Blood clots happen for various reasons – from sitting for too long on a flight to genetic factors or certain medical conditions. While our body has a complex blood clotting process to heal wounds, sometimes this process goes awry, leading to dangerous clots in the veins or arteries. Mainstream blood thinning medication comes with side effects and may not be suitable for everyone. This is where nattokinase, a natural enzyme derived from fermented soybeans, offers an alternative solution.
Nattokinase is an enzyme extracted from a popular Japanese dish called natto, which contains soybeans fermented by the bacterium Bacillus subtilis. Research shows this enzyme has potent fibrinolytic activity, meaning it breaks down fibrinogen in the blood. Fibrinogen is a soluble protein used by thrombin during coagulation to form clots. These fibrin clots make up the structural framework that traps red blood cells and platelets to stop bleeding. But, when they occur in vessels and organs, it blocks circulation, causing heart attacks, strokes, and other serious concerns. By binding to fibrinogen and plasminogen, nattokinase enhances the body’s production of plasmin and other enzymes to dissolve fibrin and inhibit thrombus formation. In other words, it is a natural blood thinner.
- Inhibiting platelet aggregation – Overaggregation can lead to excess clotting. Research shows nattokinase may inhibit platelet aggregation and enhance fibrinolysis.
- Improving blood flow – By breaking down fibrin and thinning the blood, nattokinase may improve circulation and oxygenation of organs and tissues.
- Preventing blood clots – Studies suggest daily intake can help deter blood clot formation in vessels.
- Dissolving existing clots – Its potent fibrinolytic actions help dissolve clots before they become dangerous.
These vasoprotective and antithrombotic properties lower risk factors for life-threatening cardiovascular events like heart attack, stroke, and pulmonary embolism. Scientists also speculate benefits for varicose veins, phlebitis, deep vein thrombosis, and peripheral vascular disease.
Nattokinase vs Blood thinners
How is nattokinase different from mainstream anticoagulant medications? Blood thinners like Warfarin stop the production of vitamin-K-dependent clotting factors in the liver. This markedly suppresses the body’s coagulation ability. Overdose causes severe, uncontrolled internal bleeding. In contrast, nattokinase enhances endogenous fibrinolysis in a moderate, but consistent manner. It breaks down proteins involved in clotting rather than blocking them. This means it works harmoniously with the body’s intricate systems, making it less likely to cause excessive bleeding at larger doses. Research also shows combining low-dose Warfarin therapy with nattokinase produces similar antithrombotic effects while allowing Warfarin dosage reductions.
Current evidence suggests oral nattokinase supplement is safe with no side effects. As it comes from fermented soybean extract, those with soy allergies should avoid use without medical guidance.
- You take antiplatelet or anticoagulant medications like Warfarin or Aspirin
- Have underlying health conditions affecting clotting ability
- Planning to undergo surgery
For most healthy individuals, studies note taking up to 2000 fibrinolytic units daily for 2-8 weeks did not negatively impact coagulation parameters. Start with the lowest therapeutic dose and only increase gradually upon medical approval to avoid complications.