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What is Nattokinase?

Submitted by Stella Morgan on November 19, 2010

Nattokinase Information

Natto is a food that is common in Japanese cuisine. Natto is produced from soybeans that are fermented. Soybeans themselves are an important ingredient in Japanese and Chinese cuisine. Natto is usually consumed as part of the breakfast menu in traditional Japanese homes. Natto is often known as vegetable cheese because of its smell and consistency.

Natto tends to smell like some varieties of cheese. Nattokinase is an extract of this food item. Nattokinase is an enzyme that is extracted from this food item and used for its medicinal benefits.

Nattokinase is usually available in tablet form, with the tablet containing the enzyme. One must obviously consult with a healthcare specialist before seeking to use this type of therapeutic medication as there are always complications associated with medicating oneself.

Nattokinase has been popular as an ancient remedy in Japan for many years.

It has gradually begun to gain popularity in other countries as well. Nattokinase is known to improve the blood circulation characteristics of an individual. Nattokinase is known to reduce blood pressure by improving the body’s ability to fight blood clots.

This is a natural method by which the blood can be made thinner than it is. Individuals suffering from high blood pressure may be suffering from the problem because of blood clots or because of thicker than normal blood. The improvement of these conditions is one of the known nattokinase benefits.

The nattokinase benefits do not limit themselves to these conditions. An improvement in blood circulation is important for the overall health of the individual. Proponents of nattokinase suggest that there is an improvement in the overall appearance of the individual because of an improvement in the skin condition of the individual. While some people link this to the enzymes that make up nattokinase, others link it to the fact that improved circulation helps to nourish the cells and tissue of the body effectively, thus improving the appearance of the skin because the skin is properly nourished. An improvement in the circulatory system of the body can have benefits on the kidneys as well. The kidneys are used to filter waste products out of the bloodstream. These toxins can be effectively filtered if the blood is flowing efficiently through the body. A reduction of blood clots is also useful in this situation because blood clots may restrict blood circulation to the kidneys. This blood circulation benefit therefore applies to the heart as well. When the blood pressure is reduced, the heart is less stressed and is able to function more effectively. This can have several long term benefits for the life of the individual.

Other nattokinase benefits include an improvement of varicose veins and also an improvement for people suffering from inflammations. Both these conditions have some link with blood circulation. Although there may be other factors that are involved in the creation of these problems, circulation is definitely one of them. By improving blood circulation, the severity of these conditions can be curtailed to a great extent.

Nattokinase is a powerful fibrinolytic enzyme obtained from natto, a Japanese health food prepared by fermenting boiled soybeans by adding the bacterial strain of Bacillus subtilis natto. In Japan, Natto is served with rice for breakfast and is known for its pungent, cheese-like smell; it is sticky and is salty in taste. Natto is a popular remedy for heart and vascular diseases that has been in use for hundreds of years in Japan.

Many nattokinase supplements are rich sources of vitamin K and are available in tablets and capsules in almost all health food stores. It is very popular as it retains its natural goodness without being cheesy smelled as Natto. Nattokinase is thought to be helpful in ensuring a healthy blood flow in the body. It is particularly useful in dissolving harmful blood clots, which are responsible for heart attacks, strokes, pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis among other conditions. Nattokinase resembles plasmin, a naturally occurring enzyme in blood in its clot-dissolving properties. It is capable of dissolving fibrin directly very much like plasmin apart from increasing the production of clot dissolving agents like plasmin and urokinase.

Blood clots are formed when protein fibers get deposited in blood vessels. Clots can obstruct smooth blood flow to the heart or muscle tissues causing serious disease conditions. Prolonged blockage of blood flow might hinder the oxygen supply to the heart tissues resulting in heart attacks. Cardiac clots can also move into the brain and block the supply of blood and oxygen, resulting in strokes. Thrombolytic enzymes are naturally produced by the endothelial cells of the blood vessels. The secretion of these enzymes slacken as the body ages, making it susceptible to clots and thrombotic conditions.

The mode of nattokinase mechanism is not fully known. However, one theory states that it is effective in dissolving the fibrin mesh in blood clots. Many intravenous drugs like streptokinase and urokinase administered for stroke or cardiac arrest has similar action. However, Nattokinase offers the convenience of oral administration and has a comparatively longer action.

However, Nattokinase is not free from side effects. It is not recommended in people with bleeding disorders. If you are using Coumadin, aspirin, or any other anticoagulants, do not use Nattokinase, unless specifically instructed by your doctor. It can also reduce your blood pressure, so take care to use Nattokinase only under medical supervision. Its safety in pregnant women and lactating mothers is not proven. Nattokinase supplements might set off uncontrolled bleeding if used in healthy people.

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