The patent (CA 2347387) –which you can read here - was issued by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office on December 20 and provides “broad coverage”, claimed chief executive Peter Carlsson.
“This will strengthen NattoPharma's global IPR-platform and contribute to NattoPharma's competitive advantage in Canada and the ability to support our customers and partner Quadra Chemicals Ltd. in the marketing of MenaQ7 within the food supplement market as well as the functional food market.
“This will also be of valuable support in the ongoing commercialization of our product MenaQ7 in the region”.
Norway-based NattoPharma manufactures its branded vitamin K2 ingredient MenaQ7 via a fermentation process using bascillus subtilis natto, a bacteria naturally occurring in the fermented soy product natto. The process is claimed to produce a “highly pure and bio-available” form of natural vitamin K2 called menaquinone-7 (MK-7).
NattoPharma recently struck a deal with health ingredients sales and marketing firm Wilkes Resources to sell MenaQ7 in the US. The ingredient, which is self-affirmed GRAS, can also be sold in foods in the EU following a successful application under the Novel Food Regulation.
The different forms of Vitamin K
There are two main forms of Vitamin K: K1 (phylloquinone) and K2 (menaquinones).
Vitamin K1 is the principle source of dietary vitamin K (in broccoli, spinach etc), while vitamin K2 (found in meat, cheese, natto etc) exists in several forms, the most common being synthetic menaquinone-4 (MK-4) and natural menquinone-7 (MK-7).
MK-7 is said to be the most bioavailable and bioactive form of Vitamin K2, according to Professor Cees Vermeer from the VitaK research centre in Maastricht, who argues that vitamin K2 status is a strong and independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease and mortality.
Bone and arteries: How does it work?
According to NattoPharma, MK-7 activates certain proteins in the body such as osteocalcin in bone building cells and Matrix Gla Protein in the vasculature. These proteins need to be activated in order to perform their job in binding calcium to the surface of bones and inhibiting calcium deposition in the arteries.
Check in to NutraIngredients-USA in the New Year to see our interview with NattoPharma chief executive Peter Carlsson about his ambitions in the North American market.