MenaQ7® is the first, best and only clinically-proven Vitamin K2 as MK-7 for bone and cardiovascular health, and the only patented Vitamin K2 as MK-7 for heart health, meeting the growing demand for high-purity, stable, and well-researched K2 for supplemental and food use. Considered “The Expert Brand,” as it was the source material used by leading researchers to discover and substantiate the benefits of Vitamin K2 as MK-7, MenaQ7® offers a comprehensive product line for manufacturers, including Natural, Soy, Nature-identical Synthetic, and the new Full Spectrum.
Guest: Dr. Hogne Vik
A physician by education, Hogne Vik, MD, PhD, MBA, has a long and successful track record in both the pharmaceutical and dietary supplement industries. He currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer with NattoPharma ASA, the world leaders in Vitamin K2 research and development, and exclusive supplier of MenaQ7®, the first and best clinically-validated Vitamin K2 as MK-7 available.
Danielle Lin-Science of Your Life
Guest: Hogne Vik-MenaQ7
0 Hours 19 Minutes 29 Seconds
Hello and welcome. I am Danielle Lin and this is Science of Your Life, a series created to educate and inform those entering or expanding in the dynamic nutrition and lifestyle industries. We have curated one of the most significant libraries in the world of clinically based ingredients with proven efficacy, scientific substantiation, and sustainability in order to set a standard of awareness to improve lives. Today we are talking about Vitamin K2. In this case the branded ingredient MenaQ7® from NattoPharma, which is now if you think of it as MK-7 with headquarters located in Oslo, Norway and their subsidiary Metuchen, New Jersey. We will discuss the broader clinical applications of Vitamin K2 and how it applies for bone and cardio health, not just for an aging population, but with great focus for women and children as well. NattoPharma has published over 16 clinical trials and has participated in extending ongoing research, which we will hear more about. They are the leaders in this area. Joining us is Dr. Hogne Vik. He serves as the Chief Medical Officer at NattoPharma ASA. He is a physician by education who has also been responsible for the development and marketing of some of the leading ingredients introduced into the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries worldwide. So, let’s get started. Dr. Vik, it’s so nice to have you with us and joining us. Where are you?
Dr. Hogne Vik: Thank you very much for inviting me. I’m sitting here in the office in Oslo. I’m very pleased to be with you.
Danielle Lin: Yes, I’m looking forward to it. At the end of the day, when you think about nutrition, everybody is always told to take calcium supplements and it’s an absolute must for bone health, but now we are hearing there is more research coming out even on heart health that there is a challenge. Let’s talk about that. What is the problem when it comes to bone health, heart health that we may be overlooking?
Dr. Hogne Vik: Yes, we know it’s been a major challenge for elderly populations: that we do not have strong enough bone support us for 90-100 years. Another factor is that cardiovascular diseases are dominating more and more as we come to the last part of our lives. What we should say is that calcium alone is not the solution. Taking calcium as a dietary supplement, it needs to be paired with vitamin D3, which will stimulate osteoblasts to build bone, and Vitamin K2, which will activate osteocalcin to bind calcium to the bone matrix. Without adequate D3 and K2, we will end up with too little calcium in the bone tissue – putting our bone health at risk – and that rogue calcium will deposit in the arteries, which contributes to cardiovascular diseases.
Danielle Lin: I know that from the World Health Organization. Can you talk about that?
Dr. Hogne Vik: The World Health Organization has identified that poor bone metabolism effects at least 200 million people globally, and that puts us at greater risk for fractures. Then we know that if you have a hip fracture, it can also have a big impact on your life expectancy afterwards. This is the major health risk within the bone area. When we also look into the cardiovascular diseases, we know that is number one cause of death globally –1 out of every 3 deaths in America – is attributed to cardiovascular diseases. calcium, in context, is a very important part of this picture.
Danielle Lin: It’s interesting because I would not have correlated bone health and cardiovascular. Let’s talk about that connection.
Dr. Hogne Vik: The main thing that comes up more within the medical environment is that if we take calcium alone, that increases the risk to have more stiff arteries and more cardiovascular episodes. So, that is why we should advise that all people (if they care for their bone), they should not only take calcium, but they need to take complementary nutrients that not only secure their bone health, but also ensure their arteries are protected from stiffening, which therefore gives rise to cardiovascular diseases.
Danielle Lin: When we return we will continue talking about the importance of literally an understanding when it comes to the difference between just taking calcium and the new combinations and why it is so relevant to your health and what we can do about it. I’m Danielle Lin.
I’m Danielle Lin and we continue Science of Your Life talking about the fact that calcium, just taken as a regular supplement, can actually not have the impact that we think it is by absorbing it into our system. We’re talking to Dr. Vik. We were talking about the idea of how are the conditions related to bone and heart health being taken care of now? How are we addressing them?
Dr. Hogne Vik: When it comes to the cardiovascular system, we are using heavy pharmaceutical products. While these may deliver good results, they also bring some side effects that cause concern. Some of these side effects can negatively impact bone and cardiovascular health. So taking calcium as a dietary supplement is important, because we need it to build strong bones, but in order for calcium to be directed to the right places, we also must have adequate Vitamin K2.
