Nattokinase (nat-oh-KINE-ace or natto-KIN-ase) is an enzyme purified and extracted from the Japanese food known as natto. Natto is made by fermenting soybeans and eaten as a healthy, protein-rich food. The Japanese had long regarded natto as being 'good for the heart' but it wasn't until a researcher identified the nattokinase enzyme and discovered its benefits that these health claims gained some legitimacy.
Health Benefits of Nattokinase
Nattokinase is a fibrionolytic enzyme, that is, nattokinase is able to dissolve the protein (known as fibrin) that thickens blood and initiates the formation of a blood clot.1 Because it acts directly on the fibrin itself, nattokinase may be a newer, healthier type of 'blood thinner' relative to blood thinning drugs like coumadin. A major difference between nattokinase and blood thinning drugs is that the drugs interfere with the production of fibrin and due to this interference, blood thinning drugs have significant side-effects. Nattokinase acts upon the fibrin itself, which is a metabolic end-product. Nattokinase holds a lot of promise for certain types of circulatory problems but those with such disorders should work with their physician in determining the appropriateness of nattokinase.
Use as directed. The thickness or viscosity of blood, its clotting tendency and whether or not these are within normal range are all factors which can only be determined by your doctor. While nattokinase is safe for healthy people to use as a circulation aide, those considering using it in place of or in addition to blood thinners or other medications should work closely with their doctor.
Side-effects and Cautions:
Do not combine nattokinase with other blood thinning medications or aspirin, unless directed to do so by your doctor.