Important aspects when discussing safety of MenaQ7® are:
• Vitamin K2 is not known among health professionals and in the general public
• No upper safety limits have been established by international health authorities
• Vitamin K2 is easily associated with effects on the coagulation system
The main safety concerns may seem first of all to originate from less scientific knowledge of this new form of vitamin K compared to the well known vitamin K1. Introducing a new variant of vitamin K is challenging, especially as vitamin K traditionally has been the physician´s vitamin – with little knowledge among the general public. Moreover, Vitamin K for health professionals seems to be synonymous with coagulation only. And coagulation is a complicated medical field- not easily assessable for the public.
However, according to recent scientific documentation vitamin K – and especially vitamin K2 – is linked to how the body utilizes and store calcium through a set of activated proteins. This means that one has to have a much broader perspective than just coagulation. Insufficient vitamin K2 supplementation is now shown to contribute to poor bone and vascular health. At the same time it is still true that vitamin K is needed for proper activation of several coagulation proteins, and some might fear interference with blood clotting and bleeding.
The K vitamin dependent proteins - found in bones and in arteries- contain a certain amino acid (Glu) that is enzymatically transformed (to Gla) by the help of vitamin K. This transformation - or activation- introduces extra negative charges in the molecules. The role of the activated bone (Osteocalcin) and vascular (Matrix Gla protein=MGP) proteins are to bind the positively charged calcium to strengthen bones and to clear arterial vessel walls of calcium deposits respectively. Likewise the coagulation proteins need to bind calcium in order to take part in the coagulation cascade. In this way vitamin K is a common link the between bone and vascular proteins and the coagulation system. It is thus natural that health professionals ask questions about safety and the use of this recently launched vitamin K product.
November 14th 2008 was a milestone for the development of vitamin K2. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) then published the positive scientific opinion on vitamin K2, MK-7 from natto as a dietary supplement and food ingredient. This publication concludes the scientific safety evaluation performed by EFSA, and is a solid confirmation to the public that the product is safe and beneficial to human beings.
MenaQ7 and Anti-Coagulants
Avoiding unwanted calcification and simultaneously keeping healthy bones is important for millions of people all over the world. It is thus vital to know that natural vitamin K2 is safe. No stimulating effect of MenaQ7® on the process of blood clotting in healthy individuals has been observed for MenaQ7® in recommended quantities (45 μg/day). However, research is
ongoing to establish whether this is the optimal safe dose of MenaQ7® for healthy people or if the dose should be higher in order to achieve even better health effects.
Arterial calcification seems to develop more readily in patients receiving oral anticoagulant treatment (OAC) such as warfarin/coumarin as these medicines inhibit the action of K vitamins in the liver. The consequence of these medicines is a reduction in blood clotting activity, making the blood ‘thinner’. At the same time, anticoagulant drugs cause deficiency of K vitamins in vasculature, leading to enhanced risk of cardiovascular disease.
The prospect of achieving complications like arterial calcification during anticoagulant therapy is not a desirable situation. Scientific discussions are ongoing as to how much K vitamins are needed to both stabilize the OAC treatment as well as preventing arterial calcification.
Present studies show that 45 μg MenaQ7® does not interfere with ‘thinning’ medicines, and as such MenaQ7® does not provoke any additional risk of clot forming inside blood vessels. However, if using the blood thinning medicines coumarin or warfarin, consult your physician for options, and under their care, consider supplemental with MenaQ7®.