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what are the benefits of nattokinase

What Are the Benefits of Nattokinase?

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What are the benefits of nattokinase, and why do people take this supplement? Nattokinase is an enzyme from soybeans that may help with certain cardiovascular conditions. It’s something we explore below. First, some of our picks for the best nattokinase supplements include:

What is Nattokinase?

Nattokinase is an enzyme that’s found in natto. Natto is a Japanese breakfast food that’s made from fermented soybeans. The process of fermentation involves the bacterium Bacillus subtillis natto. It’s the only way to produce nattokinase, which is then put into tablets and capsules. In Japan, you can find it in a powdered form.

Nattokinase has a long history in folk medicine treating cardiovascular conditions and diseases.

What Are the Benefits of Nattokinase?

Nattokinase, as a supplement, is thought to support healthy blood flow. In research, it’s been shown to replicate and enhance the activity of something called plasmin, an enzyme that promotes healthy blood clotting. Nattokinase may also help support healthy blood pressure.

One of the most significant benefits of nattokinase is that it dissolves fibrin as an enzyme. Fibrin is a protein that leads to the formation of blood clots, and the process of dissolving blood clots is known as fibrinolysis.

More specifically, below, we answer, “what are the benefits of nattokinase,”

  • In 1980 a team of researchers at the Chicago University Medical School observed that natto was effective at dissolving blood clots in their lab. The enzyme responsible for the anticoagulant effect was nattokinase, and that research led to the understanding that it can improve blood circulation.
  • Deep vein thrombosis is a medical term to describe a blood clot in the deep vein—typically the leg. It affects older people more often, and obese people, along with individuals with underlying circulatory issues. In a study from 2015 in Scientific Reports, taking a 100 mg oral dose of nattokinase was able to break down fibrin more effectively than a placebo. The nattokinase acted as a powerful blood thinner and reduced the concentration of factor VIII, a blood-clotting protein.
  • Atherosclerosis is when the arteries harden, and a buildup of fatty plaque on the arterial walls causes the condition. A study from China in 2018 found that taking a 150-mg dose of nattokinase over 26 weeks led to a 36.6% decrease in arterial plaque. It also increased levels of good cholesterol more than the prescription simvastatin.
  • Brain health and cardiovascular diseases are closely related. Nattokinase, according to research from recent years, may have neuroprotective properties. Those properties could slow disease progression in people who have an ischemic stroke. A study from 2015 in the journal Stroke said that nattokinase improved blood flow to the brain after a stroke. Lab mice were injected with three doses of nattokinase before a stroke was induced, and researchers found smaller vessels in the brain stayed unblocked. This effectively limited the spread of tissue damage.
  • Nattokinase can lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. This may be because it inhibits ACE. Many of the medications that treat hypertension work in the same way.
  • Along with helping dissolve blood clots, nattokinase can prevent the aggregation of platelets, which can help suppress the initial formation of blood clots. Nattokinase may also reduce red blood cell aggregation and lower blood viscosity.
  • The neuroprotective benefits of nattokinase are being studied right now. Nattokinase has been shown to have the ability to degrade another type of protein—amyloid fibrils. This is deposited in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

What About Nattokinase for Cancer?

Increasingly, when talking about the benefits of nattokinase, there is the suggestion that it could benefit people with cancer. The reason that some people promote it as an alternative cancer treatment is that it’s thought to be able to dissolve the fibrin coating that surrounds tumors. Nattokinase might also increase the oxygen supply in the blood to prevent the growth of cancer cells.

This is an exciting study area, but more research needs to be done on nattokinase and cancer.

Final Thoughts

Nattokinase is an interesting supplement with many benefits as far as blood clotting, brain health, and potentially even cancer.

We should note that nattokinase isn’t for everyone, though. For example, if you have low blood pressure or take blood thinners, you should avoid nattokinase. If you have concerns or questions, speak to your healthcare provider because this isn’t medical advice.

Sources

  1. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/nattokinase
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6043915/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5372539/

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