Nattokinase is an enzyme that is extracted from a popular Japanese food called natto. Natto is boiled soybeans that have been fermented with a bacterium called Bacillus natto.
Nattokinase has been found to keep blood optimally flowing and promotes 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 we age, we can experience an increase in blood viscosity or thickness. Blood that is too ‘thick’ 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 had a significant reduction in 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 every day of the anti-cholesterol medication simvastatin.
In people taking nattokinase, both the arterial wall thickness, and the size of arterial plaques significantly decreased. 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 while at the same time their of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (good cholesterol) increased.
Based on my review of the medical literature, adding nattokinase to a cardiovascular protocol has promising value and may in fact be life-saving.
It is suggested that nattokinase could be a good health functional food for the improvement of blood flow.