Researchers from JCR
Pharmaceuticals, Oklahoma State University, and Miyazaki Medical
College tested nattokinase on 12 healthy Japanese volunteers (6
men and 6 women, between the ages of 21 and 55). They gave the
volunteers 200 grams of natto (the food) before breakfast, then
tracked fibrinolytic activity through a series of blood plasma
tests. The tests indicated that the natto generated a heightened
ability to dissolve blood clots: On average, the volunteers' ELT (a measure of how long it takes
to dissolve a blood clot) dropped by 48 percent within two hours
of treatment, and volunteers retained an enhanced ability to
dissolve blood clots for 2 to 8 hours. As a control, researchers
later fed the same amount of boiled soybeans to the same
volunteers and tracked their fibrinolytic activity. The tests
showed no significant change.
The Benefits of
Nattokinase on Blood Pressure
Japan, Natto has been consumed not only for cardiovascular
support, but also to lower blood pressure. In recent years, this
traditional belief has been confirmed by several clinical
trials. In 1995, researchers from Miyazaki Medical College and
Kurashiki University of Science and Arts in Japan studied the
effects of nattokinase on blood pressure in both animal and
human subjects (see below). In addition, the researchers
confirmed the presence of inhibitors of angiotensin
converting enzyme (ACE), which converts angiotensin I to its
active form angiotensin II within the test extract, which
consisted of 80% ethanol extract of lyophilized viscous
materials of natto. ACE causes blood vessels to narrow and blood
pressure to rise -by inhibiting ACE, nattokinase has a lowering
effect on blood pressure.
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The same natto
extract was then tested on human volunteers with high blood
pressure. Blood pressure levels were measured after 30 grams of
lyophilized extract (equivalent to 200 grams of natto food) was
administered orally for 4 consecutive days. In 4 out of 5
volunteers, the systolic blood pressure (SBP) decreased on
average from 173.8 + 20.5 mmHg to 154.8 + 12.6 mmHg. Diastolic
blood pressure (DBP) decreased on average from 101.0 + 11.4 mmHg
to 91.2 + 6.6 mmHg. On average, this data represents a 10.9
percent drop in SBP and a 9.7 percent drop in DBP.1,2,6.
Japanese food Natto has been used safely for over 1000 years.
The potent fibrinolytic enzyme nattokinase appears to be safe
based upon the long-term traditional use of this food.
Nattokinase has many benefits including convenience of oral
administration, confirmed efficacy, prolonged effects, cost
effectiveness, and can be used preventatively. It is a naturally
occurring, food based dietary supplement that has demonstrated
stability in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as to changes
in pH and temperature.
Glossary of Terms:
Cardiac Infarction: Heart attack.
Cerebral Infarction: Stroke.
Fibrin: A whitish, filamentous protein formed by the
action of thrombin on fibrinogen and makes up part of coagulum
or blood clots.
Fibrinolytic: Pertaining to or causing the breaking up
of blood clots. Infarction: Cardiac or cerebral tissue death
due to failure of blood supply to the area usually caused by a
Plasmin: An endogenously produced fibrinolytic enzyme.
Plasminogen: A precursor to plasmin. A protein found in
many tissues and body fluids.
Thrombus: A blood clot that obstructs a blood vessel or
a cavity to the heart.
Thrombolytic: Pertaining to or causing the breaking up
of a thrombus.
TPA: Tissue plasminogen activator.
T-PAs: The most commonly used thrombolytic drugs
including activase, urokinase, and streptokinase.
Urokinase: An endogenously produced thrombolytic enzyme
& also a commonly used thrombolytic drug given intravenously
to cardiac and cerbral infarction patients.
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