Nattokinase: smart heart food
A great food derivative for those have had heart attacks and strokes due to clotting
What Is Nattokinase?
Nattokinase is a potent clot dissolving substance
(an enzyme) extracted from a traditional Japanese food called
Natto. It is produced by a fermentation process after adding
Bacillus natto, a friendlyl bacteria, to boiled soybeans. This
produces a fermented cheese-like food that has been used in
Japan for over 1000 years for its popular taste and as a folk
remedy for heart and vascular diseases. It contains nattokinase
enzyme, a great clot buster that may be even superior to current
drugs, such as Warfarin and Urokinase.
The Discovery of Nattokinase
Doctor Hiroyuki Sumi had long searched for a
natural agent that could successfully dissolve thrombus associated
with cardiac and cerebral infarction (blood clots associated
with heart attacks and stroke). Sumi discovered nattokinase
in 1980 while working as a researcher and majoring in physiological
chemistry at Chicago University Medical School. After testing
over 173 natural foods for clot-dissolvingpotential, Sumi found
what he was looking for when Natto was dropped onto artificial
clot (thrombus) in a Petri dish and allowed it to stand at 37
C (approximately body temperature). The thrombus around the
natto dissolved gradually and had completely dissolved within
18 hours. Sumi named the newly discovered enzyme “nattokinase”,
which means “enzyme in natto”.
Potent Thrombolytic Activity
The human body produces several types of enzymes
for making thrombus, but only one main enzyme for breaking it
down and dissolving it – plasmin. The properties of nattokinase
closely resemble plasmin. According to Dr. Martin Milner, from
the Center for Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon, what makes
nattokinase a particularly potent treatment, is that it enhances
the body’s natural ability to fight blood clots in several different
ways; Because it so closely resembles plasmin, it dissolves
fibrin directly. In addition, it also enhances the body’s production
of both plasmin and other clot-dissolving agents, including
urokinase (endogenous). “In some ways, Milner says, nattokinase
is actually superior to conventional clot-dissolving drugs,
which are only effective when taken intravenously and often
fail simply because a stroke or heart attack victim’s arteries
have hardened beyond the point where they can be treated by
any other clot-dissolving agent. Nattokinase, however, can help
prevent that hardening with an oral dose of as little as 100
mg a day.” 1,7
The Prolonged Action of Nattokinase
Nattokinase produces a prolonged action (unlike
antithrombin drugs that wear off shortly after IV treatment
is discontinued) in two ways: it prevents coagulation of blood
and it dissolves existing thrombus. Activity of NK has been
determined to last from 8 to 12 hours.
The Mechanism Behind Thrombus
Blood clots (or thrombi) form when strands of
protein called fibrin accumulate in a blood vessel. In the heart,
blood clots cause blockage of blood flow to muscle tissue. If
blood flow is blocked, the oxygen supply to that tissue is cut
off and it eventually dies. This can result in angina and heart
attacks. Clots in chambers of the heart can mobilize to the
brain. In the brain, blood clots also block blood and oxygen
from reaching necessary areas, which can result in senility
Thrombolytic enzymes are normally generated in
the endothelial cells of the blood vessels. As the body ages,
production of these enzymes begins to decline, making blood
more prone to coagulation. This mechanism can lead to cardiac
or cerebral infarction, as well as other conditions. Since endothelial
cells exist throughout the body, such as in the arteries, veins
and lymphatic system, poor production of thrombolytic enzymes
can lead to the development of thrombotic conditions virtually
anywhere in the body.
It has recently been revealed that thrombotic
clogging of the cerebral blood vessels may be a cause of dementia.
It has been estimated that sixty percent of senile dementia
patients in Japan is caused by thrombus. Thrombotic diseases
typically include cerebral hemorrhage, cerebral infarction,
cardiac infarction and angina pectoris, and also include diseases
caused by blood vessels with lowered flexibility, including
senile dementia and diabetes (caused by pancreatic dysfunction).
