Nattokinase is an enzyme (a protein that speeds up biochemical reactions) that is extracted from a popular Japanese food called natto. Natto is boiled soybeans that have been fermented with a bacterium called Bacillus natto.
Natto has been used as a folk remedy for diseases of the heart and circulatory system (cardiovascular disease) for hundreds of years. Nattokinase, the chemical in natto that is probably responsible for its effects, was discovered by a University of Chicago researcher, Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi.
You won’t find nattokinase in soy foods other than natto, since nattokinase is produced through the specific fermentation process used to make natto.
Nattokinase is used for cardiovascular diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, chest pain (angina), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), hemorrhoids, varicose veins, poor circulation, and peripheral artery disease (PAD).
It is also used for pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, muscle spasms, infertility, cancer, and a vitamin-deficiency disease called beriberi.
How does it work?
Nattokinase decreases the ability of blood to clot. This "thins the blood" and might protect against conditions caused by blood clots such as stroke, heart attack, and others.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT). There is some evidence that taking a specific combination product (Flite Tabs) might decrease the chance of getting a blood clot in the legs during long plane flights. This product combines a blend of 150 mg of nattokinase plus pycnogenol. Two capsules are taken 2 hours before the flight and then again 6 hours later.
- Heart disease.
- “Hardening of the ateries” (atherosclerosis).
- Poor circulation.
- Varicose veins.
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD).
- Chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Uterine fibroids.
- Muscle spasms.
- High blood pressure.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & Safety
Nattokinase is LIKELY SAFE when used in amounts commonly found in foods. Nattokinase is a natural component of the soy food natto. It has been routinely consumed in Japanese cultures for hundreds of years.
The safety of taking nattokinase in the larger medicinal amounts isn’t known. Taking two doses of a specific product containing nattokinase (Flite Tabs) seems to be safe. But it is not known if taking more than two doses is safe.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of nattokinase during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Bleeding disorders: Nattokinase seems to act like a “clot thinner” and might make bleeding disorders worse. Use with caution.
Surgery: Nattokinase might increase the chance of bleeding too much during or after surgery. Stop taking it at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination
- Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with NATTOKINASE
Nattokinase can decrease blood clotting. Taking nattokinase along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
The appropriate dose of nattokinase depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for nattokinase. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.