Nattokinase is an enzyme derived from natto, a Japanese traditional food made from fermented soybeans. It is extracted, purified and then manufactured in either tablet or capsule form for convenience purposes and also to accommodate those people who are not fond of the slippery texture and pungent smell and taste of the natto.
Several articles and studies have discussed the health benefits of this enzyme on preventing diseases such as strokes, myocardial infarction, deep vein thrombosis, phlebitis, and pulmonary embolism. This enzyme is taken orally and is a cheaper but more potent alternative to Urokinase. It doesn’t have the side effects that anticoagulant medications have. It has also been proven to have a longer effect inside the body when compared to Urokinase, another enzyme with similar effects but is extracted from urine. The latter is more expensive, lasts only for a shorter duration and can only be administered intravenously when compared to nattokinase. Research has also shown that nattokinase has four times greater clot-dissolving properties than plasmin, a naturally occurring enzyme in the body.
When we have wounds or cuts our bodies produce proteins known as, fibrinogens, which act on the injured site to stop bleeding by forming mesh work of fibers to create blood clots. There are several proteins in our body that serve as fibrinogens but only one protein known as plasmin to counter its effects. Plasmin is a fibrinolytic enzyme that serves to dissolve blood clots and prevents thrombosis in the body. But as we age, our body gradually produces lesser amounts of this protein needed to break down clots or plaques that have formed within our blood vessels. In addition to that, the fibrinogen or blood clotting factors in our bodies increases as we age, while plasmin levels continue to decrease. This leads to an imbalance wherein there is more clot formation than clot dissolution leading to blockage of an artery or an organ that may eventually lead to diseases. Nattokinase can help improve this by directly acting on the blood in order to dissolve blood clots. It also enhances the body’s production of plasmin and thus, also acts as preventative agent to hinder blood clots formation in our arteries and organs.
Nattokinase side effects
There are no known or reported side effects, toxicity or allergic reactions when using Nattokinase. Although the effects of nattokinase in healthy people are still unknown, they are not advised to take them as health supplements for it may cause spontaneous bruising and bleeding. People with bleeding disorders and those on warfarin medication such as Coumadin or other anti-coagulant drugs should not take nattokinase. This enzyme can lower blood pressure and may interfere with the effectiveness of anticoagulants. It may also cause internal bleeding in some patients. Do not take nattokinase if you are taking Vitamin K or medications for your blood pressure, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Always consult your doctor before taking any health supplements to prevent any unwanted drug interactions.