Nattokinase is an enzyme extracted from a popular Japanese food called natto. Natto is boiled soybeans fermented with a bacterium called Bacillus natto.
Nattokinase has been found to keep blood optimally flowing and promote cardiovascular health.
According to the research on this powerful enzyme, it can lower blood pressure, help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, help lower lipids, support optimal blood flow with its anticoagulant properties, and may even be neuroprotective.
Nattokinase has the unique ability to dissolve fibrin, a protein that helps our body form clots. As a result, as we age, we can experience an increase in blood viscosity or thickness. Too’ thick’ blood is more prone to clotting and doesn’t flow as easily through the blood vessels. This can increase blood pressure as the heart has to pump harder to circulate the same amount of blood. Nattokinase helps decrease blood viscosity, or thick, sludgy blood, and supports healthy blood flow.
Nattokinase has been associated with a decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
In 2008 a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial on nattokinase looked at 86 individuals with high blood pressure. They received nattokinase or a placebo for eight weeks. Seventy-three subjects completed the study, and those taking nattokinase significantly reduced blood pressure.
Nattokinase has been found to help with atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
In a 26-week study, 82 randomized volunteers took either 300 mg of nattokinase daily or 20 mg daily of the anti-cholesterol medication simvastatin.
In people taking nattokinase, the arterial wall thickness and the size of arterial plaques significantly decreased. For example, in the nattokinase group, plaque size decreased by 36.6% compared with only an 11.5% reduction in the simvastatin group.
An added benefit included that volunteers taking nattokinase showed significant reductions in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (bad cholesterol), and triglyceride. Unfortunately, at the same time, their high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (good cholesterol) increased.
Based on my review of the medical literature, adding nattokinase to a cardiovascular protocol has good value and may be life-saving.
It is suggested that nattokinase could be a good, healthy, functional food to improve blood flow.
People who take blood thinners, including warfarin, need to know that nattokinase may promote bleeding and easy bruising and should consult their doctor before taking it.