What is the Difference Between Nattokinase and Serrapeptase?

In the realm of natural health supplements, enzymes like nattokinase and serrapeptase have garnered attention for their potential benefits in promoting cardiovascular health, reducing inflammation, and supporting overall well-being. Despite their similar applications, these enzymes have distinct origins, mechanisms of action, and specific benefits. Understanding these differences can help individuals make informed choices about their use.

Origins and Sources

Nattokinase is an enzyme extracted from natto, a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans. This fermentation process involves Bacillus subtilis bacteria, which produce nattokinase. Natto has been consumed in Japan for centuries, and its health benefits have long been recognized in Japanese medicine.

Serrapeptase, also known as serratiopeptidase, is an enzyme originally derived from the digestive tract of the silkworm. It is produced by the Serratia bacteria, which live in the intestines of silkworms and help them dissolve their silk cocoons. Today, serrapeptase is typically produced through controlled fermentation processes to ensure purity and safety for human consumption.

Mechanisms of Action

Nattokinase and serrapeptase act on different substrates in the body, which defines their unique benefits:

Nattokinase primarily functions as a fibrinolytic enzyme, meaning it helps to break down fibrin, a protein involved in blood clotting. By degrading fibrin, nattokinase can aid in preventing the formation of abnormal blood clots, potentially reducing the risk of conditions like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) (look for our update, at the bottom of the article), stroke, and heart attack. Its ability to enhance blood flow and reduce blood viscosity further supports cardiovascular health.

Serrapeptase is a proteolytic enzyme, which means it breaks down proteins into smaller components. It is particularly effective in reducing inflammation and pain by digesting inflammatory proteins, dead tissue, and excess mucus. This property makes serrapeptase valuable for conditions characterized by inflammation, such as arthritis, sinusitis, and certain types of chronic pain.

Health Benefits and Uses

While both enzymes offer cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory benefits, their specific applications differ:

Nattokinase is often used for:

  • Cardiovascular Health: Reducing blood clot formation and improving circulation.
  • Blood Pressure: Some studies suggest it may help lower high blood pressure.
  • Stroke Prevention: By preventing abnormal clot formation, it may lower the risk of stroke.

Serrapeptase is commonly used for:

  • Anti-Inflammatory: Reducing inflammation in conditions like arthritis, bronchitis, and sinusitis.
  • Pain Relief: Alleviating pain associated with inflammation.
  • Post-Surgical Recovery: Enhancing healing and reducing swelling and scar tissue formation.

Safety and Considerations

Both enzymes are generally considered safe when taken as directed, but they can interact with certain medications, especially blood thinners and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Nattokinase should be used with caution in individuals with bleeding disorders or those taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications due to its blood-thinning effects.

Serrapeptase may also interact with blood-thinning medications and should be used under medical supervision in such cases. Additionally, it is advisable to monitor for any allergic reactions, especially if derived from silkworm sources.


Nattokinase and serrapeptase are powerful enzymes with distinct origins and health benefits. Nattokinase excels in promoting cardiovascular health by preventing abnormal blood clotting and improving blood flow. Serrapeptase shines in reducing inflammation and pain, aiding in the breakdown of non-living tissue, and supporting recovery from surgery and injury.

Choosing between these enzymes depends on individual health needs and conditions. Consulting with a healthcare provider can provide personalized advice and ensure safe and effective use of these supplements. As with any supplement, quality and dosage are crucial, so opting for reputable brands and adhering to recommended guidelines is essential for achieving the best outcomes.

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