The Health Benefits of Nattokinase

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
Published on , Last Updated on

Nattokinase is a powerful proteolytic enzyme that has fibrinolytic health benefits. It is best known for its astounding fibrinolytic (anti-clotting) capacities. Perhaps its most supported use is in the area of cardiovascular health, where it helps to rejuvenate healthy fibrin metabolism and reduce blood clotting, thus making it an extremely powerful, all-natural enzymatic support which may aid in deterring both heart disease and stroke. Nattokinase has also been scientifically proven to offer relief from joint swelling.

As many of you know, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. As we age, fibrinogen levels rise (blood clotting potentials), and the enzymes that help dissolve these clots actually lower.

According to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more than 700,000 people have a stroke every year [1]. What is more, the American Heart Association states that almost every year, around 1 million people in the U.S. will have a heart attack. Many clinical studies also suggest that nattokinase may help prevent deep vein thrombus formation.

What is Nattokinase?

Traditionally, nattokinase was extracted from “natto” which is a fermented soy-based food found readily in Japanese cuisine and culture. The organism that produces nattokinase is made by a fermentation process which incorporates the bacteria Bacillus subtilis. It was discovered in Japan by research scientist Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi who was looking for a natural remedy for dissolving blood clots related to heart attacks and stroke.

How Does Nattokinase Work in the Body?

Nattokinase is a fibrinolytic protease, which by nature is an enzyme whose basic function is to hydrolyze proteins. Because proteins have a fairly complex organic amino acid structure, they require these types of enzymes to break protein molecules into absorbable and digestible amino acids.

Nattokinase has the distinct ability to break down the adhesive substance that makes arterial plaque very sticky. In this way, it supports a preventative and reversing effect on blood clotting and plaque build up in the arteries.

Every day human beings eat large amounts of foods that can lead to an increase in redness and unhealthy levels of cholesterol. This sets up a paradigm which puts humans are at high risk for blood clot, heart disease, and stroke. Nattokinase is one type of enzyme that can break down these clots by directly cleaving the bonds of the fibrin protein components and also by hastening the production of the body’s own fibrin buster (plasmin), without many of the negative side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.

Nattokinase can also break down unwanted wastes such as toxins, cellular debris in the blood, and undigested proteins in the gut. With the distinct ability to breakdown peptide bonds and liberate amino acids, proteolytic enzymes are now being studying by modern science and medicine for their clinical and therapeutic use in the realms of general oncology and overall immune wellness.

What Are The Health Benefits of Nattokinase?

As this enzyme has been used for over 1000 years and is firmly supported by scientific studies for its many health benefits. The following list offers some health benefits of supplementing with Nattokinase, as well some of the exciting research being done on Nattokinase, and its applications to human health and disease prevention/management:

  • It has been shown to stabilize and assist the gastrointestinal tract.
  • May help to normalize blood pressure
  • Aids in preventing blood clots from forming and aids in the natural dissolution of existing clots
  • Successfully dissolves fibrin and enhances the system’s natural ability to keep blood vessels clean
  • Increases the body’s natural production of plasmin as well as other important blood clot dissolving components, such as urokinase
  • May aid in the prevention of angina, stroke, varicose veins, muscle spasms and pain.
  • May help prevent heart attack and stroke – Studies have shown that Nattokinase helps break up and dissolve blood clots. In fact, research confirms that it holds four times more fibrinolytic activity than plasmin, the body’s natural anti-clotting agent.

How to Read the Units of Measurement for Nattokinase

When reading a supplement label which contains Nattokinase you may see the letters (FU) after the amount of nattokinase contained in the formula. One FU (Fibrinolytic Unit) is the measurement given for the enzyme. It comes from the Japanese Pharmacopeia, whereby one unit is defined as the amount of the enzyme, which increases the absorbency of the filtrate at 275 nm by 0.01 per minute under the conditions of the assay.

The “FCC” stands for Foods Chemical Codex, and is a division of USP (United States Pharmacopeia). It sets standards for ingredients. In the case of enzymes, FCC is a standard assay used to accurately determine the activity of enzymes. The current compendium is FCC VI. The FCC does this on microbial proteases, and it is based on a 30-minute hydrolysis of a hemoglobin substrate at pH 4.7 and 40 degrees celcius.