Danielle Lin: What does K2 actually do? How does it fit in as a combination if you will?
Dr. Hogne Vik: Vitamin K2 activates a protein called osteocalcin that binds calcium to the bone mineral matrix. At the same time, Vitamin K2, MK7, will activate another protein — Matrix GLA Protein (MGP) – that inhibit calcium from depositing in arteries and blood vessels, ensure we do not develop more atherosclerotic plaque.
Danielle Lin: Where does it come from?
Dr. Hogne Vik: Vitamin K2 is the result of fermentation, so it is found in fermented foods. The highest dietary content is found in a food called natto, a fermented soybean dish that is commonly eaten in one part of Japan. Unfortunately, this is the only food that can be consumed daily to deliver what our bodies require for Vitamin K2, and most cannot stomach it. That is why we need supplements to secure that the body has enough K2 to ensure our bodies are properly utilizing calcium to support the cardiovascular system and the bone.
Danielle Lin: So, in this case, we’re talking about Vitamin K2 as (if you were to reframe it) MK-7 and the branded raw material would be MenaQ7®, and that’s what the research was done on. Can you talk about the science and the research in the differentiation with the MK-7 vs. standard Vitamin K2?
Dr. Hogne Vik: Based on the observation and the description of the effect of natto in Japan, NattoPharma started up the research on this component MK-7 (which is our brand called MenaQ7®) back in 2005. This culminated with our groundbreaking 3-year study in healthy post-menopausal women that showed that MenaQ7® vitamin K2 as MK-7 reduced the loss of bone strength and loss of calcium was 70% following a group of women over 3 years. So, that means we are potentially postponing development of osteopenia and osteoporosis, which can have an impact of 20–30 years on one’s life expectancy for most people. In this same group of healthy postmenopausal women, we have also demonstrated that arterial stiffness did not increase in the women who supplemented with NattoPharma’s MenaQ7® brand. In fact, we actually reversed arterial stiffness in the same population after 3 years of supplementation, compared to the placebo group – we saw that the placebo group had more stiff arteries and that the MenaQ7 group reduced the arterial stiffness. Those results mean that supplementation with vitamin K2 (as NattoPharma’s MenaQ7®) could have a considerable impact on the health of many – that they can avoid hypertensive problems and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Danielle Lin: One thing that is really important as you are listening as a manufacturer is that NattoPharma was the company that actually did the science, did the research, and a lot of times companies will borrow. They will go into the market and buy a commodity bulk product and then they’ll borrow the science, but this is what’s really important when you are partnering with a company is to know who has this science behind it. MenaQ7® is where that science is based and how it has been proven. So, we are going to talk more about this and why and which important results that showed where when you put this in your brand, it will have substantiation and effectiveness, and your customers will get the results that they really need as far as improving the quality of their life and their health. I’m Danielle Lin. We will return.
I’m Danielle Lin continuing with Dr. Hogne Vik. We are talking about NattoPharma’s ingredients. When you look at Vitamin K2, their branded raw ingredients formally known as MK-7, but if you look in the marketplace for a branded ingredient you would see it as MenaQ7®, which is their registered brand name. Dr. Vik, we were talking about the different studies for women and the adult population, the elderly population, but I understand that it’s equally as important (as we talked about earlier) about children. What does the study show about children and the usage?
Dr. Hogne Vik: We conducted a clinical study with healthy prepubertal children and showed that a dosage as low as 45mcg of MenaQ7® per day delivers improvement in bone health. We have demonstrated that this low dosage activated a protein called osteocalcin, which increased bone density compared to the placebo group. This is just one of the important clinical trials NattoPharma has sponsored that have demonstrated the positive effect to building strong bones, that this is important for the development of children, and is possible with low dosages of MenaQ7®.
Danielle Lin: So, of course when we talk about children (and adults), we’re talking about safety. Are there any contra-indications that we need to know about?
Dr. Hogne Vik: Looking at the dosage in a typical lunch meal of natto, the richest dietary source of Vitamin K2, the content of MK-7 is around 1,000 mcg. That is 5-10 times higher than the dosage our studies have shown to be effective in adults. NattoPharma has gone to great lengths to ensure our recommended dosages – 180 mcg for adults and 45 mcg for children – are not only effective, but safe. Because of these efforts and our documentation, NattoPharma has received approval from regulatory authorities in Europe and the United States.
Danielle Lin: Okay, so again, 180 mcg for adults, 45 mcg for the children. These are the safe dosages. What about standalone? Is the MenaQ7® more for a stand-alone product if you are developing or can it be combined with others?
Dr. Hogne Vik: Most of the MenaQ7® products currently on the market are standalone because, even as I have been working with it in NattoPharma for more than a decade, MK-7 (MenaQ7®) is still recognized as quite a new ingredient. However, now we see more companies combining MenaQ7® with other agents, such as Omega3, Vitamin D3, and calcium. That is completely possible because NattoPharma has created varieties and solutions that make MenaQ7® stable in almost any possible delivery format with combinations of ingredients, which are synergistic nutrients for securing good bone and cardiovascular health.
