Vitamin K2 can amerliorate problems of weak bones in dieting teenagers

The risk to dieting teenage girls of weak bones was recently reported in the Daily Mail –

“Dieting by teenage girls desperate to reach ‘size zero’ could be putting their bones at risk, say British researchers. A team from Bristol University looked at more than 4,000 young people aged 15, scanning their bones to calculate their shape and density, as well as how much body fat they had.

Those with higher levels of fat tended to have thicker bones, with the connection being ‘particularly marked’ in girls. As girls tend to have higher levels of fat than boys, even when they are normal weight, the findings suggest fat plays an important role in female bone development.”

However a recent study reported by Dutch scientists in the British Journal of Nutrition , shows that a daily supplement (in children) of vitamin K2 in the menaquinone-7 (MK-7) form improved the levels of osteocalcin, a vitamin K-dependent protein which is essential for the body to use calcium in bone tissue efficiently. Without adequate vitamin K, the osteocalcin remains inactive, and thus not effective.

Paediatric doctor Dr. Marieke van Summeren of Utrecht University and her co-workers recruited 55 healthy children to participate in a double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled trial. Children were randomly assigned to receive either dailyMK-7 supplements (45 micrograms, MenaQ7 provided by NattoPharma, Norway), or placebo for eight weeks.

“The present study is the first one to demonstrate that increased vitamin K intake by supplement improves the osteocalcin activity in children,” said Professor Cees Vermeer spokesperson and expert at the VitaK research centre in Maastricht.

Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass, which leads to an increased risk of fractures, especially the hips, spine and wrists. An estimated 75 million people suffer from osteoporosis in Europe, the USA and Japan. Women are four times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.

Potential reduction of osteoporosis has to date been approached by either attempting to boost bone density in high-risk post-menopausal women by improved diet or supplements, or by maximising the build up of bone during the highly important prepubescent years. About 35 per cent of a mature adult’s peak bone mass is built-up during puberty.

MenaQ-7, a daily supplement from Springfield Nutraceuticals, formulated using natural vitamin K2 (MK-7) derived from Japanese natto a fermented soy product is now available in the UK from Independent Health Food Stores and Pharmacies.

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