Where Can I Find The Best Source of Nattokinase?

The product VeganZyme® contains a 100% vegan form of Nattokinase produced by the natural fermentation process of Bacillus natto or Bacillus subtilis natto. It comes from all vegetarian, non-GMO sources, is kosher certified, gluten free, made in the USA, contains no animal product and is completely suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

VeganZyme is the most advanced full-spectrum systemic and digestive enzyme formula in the world and is free from fillers and toxic compounds. This formula contains digestive enzymes, which help digest fats (lipids), sugars, proteins, carbohydrates, gluten, fruits and vegetables, cereals, legumes, bran, nuts and seeds, soy, dairy, and all other food sources.

References (3)
  1. Center for Disease Control. Know the signs and symptoms of a stroke (PDF). Department of Health and Human Services. 2011 December.
  2. Sumi H, Hamada H, Nakanishi K, Hiratani H. Enhancement of the fibrinolytic activity in plasma by oral administration of nattokinase. Acta Haematol. 1990;84(3):139-43.
  3. Suzuki Y, Kondo K, Matsumoto Y, Zhao BQ, Otsuguro K, Maeda T, Tsukamoto Y, Urano T, Umemura K. Dietary supplementation of fermented soybean, natto, suppresses intimal thickening and modulates the lysis of mural thrombi after endothelial injury in rat femoral artery. Life Sci. 2003 Jul 25;73(10):1289-98.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • Andrea

    Please tell me what is the best diet while on nattokinase and if geen vegetables interefere with it’s action.

  • MBO

    Nattokinase destroys proteins in such way that causes ostheoporosis, decreases inmune system (because we need proteins to form antibodies against hamful bacterias) so it let you more susceptible to get chronical infections and to get angina.

    I bought Serrakor NK from Biomedic Labs for my mum, she started to take it, after three weeks, I noticed she was losing weight and height, she started to get infections and started with an angina she had never had. I did not know it was caused by nattokinase, after a wild she stopped taking it and she got better. Some months later, she started taking it again and the same simptoms, I could not belive it because I had read so much about nattokinase as a great supplement, so she continued taking it until she was really ill. No one talks about the dangers and the secondary effects of nattokinase in any blogs, they hide it and its really dangerous. I do not recommend it!!

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  • GoodGuyGoneBad

    Sheesh!?!?!? No replay to this? Thanks for sharing, I will do more research.

  • Grey

    You are making a hefty allegation against nattokinase. Can you share any evidence to support what you’re saying?

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  • Himmicane Ike Survivor TX

    I took Nattokinase to dissolve a uterine fibroid that was the size of a large grapefruit. I felt exhausted all the time as it seemed to sap my energy. I did not want to have a hysterectomy, which was recommended as the “only way” to get rid of a fibroid in someone of my age. I found a Nattokinase product and decided to try it first. In two days I felt so much better and was sleeping much better. I continued to take the Natto and in six months had an ultrasound. The big fibroid had shrunk down to the size of a marble. I continue to take Nattokinase as a preventative to the symptoms Dr. Group talks about in his excellent article.

  • John Gordash

    Anybody taking nattokinase who was taking warfarin due to Afb & had a valve replacement?

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  • David

    Just eat organic Natto. No need to supplement. Just eat real food that already has nattokinase in it.

  • Himmicane Ike Survivor TX

    I have no idea where to get organic natto.

  • Janice Wood

    I have been taking Nattokinase for about 3 weeks now and I have lost 6kgs without dieting. I did not expect that to happen. What I did expect was to have my blood pressure reduce and it sure did. It went from an unhealthy 200/100 to 114/58 (or thereabouts)… I am exceptionally happy with this product.

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  • James Maitland

    Yet you will take anything western med docs hand out, despite half of it being pretty much equal to rat poison. I think your allegations against Natto area pretty broad and are more your presumption that the substance caused your mom issues. think before you post.

