Nattokinase and the "Heart" of the Issue

Posted by Joe Carr, ND on Feb 23rd 2021

One of the most asked about supplements I receive is about nattokinase. If everyone is asking about it, why are you not familiar with it? Surprisingly, most people aren't.

Technically speaking, it is an enzyme that is purified and extracted from the bacterium Bacillus subtiliis, a traditional fermented food from Japan made from fermented soybeans and known as "natto." What is significant from a health benefits perspecitve is the way it is made. The bacterium Bacillus natto is added to boiled soybeans and the bacteria try to digest the soybeans by secreting the enzyme. It is this potent fibrinolytic--or popularly called “clot-busting”—-activity that breaks down fibrinogen, a component of blood clots and atherosclerotic plaque. Elevated fibrinogen levels are a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease and there is a stronger association between cardiovascular deaths and fibrinogen levels than for cholesterol.

Other studies of nattokinase in the cardiovascular arena have yielded:

  • Reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol and increases HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Reduces blood viscosity, improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure
  • Improves blood vessel health resulting in reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure

Recently, nattokinase has been shown to have an impact on persistent sinus conditions. Chronic nasal and sinus inflammation, or chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), is one of the most common chronic diseases in adults. It is characterized by persistent symptomatic inflammation of the nasal mucosa and sinuses. The recent study indicates that the enzyme is an effective manner to address these symptoms by helping in the breakdown, or thinning, of mucus and the resulting inflammation. Natural health proponent Dr. Michael Murray says nattokinase has the ability to produce powerful effects to improve CRS, far better than conventional drugs.

Because nattokinse has an effect similar to bromelain and serrapeptidase, it is being examined as being useful in conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis and sinusitis.

The typical dosage for nattokinase is 100 mg (2,000 FU) once or twice daily. If you are concerned about the soy it contains, remember that natto is fermented soy and fermentation removes the problems associated with eating raw or cooked soy. When soy is fermented, it neutralizes the harmful effects on your hormones. But more importantly, what you get in a supplement is not the food derived from fermenting soy (natto), but nattokinase, the purified enzyme extracted from natto. In other words, there’s virtually no soy left in nattokinase. Just be sure to look for a brand that uses non-GMO Nattokinase since most soy is genetically modified.

A final note of caution: if you are taking Coumadin or anti-platelet drugs (including aspirin, but especially drugs like Plavix or Ticlid), be aware that nattokinase may increase bleeding tendencies.