Nattokinase is an enzyme found in the Japanese dish natto and extracted from it.
Natto is a traditional dish made by fermenting soybeans. During the fermentation, the bacterium Bacillus subtilis (hay bacillus) is used, which plays a decisive role in the development of nattokinase.
The enzyme was discovered by the Japanese researcher Dr. Hiroyuki discovered Sumi, who was looking for a natural remedy for blood clots.
Health uses of nattokinase:
- With heart disease
- Against high blood pressure
- Against strokes
- Against angina
- With thrombosis
- Against arteriosclerosis
- Against hemorrhoids
- For circulatory disorders
- Against infertility
- For chronic fatigue syndrome
How does nattokinase work?
Nattokinase is a fibrinolytic peptidase. This means that it is involved in the body’s own dissolution of blood clots.
Peptidases are enzymes that can break down proteins. These often have a complex chemical structure. Peptidases break down the protein structure and turn it into more digestible amino acids.
Nattokinase is so advantageous because, as a peptidase, it specifically breaks down those substances (so-called fibrin) that allow deposits to adhere to the arteries.
As a result, the enzyme has a preventive and curative effect on blood clots and deposits in the arteries.
Unhealthy diets and lifestyles are causing the cholesterol levels of more and more people to skyrocket. This increases the risk of heart disease, strokes and blood clots.
As an enzyme, nattokinase can break down these blood clots and also stimulates the production of plasmin.
Plasmin breaks down the fibrin polymers that hold the blood clot together into small fibrin breakdown products, and the clot breaks down.
Nattokinase can also break down debris, toxins, undigested substances and similar substances.
Because of these effects and the minor side effects, proteolytic enzymes are now increasingly the subject of medical investigations.
Effects and uses for health
Natto has also been valued for its health benefits for around 1200 years.
Nattokinase has been the subject of numerous scientific studies since the 1980s.
Below we have compiled a small list of all the health effects associated with the enzyme:
- Stabilization and support of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Suspected harmonizing effect on blood pressure. 
- Helps break down fibrin and thus supports the body in keeping blood vessels clean. 
- Prevents blood clots and helps break down existing clots.
- Presumed prophylactic against strokes and heart disease.
- Increases the body’s own production of plasmin and other substances that dissolve blood clots.
If nattokinase is ingested through foods such as natto, there is a high probability that side effects are unlikely. As a traditional Japanese dish, natto has been consumed with no known risks for centuries.
According to the current state of knowledge, no side effects are to be expected with nattokinase as a medical agent or as a nutritional supplement.
In one study, 400mg of the enzyme was taken daily with aspirin. The study group consisted of subjects who had survived a stroke. There was a cerebral haemorrhage in one case.
The exact cause is unknown, but this confirms the well-known warning that one should not take two blood thinners at the same time.
- Pregnant / breastfeeding mothers: At the moment too little is known about the risks.
- Blood clotting disorder: As blood-thinning effects are expected, the symptoms of patients with bleeding disorders could worsen.
- Patients before operations: Due to the blood-thinning effect, the bleeding during operations could become too heavy. The intake should therefore be suspended for at least two weeks before operations.