K2 Leader joins with leading researchers to establish basis of a much-needed K2 RDI
OSLO, NORWAY AND EDISON, NJ (MAY 31, 2018) — Global cardiovascular and bone health has been negatively
impacted by widespread Vitamin K2 deficiency. Yet there is no established RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) for
Vitamin K2. To that end, as the leader in Vitamin K2, NattoPharma has enlisted its powerful research partners to
start a program to establish a much-needed RDI for Vitamin K2.
The program will begin with a team of researchers at Maastricht University, the Netherlands, the group that has led
the way discovering and validating the health benefits of Vitamin K2, guided by Dr. Leon Schurgers, Professor of
biochemistry of vascular calcification at Cardiovascular Research Institute at Maastricht University (CARIM).
NattoPharma has worked closely with the Maastricht University in documenting benefits of the company’s exclusive branded MenaQ7® Vitamin K2 as MK-7, since 2004 – work that has been recognized with many peer-reviewed scientific papers and with recently awarded research grants.
“The RDI for vitamin K is established based on coagulation factors only, but research continues to emerge that
vitamin K and vitamin K-dependent proteins have physiological roles beyond coagulation,” says Dr. Schurgers,
noting that the AI (Adequate Intake) for vitamin K was established at 90 μg/d for women and 120 μg/d for men for
the US and Canada, and in Europe it is 1 μg/Kg/d. This was based on median phylloquinone (vitamin K1) intakes
estimated from national surveys back in 2001. Next to vitamin K1 our food also provides us with vitamin K2. “More
recent research has confirmed different bioavailability / activity between K1 and K2, and additional biological
functions of K2 due to different side chains. Further, all epidemiological and interventional studies showed that only K2 was cardio-protective or has a beneficial effect on the arteries. This has not been considered in the forming of dietary recommendations.”
Dr. Schurgers’ team will be joined by the International Science and Health Foundation (ISHF), a research consortium responsible for the educational portal VitaminK2.org. According to Dr. Katarzyna Maresz, ISHF president, VitaminK2.org was specifically created to educate consumers and practitioners about the proven benefits of Vitamin K2, recognizing the impact of widespread K2 deficiency.
“We have seen in comprehensive studies – in adults as well as children – that correcting Vitamin K2 deficiency can
greatly improve bone health, and studies in adults have delivered unprecedented improvement in cardiovascular
health,” she says. “Yet studies also show that 97% of the Western population remains deficient. Establishing an RDI
is an important step in educating the public about their absolute dietary need, providing them much-needed
According to Dr. Maresz, one of the first hurdles to overcome establishing an RDI is to have a biomarker or clinical
endpoint that reflects the consequences of inadequate K2 consumption.
“Scientific knowledge has changed a lot recently, yet there is still a lack of suitable biomarkers or clinical endpoints
that can be used to determine Vitamin K2 requirements among adults,” she explains, offering that inactive Matrix
Gla Protein (dpucMGP) or the ratio of inactive to inactive Osteocalcin (ucOC/cOC) could be used as markers of
vitamin K status. “Given that some vitamin K deficiency or insufficiency has been seen in 97% of older subjects in a
mixed population as reflected by their measures of dpucMGP, this could be a good starting marker. However, the
‘normal’ range should be established. Further, K1 influences these markers, too, and we have to consider the
metabolic events such the inter-conversion of phylloquinone to MK-4.”
Both NattoPharma and the researchers recognize the scope of this undertaking, but also that it is time to begin.
“Convincing the government to recognize how essential specific nutrients are is an arduous process,” says Eric
Anderson, senior vice president of global marketing and business development with NattoPharma. “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 that body of evidence. Now it is time to lead the way ensuring that a global recommendation exists so we can ensure Vitamin K2 is adequately attained for the betterment of the world population – men and women, adults and children.”
To that end, 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 utilize 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.
About NattoPharma and MenaQ7®
NattoPharma ASA, based in Norway, is the world’s leader in vitamin K2 research and development. NattoPharma is
the exclusive international supplier of MenaQ7® Vitamin K2 as MK-7, the best documented, vitamin K2 as
menaquinone-7 (MK-7) with guaranteed actives and stability, clinical substantiation, and international patents
granted and pending; and now the new MenaQ7® Full Spectrum, which delivers menaquinones 6, 7, and 9. The
company has a multi-year research and development program to substantiate and discover the health benefits of
Vitamin K2 for applications in the marketplace for functional food and dietary supplements. With a global presence, the company established its North American subsidiary, NattoPharma USA, Inc., in Edison, NJ, and NattoPharma R&D Ltd. in Cyprus. For more information, visit www.nattopharma.com or www.menaq7.com.
For more information, please contact: Kate Quackenbush, NattoPharma Communications Director; E-mail: