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Veterinarian Reviewed on June 14, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
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Nattokinase is an enzyme from a traditional Japanese food called natto which is made from fermented soybeans. The fermentation process is done by adding the bacteria Bacillus natto. Nattokinase is produced when the bacteria reacts with the soybeans. Natto is the only Japanese food, or any food for that matter, that contains this beneficial enzyme.

Nattokinase is widely used in Japanese alternative medicine as a treatment for blood clots or as a blood thinner. It is marketed as a medicinal product named Lexirin that is used to prevent cell damage, treat gastrointestinal diseases, treat a variety of skin disorders and also for boosting up a person’s immune system.

History and Origin

Nattokinase is 100% Japanese in origin and it is still widely eaten as a common breakfast food in Japan called natto. Natto is made by boiling soybeans and making it ferment by adding healthy bacteria. Nattokinase is produced during the fermentation process and natto is made. This traditional Japanese food is similar to cheese in consistency and smell.

Ancient Uses

Natto has been eaten as a breakfast food for many centuries now in Japan. The popularity of natto and Nattokinase has just recently hit the medicinal market when new technologies in fermentation and purification process were introduced.

Modern Uses

Today’s modern times have given way for Nattokinase to expand its market to include not just people from Japan, but for the rest of the world as well. New developments in fermentation and purification have commercialized Nattokinase into dietary supplements in the form of tablets and capsules.

It is well accepted as a therapeutic remedy for the treatment of blood clots and to prevent blood clots from occuring in the future. It purifies and dissolves abnormal blood clots and embolus that may cause acute heart attack and stroke. Emboli are also a significant factor in some capillary disorders as well as an increase in blood pressure and the use of Nattokinase may significantly decrease your possibility in having a heart attack or a stroke. Nattokinase supplements may prevent the formation of emboli and plaque in the arterial wall that may also cause heart attacks. Aside from dissolving blood clots, Nattokinase is also useful in many gastrointestinal disorders such as stomach pain, diarrhea and gas formation. There are also studies that link Nattokinase to the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. There are also some mild to moderate dermatological conditions that Nattokinase can cure and aside from these, it is also beneficial in the treatment of immune deficiency disorders.

Side Effects

The side effects of Nattokinase is not yet known but since it has a direct effect on the consistency of blood, it is therefore important for people who have bleeding disorders to consult their doctor regarding the use of Nattokinase supplements for their illness. Excessive bleeding and bruising may occur if dosage is not monitored properly. Nattokinase is contraindicated in pregnant and breastfeeding women. It is also important to ask your doctor for any adverse effects of Nattokinase with your current medication. Since many Nattokinase supplements contain a high level of Vitamin K it may decrease the therapeutic effect of the drug Coumadin.

Read also: Black Walnut Hulls

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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