Oslo, Norway—A new small-animal study builds on previous evidence that a branded form of vitamin K2 benefits the heart by preventing arterial calcification.

Researchers from Maastricht University and the University of Duesseldorf divided a group of 42 rats into two groups.  One group underwent a surgery that lowered their kidney function (whereby part of their kidneys were removed). Then, they were given a high-phosphate diet or a high-phosphate diet plus MK-7 (100 µg/g MK-7, as MenaQ7 PURE from NattoPharma, based here). This diet combined with the surgery mimics the metabolic effects of chronic kidney disease, which includes arterial calcification.

The rats that did not have the surgery were either given a standard diet or a standard diet plus MK-7 (100 µg/g MK-7 as MenaQ7 PURE).

After three months, the researchers found MK-7 supplementation inhibited cardiovascular calcification. They stated, “MK-7 supplementation revealed a significant induction of aortic MGP [matrix Gla protein] mRNA while procalcifing periostin mRNA levels were found to be significantly reduced.”

In fact, there was a 10-fold increase in MGP gene expression. “For the first time, we demonstrate that vitamin K (MK-7) affects MGP mRNA expression (>10-fold induction in controls and CKD rats) within the vascular wall,” the researchers state.

Previous research suggests that vitamin K2, particularly the MK-7 form, activates matrix Gla-protein (MGP). This protein is a potent inhibitor of calcification in the arteries.

The research was produced by a group from the Maastricht University and the University of Duesseldorf. The data appear in the journal Nutrients.

Published on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 9/5/15