Nattokinase is an enzyme (a protein that speeds up biochemical reactions) that is extracted from a popular Japanese food called natto. Natto is boiled soybeans that have been fermented with a bacterium called Bacillus natto.
Natto has been used as a folk remedy for diseases of the heart and circulatory system (cardiovascular disease) for hundreds of years. Nattokinase, the chemical in natto that is probably responsible for its effects, was discovered by a University of Chicago researcher, Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi.

You won’t find nattokinase in soy foods other than natto, since nattokinase is produced through the specific fermentation process used to make natto.

Nattokinase is used for cardiovascular diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, chest pain (angina), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), hemorrhoids, varicose veins, poor circulation, and peripheral artery disease (PAD).
It is also used for pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, muscle spasms, infertility, cancer, and a vitamin-deficiency disease called beriberi. Nattokinase decreases the ability of blood to clot. This "thins the blood" and might protect against conditions caused by blood clots such as stroke, heart attack, and others.

What is Nattokinase ?
Nattokinase is an enzyme found in Nattō, a popular Japanese cheese made from fermented soybeans. This enzyme has been found to dissolve blood clots. Clots that form inside a blood vessel in the absence of a wound may restrict the blood flow and lead to heart attack or stroke. Nattokinase can diminish this risk.

According to legend, about a thousand years ago, the warrior Minamoto no Yoshiie found and tasted boiled soybeans that had been left on straw and had fermented. That was the discovery of Nattō. It is believed that by the end of the Edo period (1603-1867), Nattō had become a regular part of Japanese cuisine in some areas. It is no secret that the Japanese live longer, have less cardiovascular disease and are not affected by heart attack and stroke as frequently as people in the Western world. Many now believe that Nattō has been the secret to their well-being.

In 1980 Japanese researcher Hiroyuki Sumi accidentally discovered thatNattō had the ability to dissolve blood clots. He then set out to isolate the enzyme within Nattō primarily responsible for this clot busting ability. He purified and isolated the enzyme, which he called nattokinase, literally Nattō enzyme ( Interview with Doctor of Medicine Hiroyuki Sumi, Japan Bio Science Laboratory Co., Ltd., 1998).

How it is made?
In the past, bundles made from rice straw were filled with steamed beans and then stored in a warm, humid environment. This resulted in fermentation by Bacillus Nattō,a bacterium that lives in rice straw. During fermentation, proteins and glucide contained in the soybeans decompose, generating the distinctive Nattō strings, which can stretch up to 20 feet.

Nowadays,Nattō is mass-produced in automated factories, where steamed soybeans are sprayed with the ideal amount of Bacillus Nattō.The beans are then transferred to small containers by machine. A conveyor moves them to storage, where preset temperature and humidity levels allow the beans to ferment and mature.

Benefits / uses
Thrombolytic Effect

This dietary supplement has the ability to eliminate thrombus (clotting) in the body by dissolving a substance known as fibrin, which is responsible in binding the platelets together.

The healthy food natto contains beneficial properties that work almost similar to plasmin, an enzyme that the body naturally produces which helps eliminate fibrin. As people grow older, the body’s production of plasmin decreases. If plasmin is insufficient in the body, it will be more likely that you will have a higher risk from suffering blood clotting, which can lead the development of many threatening medical conditions.

This is the cogent reason why plasmin is very important. To help you with this, Nattokinase can be a very useful supplement to replace the lost plasmin in your body so as to maintain it healthy. Aside from improving the body’s plasmin production, it also helps increase other valuable blood clotting eliminators such as urokinase (endogenous). This is certainly one of the best Nattokinase benefits.

Normalize Blood Pressure
This beneficial supplement is found to help lower and normalize the body’s 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.

ACE can cause the body’s blood vessels to become inelastic and narrow, which in turn increases the body’s blood pressure leading to hypertension. With the use of this dietary supplement, it will inhibit ACE thus preventing blood pressure to get higher.

Anti-Aging Effects
Since this dietary supplement is rich in protein, it can be very useful in keeping the skin healthy so as to look younger for a considerable amount of time. Aside from that, Nattokinase also contain highs amount of vitamin K2, which is a natural and potent anti-aging agent that helps improve the overall health condition of the skin of an individual.

Improves Blood Circulation
One of the most valuable Nattokinase benefits is that it is capable of improving the body’s blood circulation, which will greatly help various vital organs to function normally. To increase blood flow, this dietary supplement will also help prevent the narrowing and hardening of arteries.

Prevents Osteoporosis
Since this dietary supplement is rich in K2 vitamin, it can greatly help to prevent osteoporosis from developing as well as from further worsening. This can be a useful tool for those individuals who have a higher risk from acquiring this disturbing medical condition.

Prevents Heart Disease
This supplement has the ability to act as a natural and effective blood thinner in the body, which enables the blood to freely flow throughout the arteries so as to supply the vital organs sufficiently. Aside from this, it can also be very useful in preventing plaque from developing in the complex arteries, which in turn reduces your risk from arterial clotting.

Lowers Cholesterol
As an excellent blood thinner, this dietary supplement becomes a valuable agent in reducing the body’s cholesterol levels. This will greatly help those individuals to reduce their risks from suffering health complications associated from excessive cholesterol levels.

Other Valuable Nattokinase Benefits

arw Helps improve bone density
arw Helps alleviate migraine headaches
arw Helps alleviate muscle and joint pain
arw Helps prevent cholera, dysentery and typhoid
arw Helps prevent thrombotic clogging in the cerebral vessels
arw Helps prevent thrombotic diseases such as cerebral infraction, angina pectoris, hemorrhoids, cerebral hemorrhage and cardiac infraction.
arw Helps make the hair healthier
arw Helps prevent alopecia or hair loss
arw Helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease to develop
The appropriate dose of nattokinase depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions.

Possible Side effects / Precautions / Possible Interactions:
Nattokinase is LIKELY SAFE when used in amounts commonly found in foods. Nattokinase is a natural component of the soy food natto. It has been routinely consumed in Japanese cultures for hundreds of years.
The safety of taking nattokinase in the larger medicinal amounts isn’t known. Taking two doses of a specific product containing nattokinase (Flite Tabs) seems to be safe. But it is not known if taking more than two doses is safe.

Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of nattokinase during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Bleeding disorders: Nattokinase seems to act like a “clot thinner” and might make bleeding disorders worse. Use with caution.

Surgery: Nattokinase might increase the chance of bleeding too much during or after surgery. Stop taking it at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with NATTOKINASE
Nattokinase can decrease blood clotting. Taking nattokinase along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

Research studies / References
Interview with Doctor of Medicine Hiroyuki Sumi, Japan Bio Science Laboratory Co., Ltd., 1998.
Montalescot, G. et al. “Fibrinogen as a risk factor for coronary heart disease.” Eur Heat J 1998 19 Suppl H:H11-17).
Sumi, H. et al. “A novel fibrinolytic enzyme (Nattokinase) in the vegetable cheese Nattō….” Experientia 1987, 43:1110-11.
Maruyama M, Sumi H. Effect of Nattō Diet on Blood Pressure. JTTAS, 1995.
Sumi H. Healthy Microbe "Bacillus Nattō". Japan Bio Science Laboratory Co. Ltd.
Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke with Potent Enzyme that Dissolves Deadly Blood Clots in Hours. Health Sciences Institute, March 2002.
Cesarone MR et al.: Prevention of venous thrombosis in long-haul flights with Flite Tabs: The LONG-FLITE randomized, controlled trial. Angiology 2003;54:T1-T9.