Danielle Lin: And what about the delivery methods and the formats? I mean, a lot of the people are doing sachets and sticks and is it something that crosses over for food? Can you use it for skin? How is it applied?
Dr. Hogne Vik: To date, the most common deliveries has been tablets and capsules. In the next decade we believe we will see MenaQ7 added to foods and beverages, such as healthy dairy products. That represents areas of great potential growth in the near future. Due to the stability of our ingredient, I look forward to seeing the creative innovations for new formulations featuring MK-7, MenaQ7®, in the years to come.
Danielle Lin: Yes, it’s so important when you really start to look at the nutraceutical world. You know, we have these marketers that go out and just say, “Oh, buy calcium. Buy magnesium.” But, the average consumer really doesn’t understand. So, if you are a manufacturer and you are coming into the marketplace now where we have a trending population that is absolutely aging, we have an explosion of more babies being born worldwide so it’s not just taking MenaQ7® and thinking the U.S. population, but it’s critical to understand that the science is very different now and that’s why with the MenaQ7® you do you research. You find that this is a distinctive product in the marketplace. We’re going to continue talking about when you’re partnering with a company, what does that really look like and how do you take a brand to market and you know in the end will have the efficacy and the substantiation with the credibility at the end of the day that works? That’s the point. I’m Danielle Lin.
Danielle Lin with Dr. Hogne Vik. We are talking as we continue about NattoPharma. They are the world leaders in Vitamin K2 research and development and their research has continued and continued so when you are putting a product together the essence that is most important is there is no one doing science (like this company) that is ongoing. And Dr.. Vik, there are other competitive advantages for someone to partner and market with NattoPharma. What are they?
Dr. Hogne Vik: Since the very beginning NattoPharma has been committed to science, research, and understanding how the MenaQ7® molecule and product works. This has gotten us ahead of all of the other competitors regarding our patent work, our protection of the product, formulation insights and mechanisms of work. And still we are continuing our research to further cultivate our understanding of the component and how it can benefit human health. Just know we are involved in the International Research Liberation programs in Europe and worldwide, and we are working especially to understand more around diseases, such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s, and we have very interesting observations so far. This is just an example of how we are working to learn more about the potential benefits of what Vitamin K2, MenaQ7®.
Danielle Lin: Let’s talk about the certification. Which ones and what depth do you go to?
Dr. Hogne Vik: NattoPharma knows our component has a very specific, special biological effect. We have the best product, and we complete the registrations to secure certifications that make this product fit globally. So, we have the high quality product that is 100% trans and has purity up to 99% of the MK-7 molecule. MenaQ7® is non-GMO verified by the Non-GMO Project, has self-affirmed GRAS approval for U.S., has Novel Food Status for U.S. and for E.U., is kosher and halal, and is also certified suitable for vegans and vegetarians. At NattoPharma, we work to cover all the needs of our potential customers so they can comfortably and confidently include MenaQ7® in their final formulations.
Danielle Lin: And so, if someone is coming into the marketplace and they want to develop a product, they want to develop a K2 (in this case MK-7) product, the way you substantiate it and protect it is using the MenaQ7® branding because when they spin the bottle around, when the consumer starts doing the research, the science will be found on that particular ingredient. So, that’s why it’s really important and I applaud you for doing the research for so many years because there are a lot of K2 products in the marketplace, we’re not saying that they are bad or anything like that, we’re just saying that when you are going to market now, where a differentiation is critical, having the science to back it up with study after study and we’re talking about bone health, we’re talking cardiovascular, we’re talking about children and thinking of generations of children where you start them out early enough. Obviously, the dosage is less, but you’re starting them out at a time when they are developing their bones. It’s not just brittle and they are losing density. It’s about developing bone health with children and that’s so important and I’ve never actually heard that stated before. So, you can do the product ingredient in a formula, as you said Dr. Vik, where it can do a combination formula, enhance it with essential fatty acids, it’s essential. You can help them when they come to your company to actually show what has been proven that they can combine the formula with, correct?
Dr. Hogne Vik: That is correct. Further, if customers have special needs or ideas for new products, we will gladly assist them and work together with them to find solutions for new, interesting combinations.
Danielle Lin: All right, well, let me give the information, NattoPharma ASA, NattoPharma. You can find out more at their website and that is NattoPharma.com or you can send an email to info@NattoPharma.com. In the United States it can be info.us@NattoPharma.com and it has been my pleasure. Dr. Hogne Vik is here and has been with us throughout this hour. I think that you have certainly opened my eyes and I appreciate your sharing and thank you so much for being with us all the way from Oslo, Norway and we appreciate it and take care. Thanks for being here.
Dr. Hogne Vik: Thank you very much for having me.
Danielle Lin: All right. It’s been great.
0283 Oslo, Norway
Tel: (+47) 40 00 90 08
NattoPharma, based in Norway, is the world leader in vitamin K2 research and development, and 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. 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, and has provided MenaQ7® as the source material for the important studies confirming the benefits of vitamin K2. With a global presence, the company established its North American subsidiary, NattoPharma USA, Inc., in Edison, NJ, and NattoPharma R&D Ltd. in Cyprus.