adults and children.”

The paper notes that establishing an RDI for vitamin K2 could force food manufacturers to use better quality bacteria in fermentation processes to aid sales, while raising awareness regarding the manufacturing processes of certain foods. The next steps: Scientific and food policy makers will need to review the literature on vitamin K2 research.

The researchers conclude: “Establishing an RDI for VK2 may have a significant impact in improving health the world over. This would reduce the socioeconomic consequences of an aging population by reducing the development of cardiovascular diseases, bone loss, and potentially other age-related diseases.”