BMC research uncovers microbiome correlation with vitamin K2 to mediate diabetes
09 May 2023 --- New research published in BMC Medicine has identified a novel mechanism whereby sodium-5,6-benzylidene-L-ascorbate (SBA) and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) metabolites mediate the effects of MK-7 on glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity in Type 2 diabetics. MK-7 is the most bioavailable form of vitamin K2 and is also naturally produced in the gut.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) participants with a confirmed diagnosis and history of the disease were recruited from four local communities in Heilongjiang, China, to participate in the experiment.
Based on the study’s results, the researchers emphasize the importance of ensuring an adequate intake of MK-7 for the overall metabolic balance, which can lead to a reduction in the vitamin K2-producing microbiota and compromise metabolic health. MK-7 increases bone mineral density and promotes bone quality and strength.
Daily intake of vitamin K2 accounts for only 10 to 25% of the total vitamin K. The gut microbiota produces a significant proportion of vitamin K2 intake.
Making incremental changes to the microbiota
Recent evidence demonstrated that the microbiota composition significantly changes when diet-derived vitamin K is insufficient in the gut environment, even though the microbiota is capable of producing vitamin K2 on its own.
According to researchers, vitamin K2 is poorly understood as a metabolic intervention that regulates blood glucose by acting on the gut microbiota despite valuable insights into the effects of vitamin K2 on glycemic homeostasis and gut microbiota from previous studies.
The findings of this study revealed that MK-7 is a beneficial nutrient for both the host and the gut microbiota. Moreover, the microbiota and its metabolites are key intermediate factors in MK-7 intervention that regulate glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
Given that metabolic diseases can lead to a reduction in vitamin K2-producing microbes, the evidence can facilitate the clinical implementation of the vitamin as an effective postbiotic for diabetes management.
Associated with gut microbiota dysbiosis
Diabetes mellitus remains a major health threat worldwide because of its complicated pathogenesis. Recently, it has become evident that type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is strongly associated with gut microbiota dysbiosis through multiple mechanisms.
These include alterations in metabolites produced via gut microbiota saccharolysis or proteolysis, increased gut permeability and perturbation of bile acid metabolism.
The present study showed a significant increase in the abundance of specific gut microbiota constituents, such as Bacteroidetes and Akkermansiaceae, which are known to contribute to the maintenance of adequate vitamin K2 concentrations in both the gut and circulation.
In addition, a study from the German Diabetes Center in Düsseldorf reveals that a strong association between the addition of whole grains, fiber, fish and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids could reduce all premature death risk factors in adults with Type 2 diabetes.
Getting to the root of the matter
The researchers hypothesized that vitamin K2 might indirectly improve glycemic homeostasis by acting as a gut stabilizer through the microbiota.
To address the above questions and confirm the effects of vitamin K2 supplementation on glycemic homeostasis and the gut microbiota, they conducted a double-blind randomized controlled MK-7 intervention for six months in community-recruited T2DM patients, followed by 16S rRNA sequencing and metabolomics analysis to clarify the alterations in clinical characteristics and the compositional and functional shifts in the gut microbiota.
Eighty eligible subjects were enrolled in the evaluation and randomized to either the six-month supervised control group “NC group” or the supplementation group, also known as the “VK group.” Sixty people completed the study.
Although the evenness of the microbiota was not different among groups, the VK group showed a protective effect on its richness when compared to the NC group. At the phylum level, the ratio of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes was significantly increased in the NC6 group, but there was no difference between the VK groups.
Meanwhile, poor diet is estimated to have resulted in 14.1 million new diagnoses of the noncommunicable disease, according to research analyzing the dietary intake of 184 countries. This represents around seven out of ten cases globally.
By Inga de Jong
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