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What Is Nattokinase?
Nattokinase is a potent fibrinolytic (anti-clotting) enzyme complex extracted and highly purified from a traditional Japanese food called Natto. Natto is a fermented cheese-like food that has been used in Japanese culture for more than 1,000 years for its popular taste, and as a folk remedy for heart and vascular diseases. Research has shown that Nattokinase supports the body in breaking up and dissolving the unhealthy coagulation of blood. In fact, it has been shown to have four times greater fibrinolytic activity than plasmin.4
How is it made?
Natto is produced by a fermentation process by adding the bacteria Bacillus subtilis to boiled soybeans. The resulting Nattokinase enzyme is produced when Bacillus subtilis acts on the soybeans. While other soy foods contain enzymes, it is only the natto preparation that contains the specific Nattokinase enzyme.
How was Nattokinase discovered?… Japanese researcher Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi had spent many years searching for a natural thrombolytic agent that could successfully dissolve blood clots associated with heart attacks and stroke. Finally in 1980, after testing more than 173 natural foods, Sumi found what he was looking for.
Natto, a traditional Japanese soy cheese(commonly eaten for breakfast in Japan), was dropped onto an artificial thrombus (fibrin) in a petri dish and allowed to stand at 37ºC (approximately body temperature). Over the next 18 hours, the thrombus around the natto completely dissolved! Sumi named the newly discovered enzyme Nattokinase, which means “enzyme in natto.” Dr. Sumi remarked that Nattokinase showed “a potency matched by no other enzyme.”
You may click to see :Natto and Nattokinase
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has said that taking aspirin may not prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is the formation of a clot in the blood vessels, usually in a vein deep within the legs or hips.
How does Nattokinase work
Nattokinase enhances the body’s natural ability to fight blood clots, and has an advantage over blood thinners because it has a prolonged effect without side effects.
*Supports normal blood pressure
*Prevents blood clots from forming
*Dissolves existing blood clots
*Enhances the body’s production of plasmin and other clot-dissolving agents, including urokinase
Nattokinase has been the subject of 17 studies, including two small human trials. In 1990, Dr. Sumi’s research team published a series of studies demonstrating the fibrinolytic effects of Nattokinase.9 Here are some of them:
Dissolves blood clots
Researchers from JCR Pharmaceuticals, Oklahoma State University, and Miyazaki Medical College, tested Nattokinase on 12 healthy Japanese volunteers (6 men and 6 women, between the ages of 21 and 55). The researchers gave the volunteers 7 ounces of natto (the food) before breakfast, and then tracked fibrinolytic activity through a series of blood plasma tests....click & see
In one test, a blood sample was taken and a thrombus (clot) was artificially induced. The amount of time needed to dissolve the clot was cut in half within 2 hours of treatment, compared to the control group. Additionally, the volunteers retained an enhanced ability to dissolve blood clots for up to 8 hours.9
Dr. Sumi’s team also induced blood clots in a major leg vein in male dogs that had been given either four capsules of Nattokinase (250 mg per capsule) or four placebo capsules. Angiograms (x-rays of blood vessels) showed that the blood clots in the dogs that received Nattokinase had completely dissolved within 5 hours of treatment, and that normal blood circulation had been restored. Blood clots in the dogs who received the placebo showed no sign of dissolving 18 hours after the treatment.9
Researchers from Biotechnology Research Laboratories and JCR Pharmaceuticals Co. of Kobe, Japan, tested Nattokinase’s ability to dissolve a blood clot in the carotid arteries of rats. Animals treated with Nattokinase regained 62 percent of blood flow, whereas those treated with plasmin regained just 15.8 percent of blood flow.19
In another laboratory study, endothelial damage was induced in the femoral arteries of rats that had been given Nattokinase. In normal circumstances, a thickening of the artery walls and blood clotting would occur, but they were both suppressed because of Nattokinase’s fibrinolytic activity.
A recent study found that airline passengers given three daily doses of nattokinase were less likely to develop a DVT during a flight.
Helps reduce high blood pressure
Human volunteers with high blood pressure were given 30 grams of natto extract (equivalent to 7 ounces of natto food), orally for 4 consecutive days. In 4 out of 5 volunteers, the systolic blood pressure decreased on average from 173.8 to 154.8. Diastolic blood pressure decreased on average from 101.0 to 91.2. This data represents about a 10.9 percent drop in systolic blood pressure and a 9.7 percent drop in diastolic blood pressure.5911
Wistar rats that were given natto extract showed a significant drop in systolic blood pressure also, from an average of 166 to 145 in just two hours, which further decreased to an average of 144 in 3 hours. This data represents an approximate 12.7 percent drop in systolic blood pressure also, from an average of 166 to 145 in just two hours, which further decreased to an average of 144 in three hours. This data represents an approximate 12.7 percent drop in systolic blood pressure within two hours.5,9,11
These tests all indicate that Nattokinase generates a heightened ability in the body to dissolve blood clots.
Restores blood circulation
This is one of the most dramatic, documented stories about the effects of Nattokinase. A 58-year-old man had a blood clot in the retina of his right eye that caused fluid build up and bleeding. He started losing his vision in that eye and was admitted to a university hospital, where researchers prescribed a 3-ounce dose of natto to be taken before bed every night, in order to get the benefit of Nattokinase.
The man’s bleeding completely stopped by the tenth day, and by the 20th day, his vision returned and he was released from the hospital. He continued to eat natto twice a week. When he had a retinal angiogram two months later, it showed that the blood clot was completely gone.12
The traditional Japanese food Natto has been used safely for more than 1,000 years. The safety record of its potent fibrinolytic enzyme, Nattokinase, is based upon the long-term traditional use of the food and recent scientific studies.
Nattokinase has many benefits including its prolonged effects, cost effectiveness, and its ability to be used preventatively. It is a naturally occurring, food-based dietary supplement that has demonstrated stability in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as to changes in pH and temperature. It is definitely a nutritional supplement to consider adding to a cardiovascular health maintenance plan.
While currently it is rarely used clinically, the article in the JAAPA suggests that further clinical trials of nattokinase may cement its potential health benefits.