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  • Jody Saunders

    I would like to share my own personal experience with Nattokinase and hope that it can bring the same relief to others as it has to me. After 24 years of severe Crohns disease that has included 14 abdominal surgeries and several times on tube feedings or on home TPN (Total Parental Nutrition I.V. feeding) my insides are a mess. Additionally I began reacting to any indwelling cathaters (picc lines) and had several blood clots, 2 of which broke off and caused pulmonary embolisms. My future was looking pretty bleak.
    A friend that owns a health food store taught me about Nattokinase and suggested it might eat some of the excessive scar tissue that was stricturing my intestines. I tried the Nattokinase and within a few weeks my stomach was calmer, less painful and I was able to eat a liquid and eventually partial solid diet. I have not only been able to sustain myself nutritionally for over 3 years now, I also have not had a single Crohns flare and have had less pain & bloating than I have had for many years.
    Unfortunately I was told to stop taking the Nattokinase about a month ago in preparation for a reverse arthoplasty shoulder surgery. I noticed a difference in my gut in less than two weeks. I am having much pain & nausea and feel like I have a partial obstruction or perhaps I am even flaring. My shoulder surgery has been postponed because of this.
    I do not know what exactly the Nattokinase did in my bowel….what I do know is it kept me in remission for 3 years and as soon as I am able to take it again, I will faithfully take Nattokinase for the rest of my life!
    -Jody Sanders ?

  • memyselfandeye

    A friend of mine has been taking Nattokinase instead of a pharmaceutical that was suggested. It’s been about 6 months now and it has not brought his blood pressure down. We never expected it to, even though that would have been a nice added benefit, so if it brought yours down, you are very fortunate. It has brought his platelets down so we know it’s working and he has had no side effects from taking it. He feels safer on it instead of taking the pharmaceutical, which he did take for some months until his cardiologist mentioned the nattokinase. He had a stroke a year ago, which is why he needed to be on some type of thinner. I started taking it now too, as my platelets are at the high end of the chart and I do have an extremely high cholesterol count.

  • memyselfandeye

    John G., as I commented above to Janice Wood, my friend had a stroke in Jan. 2016. Found out he had A fib. Doctor wanted him on a pharmaceutical blood thinner, which he went on for some months, but has now switched to nattokinase. His platelets have shown that his blood is thinned out. Unfortunately, he is cold all of the time, but he feels safer on the nattokinase . Have seen no side effects after being on it for about 6 months now. He has not had a valve replacement, as it sounds like you may have, or whoever you are writing about has had. All I know is, so far it seems to be working fine for him. I now started on it too, but I only take one a day. I’ll see if it changes my platelet count on my next blood test.

  • Josephine Hermans

    interesting. my mom had a stroke on christmas day of 2015. She is on Xanax, a blood thinner and they are now looking into doing a valve replacement. Did your friend safely just switch from the pharmaceutical to nattokinase cold turkey?

  • memyselfandeye

    He switched cold turkey. He was on Eliquis for six months and one day just switched it out to Nattokinase. I just looked up his information, as I chart out his meds and supplements in a notebook. He was on Eliquis on 8-14-16 and on 8-15-16 he started the Nattokinase. Unfortunately, because of his high blood pressure, which he has had for at least 30 years, his heart is enlarged. He is at high risk for a heart attack. His cardiologist has him on many blood-pressure meds, but he still runs high, which is still causing his heart to work harder than it should. But, it’s his own fault because he is overweight and doesn’t care. So, getting him off of Eliquis is at least one less drug. Now if I could just get him to lose some weight and be physically active, maybe he could get that pressure down and get off of some of those meds.

  • Julie W

    I have searched for some time to find out if Nattokinase can actually remove calcium from arteries. My thinking (and I could be wrong of course) is that proteolytic enzymes like Nattokinase and Serrapeptase remove protein, and calcium is a mineral.

    I would really like to hear other opinions on this, as the web is not really helping. I have been taking Nattokinase for a few years to prevent clots, but I now find I have calcium in a coronary artery. I have doubts that it can help in this situation.

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