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Nattokinase Benefits and Dangers

Nattokinase, is an enzyme that is extracted from the fermented soy food called natto. Nattokinase was discovered over 20 years ago by Japanese researcher Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi at Chicago University after testing 173 different types of food in search of an alternative to warfarin to help reduce the effect of blood clots on blood circulation. Natto is produced by a fermentation process by adding Bacillus natto, a benefical bacteria, to boiled soybeans.

Nattokinase Benefits and Studies

Evidence suggests that Nattokinase may be an effective dietary approach for supporting healthy blood flow, thereby promoting circulatory and cardiovascular health. Nattokinase has the distinct ability to breaks down the adhesive substance that makes arterial plaque very sticky. In heart attacks, stroke, thrombosis, and embolism, nattokinase destroys existing blood clots in the blood vessels. Natto has been involved in numerous studies, and the results show that it has the most potent oral fibrinolytic activity of over 200 foods tested. In this trial, 73 subjects received either nattokinase containing 2,000 FU per capsule or placebo for eight weeks. The treatment group demonstrated a significantly greater improvement in heart health compared with placebo group.

Blood Thinners

Nattokinase enhances the body’s natural ability to fight blood clots and has an advantage over blood thinners because it has a prolonged effect without side effects.  Nattokinase was shown to reduce the aggregation of red blood cells in vitro in a study done at the ‘University of Los Angeles in California‘. Researchers from JCR Pharmaceuticals, Oklahoma State University and Miyazaki Medical College conducted a further study in which 12 volunteers were given 200 mg of nattokinase and then tracked their fibrinolytic activity through a series of blood plasma tests. The subjects exhibited a heightened ability to dissolve blood clots for 2 to 8 hours. A study reported in the 2010 edition of the Acta Haematologica found that nattokinase decreased blood-clot formation in animals.

Nattokinase is a fibrinolytic protease , which by nature is an enzyme whose basic function is to hydrolyze proteins. Natto acts much like plasmin, the only enzyme produced by the human body that breaks down fibrin. In vitro studies have shown that nattokinase is a more potent fibrinolytic agent than plasmin. A major difference between nattokinase and blood thinning drugs is that the drugs interfere with the production of fibrin and due to this interference, blood thinning drugs have significant side-effects. Nattokinase acts upon the fibrin itself, which is a metabolic end-product.

Blood Pressure

Various clinical studies indicate that natto is capable of lowering the body’s blood pressure through the use of inhibiting ACE or angiotensin-converting enzyme. Nattokinase dissolves existing thrombus by dissolving the fibrin that binds platelets together. Human volunteers with high blood pressure were given 30 grams of natto extract, orally for 4 consecutive days. In 4 out of 5 volunteers, the systolic blood pressure decreased on average from 173.8 to 154.8. Diastolic blood pressure decreased on average from 101.0 to 91.2. Because nattokinase is natural and safe, it has become a popular choice over other medications used to lower blood pressure.

Alzheimer’s Disease

The nattokinase in natto is believed to have the ability to degrade amyloid fibris. Studies reveal that nattokinase has the ability to dissolve the amyloid deposits that are believed to be responsible for causing Alzheimer’s disease. The build-up of plaque from beta-amyloid deposits is associated with an increase in brain cell damage and death from oxidative stress. The enzyme has the ability to dissolve amyloid fibrils, which build up as plaque in the brain and can lead to brain cell damage.

How to Use Nattokinase?

Nattokinase Dosage Information: A common standard is 2,000 FUs per day, which is usually one or two capsules. 4,000 FU daily has been used in some clinical studies as well. The recommended dosage for nattokinase is one capsule in the morning, one capsule in the afternoon and two capsules at bedtime.

Nattokinase Dangers

Natural nattokinase or nattokinase supplements are generally safe for use. Nattokinase shouldn’t be used by people with bleeding disorders, or by people who are taking coumadin, aspirin, or any other drug that influences blood clotting. Since this dietary supplement contains a large amount of K vitamin, it will reduce the effectiveness of your medications such as coumadin, which will certainly slow down the improvement of your overall health condition. Recently, a case of a cerebral hemorrhage provoked by combined use of nattokinase and aspirin in a 52-year old woman with cerebral bleeds has been reported. Those who have suffered from intracranial bleeding, or who have nueral surgery or ischemic stroke in the last six months should not take Nattokinase. Those who have a history of heart disease, ulcers, stroke, or have had a surgery in the recent past should avoid consuming nattokinase.

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