Nattokinase is a powerful proteolytic enzyme that has fibrinolytic health benefits. It is best known for its astounding fibrinolytic (anti-clotting) capacities. Perhaps its most supported use is in the area of cardiovascular health, where it helps to rejuvenate healthy fibrin metabolism and reduce blood clotting, thus making it an extremely powerful, all-natural enzymatic support which may aid in deterring both heart disease and stroke. Nattokinase has also been scientifically proven to offer relief from joint swelling.
As many of you know, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. As we age, fibrinogen levels rise (blood clotting potentials), and the enzymes that help dissolve these clots actually lower.
According to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than 700,000 people have a stroke every year . What is more, the American Heart Association states that almost every year, around 1 million people in the U.S. will have a heart attack. Many clinical studies also suggest that nattokinase may help prevent deep vein thrombus formation.
What is Nattokinase?
Traditionally, nattokinase was extracted from “natto” which is a fermented soy-based food found readily in Japanese cuisine and culture. The organism that produces nattokinase is made by a fermentation process which incorporates the bacteria Bacillus subtilis. It was discovered in Japan by research scientist Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi who was looking for a natural remedy for dissolving blood clots related to heart attacks and stroke.
How Does Nattokinase Work in the Body?
Nattokinase is a fibrinolytic protease, which by nature is an enzyme whose basic function is to hydrolyze proteins. Because proteins have a fairly complex organic amino acid structure, they require these types of enzymes to break protein molecules into absorbable and digestible amino acids.
Nattokinase has the distinct ability to break down the adhesive substance that makes arterial plaque very sticky. In this way, it supports a preventative and reversing effect on blood clotting and plaque build up in the arteries.[2, 3]
Every day human beings eat large amounts of foods that can lead to an increase in redness and unhealthy levels of cholesterol. This sets up a paradigm which puts humans are at high risk for blood clot, heart disease, and stroke. Nattokinase is one type of enzyme that can break down these clots by directly cleaving the bonds of the fibrin protein components and also by hastening the production of the body’s own fibrin buster (plasmin), without many of the negative side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.[3, 4]
Nattokinase can also break down unwanted wastes such as toxins, cellular debris in the blood, and undigested proteins in the gut. With the distinct ability to breakdown peptide bonds and liberate amino acids, proteolytic enzymes are now being studying by modern science and medicine for their clinical and therapeutic use in the realms of general oncology and overall immune system. Nattokinase is also resistant to the stomach’s highly acidic environment, allowing it to pass to the intestines intact.
What Are The Health Benefits of Nattokinase?
As this enzyme has been used for over 1000 years and is firmly supported by scientific studies for its many health benefits. The following list offers some health benefits of supplementing with Nattokinase, as well some of the exciting research being done on Nattokinase, and its applications to human health and disease prevention/management:
- It has been shown to stabilize and assist the gastrointestinal tract.
- May help to normal blood pressure.
- Aids in preventing blood clots from forming and aids in the natural dissolution of existing clots
- Successfully dissolves fibrin and enhances the system’s natural ability to keep blood vessels clean
- Increases the body’s natural production of plasmin as well as other important blood clot dissolving components, such as urokinase.
- May aid in the prevention of angina, stroke, varicose veins, muscle spasms and pain.
- May help prevent heart attack and stroke – Studies have shown that Nattokinase helps break up and dissolve blood clots.[3, 4] In fact, research confirms that it holds four times more fibrinolytic activity than plasmin, the body’s natural anti-clotting agent.
How to Read the Units of Measurement for Nattokinase
When reading a supplement label which contains Nattokinase you may see the letters (FU) after the amount of nattokinase contained in the formula. One FU (Fibrinolytic Unit) is the measurement given for the enzyme. It comes from the Japanese Pharmacopeia, whereby one unit is defined as the amount of the enzyme, which increases the absorbency of the filtrate at 275 nm by 0.01 per minute under the conditions of the assay.
The “FCC” stands for Foods Chemical Codex, and is a division of USP (United States Pharmacopeia). It sets standards for ingredients. In the case of enzymes, FCC is a standard assay used to accurately determine the activity of enzymes. The current compendium is FCC VI. The FCC does this on microbial proteases, and it is based on a 30-minute hydrolysis of a hemoglobin substrate at pH 4.7 and 40 degrees celcius.
Where Can I Find The Best Source of Nattokinase?
The product VeganZyme® contains a 100% vegan form of Nattokinase produced by the natural fermentation process of Bacillus natto or Bacillus subtilis natto. It comes from all vegetarian, non-GMO sources, is kosher certified, gluten free, made in the USA, contains no animal product and is completely suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
VeganZyme is the most advanced full-spectrum systemic and digestive enzyme formula in the world and is free from fillers and toxic compounds. This formula contains digestive enzymes, which help digest fats (lipids), sugars, proteins, carbohydrates, gluten, fruits and vegetables, cereals, legumes, bran, nuts and seeds, soy, dairy, and all other food sources.
- Center for Disease Control. Know the signs and symptoms of a stroke (PDF). Department of Health and Human Services. 2011 December.
- Sumi H, Hamada H, Nakanishi K, Hiratani H. Enhancement of the fibrinolytic activity in plasma by oral administration of nattokinase. Acta Haematol. 1990;84(3):139-43.
- Suzuki Y, Kondo K, Matsumoto Y, Zhao BQ, Otsuguro K, Maeda T, Tsukamoto Y, Urano T, Umemura K. Dietary supplementation of fermented soybean, natto, suppresses intimal thickening and modulates the lysis of mural thrombi after endothelial injury in rat femoral artery. Life Sci. 2003 Jul 25;73(10):1289-98.
- Suzuki Y, et al. “Dietary supplementation of fermented soybean, natto, suppresses intimal thickening and modulates the lysis of mural thrombi after endothelial injury in rat femoral artery.” Life Sci. 2003;73(10),1289-98.
- Weng Y, et al. “Nattokinase: An Oral Antithrombotic Agent for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease.” Int J Mol Sci. 2017; 18(3),523.
- Kim JY, et al. “Effects of nattokinase on blood pressure: a randomized, controlled trial.” Hypertens Res. 2008 Aug;31(8):1583-8.
- Kotb E. “Nattokinase In Fibrinolytic Bacterial Enzymes with Thrombolytic Activity. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer Science & Business Media.”
- Jang J-Y, et al. “Nattokinase improves blood flow by inhibiting platelet aggregation and thrombus formation.” Lab Anim Res. 2013 Dec; 29(4): 221–225.