Nattokinase is a potent fibrinolytic enzyme extracted and highly purified
from a traditional Japanese food called Natto. Natto is a fermented food that
has been used in Japan for over 1000 years in food recipes and as a folk remedy
for heart and vascular diseases. Natto is produced by adding Bacillus natto,
a beneficial bacterium, to boiled soybeans. Nattokinase enzyme is made when
Bacillus natto ferments the boiled soybeans. While other soy foods contain enzymes,
only natto supplies Nattokinase.
Doctor Hiroyuki Sumi searched for a natural agent that could successfully dissolve blood clots associated with heart attacks and stroke. Dr Sumi discovered Nattokinase in 1980 while working as a researcher at Chicago University Medical School. Blood clots (or thrombi) form when strands of protein called fibrin accumulate in a blood vessel. After testing over 173 natural foods Dr Sumi found that when Natto was dropped onto fibrin the clot around the natto dissolved gradually and had completely dissolved within 18 hours. Dr. Sumi named the newly discovered enzyme "Nattokinase", which means "enzyme in natto". Dr Sumi commented that Nattokinase displayed "a potency matched by no other enzyme."
Our body produces several types of enzymes for making blood clots, but only one main enzyme for breaking it down and dissolving it – called plasmin. The properties of Nattokinase closely resemble plasmin. According to Dr. Martin Milner, from the Center for Natural Medicine in Portland in Oregon, what makes Nattokinase a particularly potent treatment, is that it enhances the body's natural ability to fight blood clots. Nattokinase achieves this 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. Urokinase is an enzyme released by the kidneys that triggers plasmin formation and plasmin dissolves the clots. "In some ways, Milner says, Nattokinase is actually superior to conventional clot-dissolving drugs. T-PAs (tissue plasminogen activators) like urokinase (the drug), 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."
Nattokinase produces a prolonged action in two ways (unlike antithrombin drugs
that wear off shortly after treatment is discontinued): it prevents coagulation
of blood and it dissolves existing clots. The activity of Nattokinase has been
determined to last from 8 to 12 hours. 6,7 In the heart, blood clots cause a
blockage of blood flow, and because the oxygen supply to that tissue is cut
off heart muscle tissue eventually dies. This can result in angina and heart
attacks. Clots in chambers of the heart can travel to the brain. In the brain,
blood clots also block blood and oxygen from reaching necessary areas, which
can result in senility and/or stroke.
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 (clotting). 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 clotting conditions virtually anywhere in the body. 1Some of the studies of Nattokinase;
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.
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 and 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.