A thousand years ago, Japan was a feudal society. Warlords fought one another constantly, and generals – along with their armies – were always on the move.
According to legend, the famous Japanese general, Yoshiie, was encamped one night with his men. During this break in battle, they were boiling soybeans to feed their horses when they were attacked.
They barely had time to break camp. Yoshiie’s men dumped the soybeans in a rice-straw bag, threw what gear they could grab onto their horses’ backs, and fled.
When the soldiers stopped the next morning, someone noticed the soybeans smelled slightly sweet. The hungry men tasted the beans, and natto was born.
Though nobody’s really sure when natto was first made, it’s been a Japanese favorite for centuries. It’s made with cooked soybeans fermented by a bacteria – Bacillus subtilis – that’s commonly found on rice straw.
This may not sound terribly appetizing. But if we fast-forward to 1980, you’ll see how this humble food became a superstar of health.
A Doctor’s Patience Pays Off – Big Time
In 1980, Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi was a researcher at the University of Chicago Medical School. He was looking for natural enzymes that could safely dissolve blood clots. After more than 170 tries, he found what he was looking for… in his breakfast.
What Dr. Sumi found was nattokinase, a byproduct of fermenting soy with B. subtilis. And this amazing enzyme packs a wallop when it comes to heart health.
Keep Your Blood Flowing Freely
The Japanese taste for natto may help explain why they’ve enjoyed greater heart health than Western societies.
You see, nattokinase lowers the levels of fibrinogen, factor VII, and factor VIII in your blood.1 All three of these substances encourage your blood to coagulate. With less of these factors, your blood circulates more freely. And according to researchers in Taiwan, that means less risk of heart trouble.1
And we’re not talking about just test-tube research. Dr. Sumi and others have tested nattokinase in people, and found it’s both safe and effective.2
This is good news, but it’s especially good news if you’re overweight. And here’s why…
Lower Your Risk of Heart Trouble
It’s common knowledge that being overweight increases your risk of heart-health problems. There are many reasons for this, but lowering any risk factor is a good thing.
And that’s exactly what nattokinase does.
Dutch researchers found several differences between the blood of thin and obese people. Among them was the tendency of heavy people to have higher levels of fibrinogen, factor VII and factor VIII in their blood. And increased levels of these factors appears to be linked to heart problems.3
AS we’ve seen, nattokinase lowers the levels of these three blood factors. It’s no replacement for losing the extra pounds, but it can help offset one risk of being overweight.
Nattokinase boosts heart health in other ways, too.
Cut Your Blood Pressure and Your Cholesterol
For example, doctors at Korea’s Yonsei University gave nattokinase to a group of volunteers. The volunteers saw a noticeable drop in blood pressure, while a placebo group didn’t experience any positive effects.4
In another study, Chinese researchers found that nattokinase lowered “bad” (LDL) cholesterol by nearly 11% after just 8 weeks.5
The results in both these studies were “modest.” But I consider any extra protection for your heart worthwhile.
More Good News to Come?
Better heart health would be enough for me to recommend nattokinase. But new research has uncovered the possibility of an exciting new role for this versatile enzyme.
National Taiwan University has been studying cognitive deterioration. In one experiment, they found that nattokinase dissolves a type of protein thought to contribute to this problem.6
This means that nattokinase may provide a lot more than heart-health benefits. If this research pans out – and it’s promising – nattokinase may be the next big memory-booster.
I often recommend nattokinase to my own patients. And maybe you’d like to take advantage of its heart-health benefits, too. If you would, just one word of caution: Nattokinase can enhance the effects of blood thinners. So if you’re taking blood thinners like Coumadin or are on aspirin therapy to thin your blood or for your heart health in general, talk to your doctor first.
Dr. Kenneth Woliner
Best Life Herbals
Editor’s Note: Nattokinase may be one of the most important nutrients you’ve never heard of. There may be many herbal remedies that can protect your heart, lower your cholesterol and lower you blood pressure… but Nattokinase does all three at once! That’s why it has become one of Best Life Herbals most sought after formulas… to get your supply of Nattokinase and protect your heart like never before… follow this link. You’ll be glad you did!
1 Hsia CH, et al. Nattokinase decreases plasma levels of fibrinogen, factor VII, and factor VIII in human subjects. Nutr Res. 2009 Mar;29(3):190-6.
2 Sumi H, et al. Enhancement of the Fibrinolytic Activity in Plasma by Oral Administration of Nattokinases. Acta Haematol 1990;84:139-143.
3 Mertens I and Van Gaal L. Obesity, haemostasis and the fibrinolytic system. Obes Rev. 2002 May;3(2):85-101.
4 Kim J, et al. Effects of nattokinase on blood pressure: a randomized, controlled trial. Hypertens Res. 2008 Aug;31(8):1583-8.
5 Der-Jinn Wu, et al. Lipid-Lowering Effect of Nattokinase in Patients with Primary Hypercholesterolemia. Acta Cardiol Sin 2009;25:26-30.
6 Ruei-Lin Hsu, et al. Amyloid-Degrading Ability of Nattokinase from Bacillus subtilis Natto. J. Agric. Food Chem., 2009, 57 (2), pp 503–508.