Hemorrhoids are considered a local thrombotic condition. If
chronic diseases of the capillaries are also considered, then
the number of thrombus related conditions may be much higher.
Cardiac infarction patients may have an inherent imbalance in
that their thrombolytic enzymes are weaker than their coagulant
enzymes. Nattokinase holds great promise to support patients
with such inherent weaknesses in a convenient and consistent
manner, without side effects.
Nattokinase is capable of directly and potently
decomposing fibrin as well as activating pro-urokinase (endogenous).
Research In The United States
Dr. Martin Milner of the Center for Natural Medicine
in Portland, Oregon and Dr. Kouhei Makise of the Imadeqawa Makise
Clinica in Kyoto, Japan were able to launch a joint research
project on nattokinase and write an extensive paper on their
findings. “In all my years of research as a professor of
cardiovascular and pulmonary medicine, natto and nattokinase
represents the most exciting new development in the prevention
and treatment of cardiovascular related diseases,” Dr.
Milner said. “We have finally found a potent natural agent
that can thin and dissolve clots effectively, with relative
safety and without side effects.” 1
Animal & Human Studies
Nattokinase has been the subject of 17 studies,
including two small human trials.
Dr. Sumi and his colleagues induced blood clots
in male dogs, then orally administered either four capsules
of nattokinase (250 mg per capsule) or four placebo capsules
to each dog. Angiograms (X-rays of blood vessels) revealed that
the dogs who received nattokinase regained normal blood circulation
(free of the clot) within five hours of treatment. Blood clots
in the dogs who received only placebo showed no sign of dissolving
in the 18 hours following treatment.1
Researchers from Biotechnology Research Laboratories
and JCR Pharmaceuticals Co. of Kobe, Japan, tested nattokinase’s
ability to dissolve a thrombus in the carotid arteries of rats.
Animals treated with nattokinase regained 62% of blood flow,
whereas those treated with plasmin regained just 15.8 percent
of blood flow.
Researchers from JCR Pharmaceuticals, Oklahoma
State University, and Miyazaki Medical College tested nattokinase
on 12 healthy Japanese volunteers (6 men and 6 women, between
the ages of 21 and 55). They gave the volunteers 200 grams of
natto (the food) before breakfast, then tracked fibrinolytic
activity through a series of blood plasma tests. The tests indicated
that the natto generated a heightened ability to dissolve blood
clots: On average, the volunteers’ ELT (a measure of how long
it takes to dissolve a blood clot) dropped by 48 percent within
two hours of treatment, and volunteers retained an enhanced
ability to dissolve blood clots for 2 to 8 hours. As a control,
researchers later fed the same amount of boiled soybeans to
the same volunteers and tracked their fibrinolytic activity.
The tests showed no significant change.
The Benefits of Nattokinase on Blood Pressure
Traditionaly in Japan, Natto has been consumed
not only for cardiovascular support, but also to lower blood
pressure. In recent years, this traditional belief has been
confirmed by several clinical trials. In 1995, researchers from
Miyazaki Medical College and Kurashiki University of Science
and Arts in Japan studied the effects of nattokinase on blood
pressure in both animal and human subjects. In addition, the
researchers confirmed the presence of inhibitors of angiotensin
converting enzyme (ACE), which converts angiotensin I to its
active form angiotensin II within the test extract, which consisted
of 80% ethanol extract of lyophilized viscous materials of natto.
ACE causes blood vessels to narrow and blood pressure to rise
– by inhibiting ACE, nattokinase has a lowering effect on blood
The traditional Japanese food Natto has been
used safely for over 1000 years. The potent fibrinolytic enzyme
nattokinase appears to be safe based upon the long-term traditional
use of this food. Nattokinase has many benefits including convenience
of oral administration, confirmed efficacy, prolonged effects,
cost effectiveness, and can be used preventatively. It is a
naturally occurring, food based dietary supplement that has
demonstrated stability in the gastrointestinal tract, as well
as to changes in pH and temperature.
These statements have not been evaluated by the
Food and Drug Administration.
This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent