Vitamin K2 as menaquinone-7 benefits patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Study adds to the growing research specific to MK-7 and suggests that MK-7 can improve disease activity in RA patients

Previous studies have demonstrated that vitamin K2 menaquinones, specifically menaquinone-4 (MK-4), benefit people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In this 2015 study, Egyptian researchers postulated that MK-7 could also benefit people with RA. And they were correct!

In this 3-month cross-sectional, randomised clinical trial, 24 men and 60 women with RA, with an average age of 47, were divided into two groups. Forty two subjects received 100µg/day of MK-7 and the other 42 subjects served as the control group.

Both groups continued use of conventional anti-rheumatic drugs. In addition to tracking MK-7 serum concentrations, the researchers assessed clinical and biochemical markers of RA including rheumatoid factor intact osteocalcin, under-carboxylated osteocalcin, matrix metalloproteinase-3, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein. The people who took the MK-7 had significantly decreased levels of clinical and all biochemical markers associated with disease activity compared with the people who did not take the MK-7.

It’s worth mentioning that about 14% of the patients in the treatment group were non-responders and did not improve. Interestingly, these same non-responders had significantly lower serum levels of MK-7, suggesting that poor absorption or metabolism may have accounted for the lack of response in those participants.

MK-4 is a short-chain form of vitamin K2 that is available synthetically and in foods such as butter and egg yolks. MK-7 is a longer-chain form of vitamin K2 and is predominantly found in natto, a Japanese fermented soy food, and is available as a dietary supplement. Because MK-7 has a longer half-life than MK-4, the dosage of MK-7 can be lower. In a 2014 study, the dosage of MK-4 used was 600µg/day. This study indicates benefit from 100µg/day of MK-7. Thus, MK-7 may be an effective and more practical choice.

Although this study was small, it further illustrates the effectiveness of menaquinones as an adjuvant treatment for RA. It also adds to the growing research specific to MK-7 and suggests that MK-7 can improve disease activity in RA patients.