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No new studies since the Lon White one - and that's the reason that it should be discounted or deprecated in some way? Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. I mean, if the study is well designed (as it apparently was), and the findings robust (as they apparently were - see dose-response), and the objections, such as they were are adequately disposed of (aluminum and production contaminants, prevalence of Alzheimer's vs vascular dementia in Japan), then sheer passage of time should not somehow undermine those attributes - those have not changed. Would it be useful if more studies came out to confirm these findings? Absolutely - but then this study can join a long line of other worthy studies that would benefit from more confirmation. That still does not invalidate those findings, unless, you know, they were invalidated - the only reason to invalidate or throw doubt upon would be if since then other studies came out that contradicted or otherwise undermined the Lon White study. I am not aware of any such. Therefore the mere passage of time is not enough in my mind to be a factor to doubt the findings of that study. Unless there is evidence to contradict the Lon White study, it strikes me as reasonable grounds to be cautious when it comes to consuming soy products.

 

Supplementing with vit. K2. I supplemented with K2 (MK-4 and MK-7) for 6 years. I based that not only on bone health concerns, but on purported CV effects as outlined in the Rotterdam study. But then I experienced a health issue that I laid down at least partially at the feet of K2 supplementation - admittedly I did this completely speculatively, based on nothing more than guesswork and my own reading of PubMed papers (again: completely speculative). I decided to quit supplementing with K2.

 

In keeping with the precautionary principle, I could not confirm the long term safety of supplementing with K2. I'm old enough to be familiar with this pattern: a given vitamin is touted as enhancing health and therefore would be great to supplement with - and then, years later, we find that in both supra-RDA and even RDA amounts, the health effects are deleterious. That list is long, and anyone is welcome to chase down studies and references: vitamin E, vitamin A, C, beta-carotene, folate, B12 and so on. Meanwhile, broad spectrum supplementation with multivitamins has not show health benefits even when taken by large numbers of people on poor diets (who could presumably benefit the most), even followed up for decades. And now a new group of optimists comes along and promises that this time, with another fat-soluble vitamin, it really is going to be different, cross my heart double promise for realz this time peeps: K2. Riiiight. Pull the other, it's got bells on it. I'm not disputing that there aren't plenty of intriguing hints about a variety of marvels that K2 can accomplish - I'm just reminding myself that the exact same thing happened before with all those other vitamins, and every single time it ended the same way. Oh, but this time it'll be different - time for a musical interlude and the immortal words of Morrissey: please enjoy "He was a sweet and tender hooligan, hooligan And he swore that he'll never, never do it again And of course he won't (oh, not until the next time)".

 

I am not opposed to getting some K2 in my diet - rather than through supplements. But I'd rather not do it through a soy product like Natto, or saturated-fat-laden cheese. If anyone has any practical suggestions I'm all ears.

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Tom,

 

You are right to follow the precautionary principle. But then again, if we all do what we've always done, we'll all end up just as dead as everyone else who has ever lived. You have to cast your lot with some intervention(s), or you too will end up dying.

 

Regarding the soy in natto. Didn't you just speak to the weakness of the tofu dementia link by calling into question the Lon White study of elderly Hawaiian men, on the basis that it hasn't been replicated despite it coming out many years ago?

 

Given how rich natto is in K2, it doesn't take much to get a respectable dose of the vitamin - just a few grams. Do you really think that a few grams of fermented soybeans really has the potential to negatively impact brain health, even if the concern about tofu and dementia has any merit (which I to doubt)?

 

--Dean

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Re: Lon White study - no, it was you, Dean who made that claim (that you've developed more doubt about the study due to the fact that it has not been replicated since). I addressed your argument in my post, and found it wanting.

 

You are right about needing to act on speculation and the precautionary principle cannot be absolute. I embark on speculative ventures all the time. And my speculation may be wrong. For example, my embarking on CR was a speculative endeavor, and now it transpires that CR may not work as we speculated in humans. So I'm not completely risk averse. But the soy-dementia connection is a bridge too far for me - it is not a risk I'm willing to take, based on the evidence to date, and based on my own speculation (which may transpire to be wrong, along with the Lon White study). I find the relative absence of long term studies of K2 and the kind of scrutiny other failed "star" vitamins received (f.ex. vit. E) troubling. That too strikes me as a speculative bridge too far. I'm ok with taking risks, but stop at Russian Roulette when the odds become too uncomfortable.

 

That is why I am not opposed - indeed welcome - more K2 in my diet, but would rather not gamble with supplemental forms (which have failed with so many vitamins before). And turning my gaze at diet, I am very uneasy about soy products and cheeses as the source of K2. You are right, the natto amounts are much smaller than customary tofu consumption, but strike me as still too much to take a risk - after all, there are more than a few bioactive substances in gram amounts that can affect our physiology. How many grams of tea do brew? That's apparently enough to cause an effect. And if small amounts of natto are enough to deliver one compound that can affect physiology (K2), then so can another (deleterious one). We don't know what exactly it is that's harmful in soy. And therefore we cannot judge what amounts may be safe.

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I hear you Tom, and I understand and respect your perspective. We're all N-of-1 experiments, and we have to pick and choose where we make our stand(s).

 

There definitely are other active ingredients in natto besides vitamin K2. In particular nattokinase, which appear beneficial as I discussed earlier in this thread. But it does have pretty powerful effects, and the long-term effects haven't been carefully studied.

