Nattokinase

Nattokinase

Posted by DSDC on Jun 6th 2024

Nattokinase is mostly known for its positive effects in reducing the probability of cardiovascular disease. For years, medicine has touted the effects of baby aspirin to reduce heart attacks. Aspirin treatment might be helpful to prevent the second or third heart attack but for people who have never had one, the risks outweigh the benefits.

The risks of taking aspirin are increased bleeding and ulcers. Enter nattokinase. Nattokinase is very effective at breaking down fibrinogen, a major component of blood clots and cardiovascular plaques.

NattoKinase and Blood Clots

Nattokinase was discovered in studies to have clot-busting power of conventional drugs. Dr. Sumi at the University of Chicago put some natto (a traditional fermented food from Japan) on a petri dish containing a blood clot. He was surprised to see that it dissolved the clot in 18 hours, much quicker than any drug being tested.

Dr. Sumi went on to isolate and study the active ingredient, nattokinase. He found that nattokinase could:

  • Dissolve excess fibrin in blood vessels leading to improved circulation and reduced risk of severe clots.
  • Tends to reduce LDL and increases HDL leading to a healthier lipoprotein ratio
  • Reduces blood pressure and improves blood flow

One example of dangerous clots comes with too much time sitting while traveling. We actually had a friend die in the mid 1990’s after a moderately-long plane flight. The clot formed in his calf and after a few days, traveled to his heart. One has to wonder what would have been the outcome if we had known something about nattokinase back then.

Chronic Sinusitis, Rhinitis and/or COPD

For some, nattokinase can be an effective remedy for chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). CRS doesn’t respond well to conventional medicine. In some cases, elevated levels of fibrinogen in nasal tissues is part of the issue of CRS. Since nattokinase can help break down some of these excess levels, some will find nattokinase a helpful solution.

Some cases of CRS come with nasal polyps as well. Seems modern medicine has two approaches when they find this, surgery to remove them or dupilomab injections. Surgery works but with the usual possible problems of bleeding, infections and reoccurrence. The injections can also help but insurance coverage is spotty and the last quote I saw was $4600 for two doses or a one month supply in many cases. With GoodRx you can get that down to $3600 or $1800 per injections. Most people will find that price or $40,000 a year or so, eye-watering and you won’t know if is even working for two or three months, I would imagine. This makes a few months of nattokinase experimentation look pretty reasonable.

If you have COPD and have worked to control the risk factors (see COPD Blog) and are still having symptoms and your COPD medical tests are showing an alarming progression, it might be time to try some nattokinase. I can always recommend that you get tested for lung function, take your nattokinase for six months and get retested. Test, treat and retest.

Some studies have looked into nattokinase and high blood pressure.

Even though the results have been modest they are still clinically significant and seem to be consistent. We tend to start people on a mix of L-arginine and L-citrulline for high blood pressure. For most people this can lead to a nice normalization of blood pressure. A few people don’t do well with L-arginine or have to start with small doses and work up. In those cases, adding nattokinase might be just the thing.

Who can’t take nattokinase? If you are on a blood thinner like warfarin or routinely take ibuprofen you might not be a candidate. Watch for increased bruising meaning your clotting mechanism is impaired.

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