Vitamin K2 and Bone

 

Vitamin K2 found in fermented soy can aid in the bone health of the elderly.

Vitamin K2The western diet has been linked to many health complications and has forced researchers to look for ways to isolate foods that can have the greatest health benefits. This effort has increased the level of understanding of nutrition and the role it plays in our health. Though nothing can actually harden bone without the stimulation of large force/loading being placed on the bone, there are things that can be ingested to optimize uptake of minerals when this force/loading occurs.

Vitamin K2: Natto bone health Superfood

By fermenting soy an enzyme is created called, nattokinase. This is the isolated enzyme used to manufacture Vitamin K2. Research had previously shown that this enzyme had a blood thinning effect that can aid in the reduction of blood clotting and potentially reduce chances of vascular disease. Now a new study has shown that fermented soy, also known as “Natto,” can have a profound effect on bone health. This study looked at 394 women who were premenopausal and 550 women who were postmenopausal from Japan.

The researchers took pre-DXA scans at the beginning of the study; the post scans again after three years. The postmenopausal test group, who consumed four or more servings of Natto per week, saw a statistically significant reduction of bone mass density loss of the femur and of the wrist compared to the control group. The benefit seemed far greater with the older subjects suggesting that adding regular servings of Natto to a postmenopausal diet could provide greater bone health. This can be complicated for those who do not live in Japan, or have a Japanese market nearby.

Soy Controversy…

Soy in general has some health concerns, as much of soy that is consumed comes from heavily processed foods. Tofu just as one example, is altered greatly from the original soy bean. This has been the center of a nutrition debate for some time. Many vegans have attempted to eliminate all animal byproducts from their diets, have switched to soy and soy based products (soy milk, tofu, and others) and have had health complications as a result, with some even dying of malnutrition. In the case of Natto however, there is a fermentation process, which is what should be focused on instead of necessarily grouping it with other soy products. Also the soy controversy is related more to those who attempt to replace all animal products with soy, as opposed to health challenges that occur with soy as a part of the diet in general.

 

Fermenting Natto and the Production of Vitamin K2

As soy ferments, vitamin K2 is produced, and K2 is one of the most important vitamins for assimilating minerals (calcium as well as 16 others) into bone mass. Similar studies have been done with Natto as with K2 with similar result in bone. Some supplement companies have capitalized on this by advertising the inclusion of vitamin K in their supplement for bone health. They don’t specifically cite that if K1 or K2 is contained within. Consumers must make sure they choose the supplement that has K2 specifically as it is more active in the body. Natto is available at Asian food markets and has a rather unpleasant smell, however consuming the natural whole food will allow for the best bioavailability. If this option is not convenient or preferred, then find a supplement that contains vitamin K2.

Reference:

Ikeda, Y. Iki, M. Morita, A. Kajita, E. Kagamimori, S. Kagawa, Y. Yoneshima, H. (2006). Intake of fermented soybeans, natto, is associated with reduced bone loss in postmenopausal women: Japanese Population-Based Osteoporosis (JPOS) Study. Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 136(5): 1323-8.

 

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