 

I will note in natto's favor that, while shrouded in a bit of mystery, it has clearly been eaten in Japan since the 1600s, in much larger amounts I might add than the 1/4-carton per day that I've chosen to eat.

 

Ironically, that is about how long it's been since folks in the west have been eating tomatoes - before that they were believed to be poisonous. Now few of us healthy eaters go a meal without tomatoes in one form or another. Go figure. We've all got to go with the evidence available, and pick our poisons accordingly...

 

--Dean

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Natto Once Again Shown to Increase Bone Mineral Density

 

Thanks to Al Pater for finding this new study [1], which found once again that vitamin K(2) and natto are associated with better bone health, this time among 500 postmenopausal Japanese women.  

 

From the free full text, over the 5 years between baseline and the end of the study, virtually all the women lost some bone mass - almost without exception their BMD dropped. But those women who ate the most natto (high quartile, ≥ one carton per day, N=118) lost only ½ as much bone mass as women who ate natto rarely or not at all (N=58), even after controlling for a range of potential confounding factors. In fact, there was a strong dose-response relationship between quintile of natto intake and BMD (i.e. more natto → higher BMD). A similar positive relationship was seen between BMD and dietary vitamin K (sum of K1 & K2) intake as assessed by dietary questionnaire and 3-day food log. 

 

Coffee, tea and alcohol intake were also positively associated with BMD, although not to the extent of either natto or vitamin K. Meat consumption was inversely associated with BMD (i.e. more meat → lower BMD).

 

Once again it appears the slimy soybeans have benefits for bones!

 

--Dean

 

------------

[1] Tohoku J Exp Med. 2016;239(2):95-101. doi: 10.1620/tjem.239.95.

 

Association between Dietary Intake and Bone Mineral Density in Japanese
Postmenopausal Women: The Yokogoshi Cohort Study.

Hirata H, Kitamura K, Saito T, Kobayashi R, Iwasaki M, Yoshihara A, Watanabe

Y, Oshiki R, Nishiwaki T, Nakamura K.

Free Full text: 
https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/tjem/239/2/239_95/_html
https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/tjem/239/2/239_95/_pdf

Abstract

Diet and food intake play an important role in the development of
osteoporosis. However, apart from calcium and vitamin D, how nutrients
affect bone status is not fully understood. The purpose of this study was to
determine cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between dietary
intake and bone mineral density (BMD) in Japanese postmenopausal women. This
5-year cohort study included 600 community-dwelling women aged 55-74 years
at baseline in 2005. Information on demographics, nutrition, and lifestyle
was obtained through interviews, and nutritional and dietary intake was
assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire. BMD measurements
were performed by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. In 2010, 498 women
underwent follow-up BMD examinations. Multiple linear regression analysis
was performed to determine associations of predictor variables with BMD,
adjusting for confounders. In cross-sectional analyses, coffee or black tea
consumption was positively associated with lumbar spine (P = 0.004) and
total hip (P = 0.003) BMD, and alcohol intake was positively associated with
femoral neck (P = 0.005) and total hip (P = 0.001) BMD. In longitudinal
analyses, vitamin K (P = 0.028) and natto (fermented soybeans) (P = 0.023)
were positively associated with lumbar spine BMD, and meat or meat product
consumption was inversely associated with total hip (P = 0.047) BMD. In
conclusion, dietary factors other than calcium and vitamin D intake are
predictors of bone mass and bone loss in Japanese postmenopausal women. In
particular, natto intake is recommended for preventing postmenopausal bone
loss on the basis of current evidence.

 

PMID: 27238552 

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I just want to add one important thing:

Do not heat natto. Better eat natto at room temperature.

Heating will de-active or even kill Bacillus natto and thus negate their ability to colonize intestinal tract.

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I am not opposed to getting some K2 in my diet - rather than through supplements. But I'd rather not do it through a soy product like Natto, or saturated-fat-laden cheese. If anyone has any practical suggestions I'm all ears.

 

To date and after some hours of internet research, unfortunately I haven't been able to find nothing else. Actually, there might be a lot of K2 in some low-fat cheese, since the bacteria producing it feed on lactose and are indifferent to fat. Parmesan might contain lots of K2 but we don't know, there are very little analytical data in literature. Probably we might be able to get K2 in home made kefir from nonfat milk. I don't know about the taste though, I suspect it might be terrible. An option might be to drain the lowfat or nonfat kefir to obtain an homemade analog of twarog, that would likely contain significant K2 (if the starter contains lactococcus and leucostoc) and no saturated fats with acceptable palatability. I'll have to search about convenient drainings methods and maybe start producing Twarog myself.

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You guys know you can buy fresh natto online - right?

 

--Dean

 

Here in Italy it's apparently something extremely rare, maybe there is a Japanese market in the capital but I found no reference to online orders. Last resort might be some japanese restaurants...Natto starter is available but it doesn't seem something very easy to prepare.

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I've started making my own Twarog, simply by putting the home made kefir into a kitchen strain and let the water percolate. It tastes very good and can be done with lowfat milk/kefir, with a good taste as well and with an eye to saturated fats. 

 

In lieu of Natto, this should ensure some non-negligible amount of dietary K2 in the form mainly of MK9.

 

post-7347-0-66505200-1483531250_thumb.jpg

Edited by mccoy

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