Natto extract or Nattokinase is an enzyme extracted from a Japanese food called natto. It was discovered in 1987 when it was found out that it can dissolve artificial fibrin. Nattokinase has a fibrinolytic activity that makes it promising for people suffering from cardiac health troubles(1).
However, the FDA has not recognized Nattokinase for medical use.
A 100 gms of Nattokinase provides the following.
|Manganese||76 % of the RDI|
|Iron||48 % of the RDI|
|Copper||33 % of the RDI|
|Vitamin K1||29 % of the RDI|
|Magnesium||29 % of the RDI|
|Calcium||22 % of the RDI|
|Vitamin C||22 % of the RDI|
|Potassium||21 % of the RDI|
|Zinc||20 % of the RDI|
|Selenium||13 % of the RDI|
What is Nattokinase?
It is an enzyme extracted from natto, which is a popular Japanese food. It is a traditional practice to use it for control of blood coagulation and heart diseases.
How does it work?
1. Controls Blood Pressure
Nattokinase helps regulate blood pressure levels.
Two clinical trials conducted, one with 86 subjects and the other with 79, state that one group who received nattokinase for eight weeks once daily showed a reduction in blood pressure levels, compared to the other group. The males had a significant reduction in blood pressure.
Nattokinase restricts the angiotensin-converting enzyme that is responsible for the narrowing of vessels. As this enzyme gets regulated, it helps to reduce blood pressure.
2. Nattokinase for Blood Clots
In a clinical trial with 45 subjects who were divided into three groups, they received nattokinase daily for two months- one group where patients were considered as a risk for cardiac disease.
The other was for patients with dialysis.
It showed that the risk factor for the cardiac disease had significantly decreased in all the groups.
A study(1) was conducted on 12 adult males, where one dose of nattokinase degraded the fibrin and showed decreased levels of coagulation factors that are responsible for blood clotting. The effect lasted longer than 8 hours compared to enzymes like tissue plasminogen activator, urokinase.
Different studies on the human proved the following nattokinase health benefits.
- It directly reduces fibrin clots more efficiently compared to plasmin.
- It increases the activity of some anti-clogging enzymes.
- It reduces pro-clotting enzymes.
3. Reduces Cholesterol
A study compared the effect of nattokinase with statins, which are cholesterol-lowering drugs. It included over 82 patients who were treated for 26 weeks. The results showed that both the treatments had significantly reduced the total cholesterol levels, LDL, and triglycerides.
But it was noted that the only nattokinase increased the HDL levels, also known as good cholesterol.
Hence, nattokinase benefits the body by balancing cholesterol levels.
4. Hardens Arteries
Taking daily nattokinase supplements had remarkable results in reducing the plaque size, which was responsible for artery hardening when compared to statin treatment. Although both of them reduce cholesterol and decrease the size of plaque that prevents the hardening of the artery, their mechanisms can be different.
Nattokinase acts as a blood thinner that prevents the hardening of arteries.
5. Maintains Cardiac Health
Nattokinase benefits our health by maintaining proper heart health and prevents a stroke. vWF is released by damaged blood vessels that increase the risks of clots.
A study was conducted over 79 hypertensive patients where vWF reduced by 15 % in a group who took nattokinase compared to the other group, which showed no change in 8 weeks.
It showed that in males, there was no decrease in vWF levels for those who consumed the supplement.
6. Nattokinase for Alzheimer’s
Nattokinase control factors that cause Alzheimer’s. Oral consumption of Nattokinase showed a reduction in certain elements that are high in Alzheimer’s. It deteriorates the cells in amyloid fibrils, which are usually aggravated in cases of Alzheimer’s disease.
7. Treats Celiac Disease
Nattokinase benefits our health by degrading gliadin, which is a component of gluten. It can be an alternative treatment for those who are allergic to glute usually known as celiac disease.
- Nattokinase is measured in FU, fibrinolytic units and human studies state that 2000 FU has provided maximum cardiovascular and anti-thrombotic benefits.
- Combining Nattokinase with red yeast rice is known to reduce cholesterol levels more productively.
Nattokinase uses are defined doses. The ideal dosage is 100 mg twice daily.
Precautions to Follow
Nattokinase is considered a safe food with almost no side-effects as it has been a part of the Japanese diet for several years.
- Nattokinase sticks to heparin, which is an anticoagulant drug. Relying on the heparin chain nattokinase can interfere with the functions of heparin. It may bind with other glycosaminoglycans.
- As it functions as a blood thinner, those who are taking aspirin or warfarin must not consume nattokinase.
- Nattokinase, when substituted for warfarin, can be a threat to clotting heart valves.
Nattokinase benefits are not only for blood thinning and the cardiovascular system, but it also reduces the growth of nasal polyps through fibrin degradation. Nattokinase can be an effective therapeutic option for patients who have asthma, as well. It can also be consumed orally or as a dietary supplement.
1. Is it safe to take nattokinase on an empty stomach?
You must take nattokinase on an empty stomach only when taken as an oral supplement.
2. Can I take aspirin with nattokinase?
It is better not to, as the combination of nattokinase and aspirin may increase bleeding.