While studies may have begun with adults, research has progressed to examine child populations – both healthy and ill – revealing amazing results. Not only recognizing an intense need, but identifying the most effective solution, K2 (MK-7), as well as dosage.
Various clinical trials in adults have reported that daily supplementation with vitamin K2 daily improved bone mineral density (BMD), significantly reduced bone loss, reduced the risk of fracture, and improved measures of bone strength. In addition, research has also demonstrated the relationship between vitamin K and bone mineralization in children.
A European study investigated the relationship between serum percentage of undercarboxylated osteocalcin (marker of vitamin K status, where higher levels reflect lower vitamin K status), BMD, and biochemical markers of bone turnover in 223 healthy girls aged 11-12 years—a stage of dynamic bone development, which may represent an important window of opportunity for vitamin K status to modulate childhood bone health. Results demonstrated that better vitamin K status was associated with increased BMD of the total body (P < 0.001) and lumbar spine (P < 0.05) in healthy peri-pubertal girls.
Another study with 245 healthy girls aged 3-16 years examined whether vitamin intake and markers of vitamin K status are related to bone mineral content (BMC), as well bone resorption over a period of 4 years. Results showed that better vitamin K status (high plasma vitamin K and low undercarboxylated osteocalcin) was associated with lower bone resorption. In short, better vitamin K status (at least 45 mcg/day) was associated with decreased bone turnover in healthy girls consuming a typical U.S. diet.
A prospective, one-year pilot study investigated the effects of a dietary supplement with vitamin K2 (50 mcg menaquinone-7) and vitamin D (5 mcg calcitriol) on 20 children with thalassemic osteopathy or TOSP (a blood disorder that may result in osteopenia and osteoporosis). Results showed a significant improvement in the BMD at the lumbar spine area of the patients at month 6 and month 12 of the treatment, especially in the prepubertal group. This pilot study demonstrated that vitamin K2 and calcitriol combination clearly has a positive effect on the BMD of the children with TOSP.
Further, researchers conducted an 8-week, doubleblind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial37 in which 45 mcg vitamin K2 (as MenaQ7 provided by NattoPharma) was given to healthy prepubertal children, and undercarboxylated osteocalcin (ucOC) and carboxylated osteocalcin (cOC) were measured, as well as the the ucOC:cOC ratio (UCR) as an indicator of vitamin K status. Results showed that with increases in MK-7, the circulating concentration of inactive ucOC reduced and the UCR improved. There were no significant changes in the placebo group. Researchers concluded that supplementation with MenaQ7 vitamin K2 increases circulating concentrations of MK-7 and increases osteocalcin carboxylation in healthy, prepubertal children.