10th June 2010
How an 11th Century Samurai is helping to combat Osteoporosis
The Japanese breakfast, in stark contrast to its full-English counterpart, packs quite a healthy punch. Natto, a traditional breakfast food beloved of the Japanese for centuries, is the richest natural source of vitamin K2 and has been linked to better bone as well as heart health. No wonder the natives consume 4.7 billion portions of the stuff a year and appear not to suffer the same rates of osteoporosis as in the West. It all started with an 11th century Samurai warrior.
Popular folklore has it that the army of the legendary 11th Century Samurai Yoshiie Minamoto was attacked as they boiled soybeans for their horses. They hurriedly packed the soybeans in rice straw sacks and joined the battle. Things did not go well and some days later having had nothing to eat, all that was on offer was the now-fermenting soy beans. It would seem that Yoshiie Minamoto rather liked the flavour and “natto” became part of the traditional Japanese diet, with all its attendant health benefits.
In an increasingly health-conscious Western society, could Natto catch on here? The role of Vitamin K in combating osteoporosis is now widely acknowledged. The European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) recently permitted health claims linking Vitamin K to the maintenance of normal bone health, whilst the superior bio-availability of vitamin K2 present in fermented products, compares favourably with vitamin K1 found in leafy green vegetables.
However, it is doubtful whether European palates would appreciate the finer qualities of “natto”, served up as web-like sticky strings with a pungent smell and flavour. While the palate of a very hungry 11th Century Samurai might appreciate fermented soy beans, and his descendents relish a bowlful every morning, Natto in its natural form it’s a non-starter in the West.
Undeterred, a team of UK experts got together to work out how all the benefits of vitamin K2, and the helpful natural bacteria present in “natto”, could be delivered to consumers in a palatable form. Honda Trading Europe, a global trader in soybeans, alongside eminate ltd, innovators in food technology, and Dr Steve Minter, an internationally respected microbiologist have developed and launched VitaNat Natural Natto Vitamin K2. It is the only health food supplement made from whole naturally-fermented “natto”. It is available in encapsulated and powder form, allowing its use as a simple vitamin supplement. Potential for use as a food ingredient is also being investigated. So Western consumers can now enjoy all the benefits of “natto” without having to have the constitution of a Samurai.
More information and a promotional video showing “natto” in its original form and its manufacture into VitaNat Natural Natto can be found at www.vitanatshop.com
Interviews on the science behind the health claims with Dr Steve Minter can be provided.
VitaNat in capsule form is available online and is being introduced at Health Stores across the country.
Vitamin K is a co-factor in a number of biochemical pathways, most importantly activating blood clotting factors and osteocalcin, the protein responsible for organising deposition of calcium in bones. The importance of vitamin K as a dietary supplement is gaining increasing scientific support. EFSA recently permitted health claims linking vitamin K to normal blood coagulation and maintenance of normal bone.
Louise Third, Integra Communications Ltd,
0115 912 4350
Technical product information:
Terry Young, eminate limited
0115 912 4370