Nattokinase is an enzyme that helps break down fibrin in the bloodstream; it appears to reduce blood clot risk, reduce blood pressure and reduce stroke risk.
Nattokinase is an enzyme produced from nattō, a traditional Japanese food made from soybeans fermented with the bacterium, Bacillus subtilis.
In 1980, Chicago University researcher Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi was examining foods for their ability to tackle blood clots. After 173 attempts, he accidentally stumbled across an enzyme in nattō, which broke down blood clots in a petri dish. Enzymes are proteins that can enhance chemical reactions. Here the enzyme dissolved blood clots in about 18 hours. He named the enzyme Nattokinase.
Natto has a pungent smell and strong flavor. It has low sodium but high content of minerals such as iron and magnesium and vitamins B2, B6 and K2. It has passed into Japanese folklore as being good for reducing blood pressure and for cardiovascular problems.
A natural way of tackling blood clots; and strokes and DVT
Nattokinase is not actually a kinase but that is splitting hairs. It’s action enhances and promotes that of plasmin, an enzyme produced by the body to break down fibrin, or fibrinogen (1), preventing a potential blood clot (a thrombus). If this system fails, Doctors normally resort to blood thinning drugs like warfarin.
Dr. Martin Milner of the Center for Natural Medicine in Portland Oregon, has long studied nattokinase. He has found it works in three ways:
1. Nattokinase promotes the production of plasmin and other clot-dissolving enzymes like urokinase.
2. Nattokinase helps break down the fibre at the heart of blood clots – fibrin.
3. Nattokinase can prevent hardening of the arteries, even with small doses.
The latter point is important. Because natural human enzymes to break down blood clots commence in the linings of the artery walls, and because plasmin production tends to decline as we age, our natural defences weaken.
Blood clots can happen anywhere in the body, leading to DVT or strokes. Their risk can be worsened by external factors, for example chemotherapy. A blood clot forms where a protein, fibrin, builds up in the artery forming structures resembling fishing nets, ‘catching’ the blood cells. This blockage can then starve a localized area of oxygen. Studies were originally performed with rats and dogs. Because of the good results, trials with humans took place and showed similar effects.
For example, in a study with 12 Japanese men, nattokinase showed heightened fibrinolytic activity lasting considerably longer than the drugs commonly used.
Natokinase reduces blood pressure and atherosclerosis
So, nattokinase augments the action of the body’s own defender, plasmin and breaks down fibrin, which prevents thickening of the blood and the risk of clotting. Thus it reduces blood pressure naturally.
This is not just theory; in 1995 researchers from the Miyazaki Medical College in Japan studied nattokinase with both animal and human subjects. On top of reducing blood pressure via fibrin breakdown, nattokinase also inhibits ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme) which causes blood vessels to narrow and thus blood pressure to rise (2).
In a second small randomized clinical trial in humans, Nnattokinase was shown specifically to reduce blood pressure and atherosclerosis (3).
Nattokinase can clean up tissue damage and reduce inflammation
Because of its fibrin-dissolving action, nattokinase is very useful with injuries such as bone breaks, muscle, ligament or tendon damage. Because it clears away ‘loose’ particles and damage residue, it also reduces swelling and inflammation in the damaged area. It has similar and overlapping actions with Serrapeptase.
Go to: The Truth about Serrapeptase
Nattokinase can reduce Spike Protein damage
It is now known that Covid-19 spike protein can cause a build up of fibrin in the blood. Obviously the vast majority of young people posses the natural enzymes to deal with this problem. But we make less plasmin as we age. Studies have shown that nattokinase can reduce the risk of blood clots from spike protein and that nattokinase can even bind to the spike protein itself preventing its actions (3).
Doses and contra-indications for Nattokinase
Health Professionals in the USA recommend taking 50 mg per day for the first week and then increasing levels to 100 mg per day, in order to reduce blood pressure. Since both warfarin and fish oils also thin the blood, it is not recommended that warfarin and nattokinase are taken simultaneously. With fish oils, 1 gm of fish oil is the maximum dose if taking nattokinase.
A small (75-81 mg) aspirin can be taken with nattokinase, since aspirin reduces the ‘stickyness’ of the blood, complementing the action of nattokinase.
You should make sure your doctor is aware of your proposed actions before taking nattokinase.
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- Nattokinase: An oral antithrombic agent for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Weng Y, Yao J, Sparks S, et al. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2017;18(3):523. doi: 10.3390%2Fijms18030523
- A novel fibrinolytic enzyme (nattokinase) in the vegetable cheese Natto; a typical and popular soybean food in the Japanese diet; H Sumi et al; Experientia
. 1987 Oct 15;43(10):1110-1. doi: 10.1007/BF01956052.
- Consumption of nattokinase is associated with reduced blood pressure and von Willebrand factor, a cardiovascular risk marker: results from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter North American clinical trial. Jensen GS, Lenninger M, Ero MP, et al. Integrated Blood Pressure Control. 2016;9:95-104. doi: 10.2147%2FIBPC.S99553
- Degradative Effect of Nattokinase on Spike Protein of SARS-CoV-2; Takashi Tanikawa et al; Molecules, 2022 Aug 24;27(17):5405. doi: 10.3390/molecules27175405