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Natto: Superfood that addresses many disorders

It has long been an accepted understanding that the health factor of the Japanese vs. the Western Culture demonstrates a major difference and this equates to problematic health conditions for those of us in the West. Many studies have been conducted regarding the Japanese diet. The average Western is high in fat and sugars which leads to high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke and variety of ailments. While we are now more familiar with soy as common Japanese dietary element, there is one more that has entered the foray that is raising eyebrows of the nutritional and medical community alike: Nattokinase (commonly known as Natto).


Natto is made from the vegetable cheese natto and fermented soy beans and has been a part of the Japanese diet for centuries. It contains a fibrinolytic enzyme and, over the last number of years, this little product has been found to be a surprising superfood and may be one of the keys to a number of health problems. In a 1980 study, Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi at Chicago University was undergoing the testing of a variety of natural foods for their potential as a thrombolytic agent. Dr. Sumi conducted intensive testing on both humans and dogs with blood clot problems and in stand alone artificial thrombus. Using both natto and a placebo. In every case, the introduction of natto reduced and in come cases eliminated the blood clot situation. In the live participants the veins in the legs became clear of any clot obstructions. There was no effect or reduction of the thrombus found within the placebo fed participants or stand alone.

In 1995, more research was conduction by JCR Pharmaceuticals Company. in Kobe, Japan and Biotechnology Research Laboratories. The tests involved rats that had artificially induced thrombus via the main brain connected carotid artery. The testing involved three enzymes: plasmin, Nattokinase and elastase. The results of the testing were quite astounding. While there was a 16% effect of increased circulation in the rats fed plasmin, and a 0% effect on those fed elastase, there was a whopping 62% circulation increase on those rats that ingested Nattokinase.

And there’s more: the JCR Pharmaceuticals Company, along with Miyazaki Medical College and Oklahoma State University continued additional studies on 12 volunteers. The participants were given Nattokinese and tracked with blood plasma testing for any results related to activity in the area of the fibrinolytic topic. Within a 2 to 8 hour period, the volunteers that had blood clots showed an elevated dissolve level of the clots. These results were published in the March, 2002 by Health Sciences Institute.

Since blood clotting is a potential hazard for those traveling on air flights, the previous research prompted an additional 2003 study by a group known as “Cesarone MR et al”. This was called the Long – Flite study and included a random control group of volunteers given Nattokinase and a placebo just before a flight of longer duration: 7-8 hours. In the group of placebo participants, 7 of those developed blood clots. However, in the control group given the Nattokinase there was no evidence of blood clotting.

It seems that Nattokinase is not only an excellent source for reduce blood clots, but may also affect blood pressure. In a 1995 study at Kurashiki University of Science and Arts in Japan and Miyazai Medical College, tests were performed on both human and rat subjects. Both test groups were given Nattokinase: rats at 400-450 grams and humans were given 30 grams of lyophilized extract. The (SBP) the blood pressure known as “systolic” of the rats had an average blood pressure drop of twelve point seven percent in a two hour period and the human subjects demonstrated a ten point nine percent drop in SBP and a nine point seven percent drop in DBP (blood pressure known as “diastolic”).

Research has continued on the benefits of natto, which include the possibility of a positive effect on those suffering from Alzheimer’s. Additional studies have shown that Nattokinase may also offer benefits for those suffering from joint pain, can assist in enhancing bone density, and help for those that experience migraine headaches.

While the medical community consistently recommends ingestion of aspirin on a daily basis to assist in reducing heart attacks, there are side effects that can be deadly to some. Current and future studies are needed on natto, but, no negative side effects have been found thus far. Since it has been ingested by the Japanese for thousands of years, there seems to be an excellent recommendation for this alternative that the medical community cannot compete with.

Nattokinase is now available in supplement form. This is an advantage, as the original form has not only a non-appealing look, but smells fairly bad. Examine all labels to ensure the highest quantity of the natto extract and always consult with your main health provider prior to adding any new supplement to your dietary regiment.

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.