Nattokinase is a highly purified enzyme which is produced by the fermentation process of soybeans. It is a fibrinolytic enzyme that has been scientifically proven to have many health benefits, largely for the cardiovascular and circulatory system, breaking down blood clots and normalizing blood pressure.
This is the reason I use it. Since leaving hospital nine years ago, I have suffered considerably with blood circulation problems – swollen ankles and a great deal of pain which varies from a tooth ache type of pain, to one of a feeling like my ankle is about to explode!
Since using Nattokinase every day, I have seen a definite improvement with my circulation and reduced swelling in my ankles, which I am thrilled about. This is a huge relief which has made daily life that much more ‘liveable’.
In it’s original state, the soybeans are fermented by adding a bacteria called Bacillus subtilis, while they are boiled. This produces a food (originating from Japan) called Natto. Only this preparation of soy beans into Natto will produce the nattokinase enzyme.
You cannot get it by processing soy beans in any other way. However, commercial demand for it’s blood thinning properties has produced an alternative medicine product that is available in tablet/capsule form.
This is great news if you are adverse to horrible smells and dislike textures that resemble a slug’s sticky trail, and also if you don’t know how to make natto!
The biological structure of nattokinase is actually not a kinase enzyme (as you would think from it’s name), but is a serine protease. In the human body, serine proteases take control of things like coagulation of blood, the immune system and lead the way for your digestive system.
So aside from helping your body to smoothly push your blood around your veins and arteries, from your heart more easily, this minuscule cell property does have many other reasons for including it in our diets.
What is Natto?
Natto is a traditional Japanese food made by fermenting soy beans, which contains an abundance of vegetable proteins. Natto has a very strong, pungent flavor and is a very slimy paste. It is salty in flavor like, has a (blue) cheese type of smell and is usually eaten with rice. It is considered to be a very good all around, highly nutritional vegetarian food by the people who say it is has an ‘acquired taste’.
Why Has Nattokinase Become So Popular As An Alternative Medicine/Dietary Supplement?
- Acts as a secondary fibrinolysis, which means it helps to reduce blood clots
- Could help Alzheimer’s patients by relieving symptoms
- Great as a travel aid (could prevent Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT)
- Reduce blood pressure
- Reduce risk of stroke
- Reduce varicose veins
- Reduce the effects of poor circulation
Heart disease, the cardiovascular and circulatory system are subjects which are very close to my heart. I have a family history of heart related diseases, and I suffered a massive DVT when I was in hospital ten years ago.
I almost lost my life to a car accident, and then in hospital doctors almost missed a huge blood clot that had developed in my groin, which was heading up to my heart and lungs.
This is why I find nattokinase an amazing addition to my nutrition and healthy plan, because it helps my circulation and defends my heart against the possible attack of hereditary diseases, because of it’s fibrinolytic properties.
Nattokinase acts like the bodies naturally produced enzyme called plasmin, which is its ‘self-defence’ mechanism against dangerous blood clotting. Such are its properties, it was once thought that nattokinase could replace aspirin as a blood thinner to prevent hardening of the arteries in people who suffer heart disease.
But there seems to be confusion amongst the ‘expert’ on this topic. Although nattokinase does have wonderful anti-clotting effects, some ‘experts’ say that it can replace aspirin, while others say it should not replace it.
Important: If you do have any heart related conditions, please remember that neither I or anyone associated with this website are medical professionals, and that you should always consult your doctor about such issues.
Can You Use Nattokinase to Protect Against Heart Disease or Circulation Problems?
Because of the side effects that long term use of aspirin can have (fevers, long lasting pains, heartburn, headaches, nausea and stomach pains), if it is NOT prescribed by your doctor or you’re not using it, and you want to protect yourself against heart disease and help your circulation, then you could use nattokinase.
It will provide you with a healthier alternative to aspirin, and is your nearest, similar ‘natural’ self defense (to plasmin), that you can use after ensuring you are eating a healthy and balanced diet every day, which is high in heart friendly foods.
How Does Nattokinase Work?
Enzymes work by binding with specific molecules within your body, called reactant’s or substrates. This binding alters the overall structure of the molecule, helping your bodies cells to function better.
The nattokinase enzymes break down the excessive fibers of blood clots (called fibrins), working in the same way as thrombolytic drugs like urokinase and streptokinase. The only difference is that nattokinase is taken orally, whereas the drugs are administered intravenously, and usually in hospital.
The other two enzymes in the same ‘class’ as nattokinase, are serrapeptase and lumbrokinase.
They work in similar ways. But, whereas the natto enzyme mainly helps the blood system, the benefits of serrapeptase are a little broader, helping to ease the symptoms of migraines, IBS and arthritis (just to give you an idea).
And lumbrokinase also has a wider range of healing properties, and not only helps with blood circulation, but also has specific healing actions that break down bacterial infections.
How much nattokinase you should take is usually decided for you. It will be printed on the plastic tub or bottle it comes in. It is usually best to stick to the recommended dose, unless a doctor or other medical professional has advised you otherwise.
Why Was Nattokinase Discovered and By Who?
When you hear of these types of amazing natural discoveries, don’t you ever wonder how and why they were discovered? Who would think of boiling a pan of soybeans and adding a bacteria, to obtain a microscopic cell, and why?
Natto has been consumed in Japan for centuries, but it was Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi, from the University of Chicago discovered its healing properties, almost half a century ago. Sumi was experimenting with almost two hundred different food types to discover which would improve the blood around the human body.
Nattokinase Side Effects
Right now there are no known side effects in healthy people who use nattokinase, other than possibly causing longer times to stop nose and cut bleeds. A greater threat of bruising may also occur.
However, if you have any kind of genetic or hereditary blood disorder like hemophilia or any other type of coagulation problems, then taking nattokinase may cause you problems and you should refrain from using it.
Also, if you suffer from any kind of DVT or other blood clotting disease and have warfarin prescribed by your doctor, then taking this enzyme is not advised as it will thin your blood too much to be of any medical benefit to you.
Also, if you currently suffer from low blood pressure then you should also refrain from using nattokinase as it will further lower your BP.
And if you are a woman and are pregnant, there has been insufficient research on the enzymes effects on the safety of your pregnancy and your unborn fetus, so the best advice is not to use nattokinase while you are pregnant.
Video Review of Nattokinase
I think you will find this video review of the nattokinase supplement very useful.
Should You Be Taking Nattokinase Supplement?
Yes. It is affordable, unlike supplements and unless you are currently taking anti-coagulation medication or are expecting a baby (in which case, consult your primary care doctor first).
Where Can You Get Nattokinase?
I use and recommended Good Health Naturally because I’ve found their nattokinase more easily absorbed than other products. Also, all Good Health Naturally supplements are produced under the strict guidelines as set out by the U.S.F.D.A. and they also have a helpline you can call to help you with any queries you have about their supplements.