Nattokinase is an enzyme extracted from natto – a Japanese dish of fermented soybeans. Research over the past few decades reveals this enzyme has the potential to enhance cardiovascular health and prevent blood clots due to its fibrinolytic (blood-thinning) capacities. Nattokinase belongs to a class of enzymes called fibrinolytic, which break down fibrinogen strands to inhibit blood clot formation. It has higher potency than other plant-based fibrinolytics like bromelain and serrapeptase. Studies show nattokinase supplements containing 2000 fibrinolytic units (FU) per capsule may help.

  • Dissolve existing blood clots
  • Prevent organ and vessel blockages
  • Enhance circulation and nutrient delivery
  • Maintain healthy blood pressure
  • Prevent clot-induced cardiovascular events

Research indicates these benefits stem from nattokinase’s mechanisms of action in the body.

  • Directly cleaves fibrinogen and plasminogen – constituents of clots
  • Inactivates clotting factors to reduce thrombin production
  • Inhibits platelet aggregation and adhesion to vessel walls
  • Stimulates the body’s production of plasmin and urokinase – endogenous fibrinolytic

Oral nattokinase supports

Stroke and blood clot prevention – A 2022 study had patients with ischemic stroke take 6000 FU nattokinase daily for 90 days. Doppler ultrasound revealed improved blood flow velocity and vessel diameter in the carotid arteries while blood tests showed significant drops in fibrinogen levels and other clotting factors compared to placebo. Scientists concluded supplemental nattokinase can lower recurrent cerebrovascular risks post-stroke.

Heart health support – An 8-week trial in patients with cardiovascular disease found 4000 FU of nattokinase decreased plasma fibrinogen by 12.7%, apolipoprotein B by 8.01%, and oxidized LDL cholesterol by 19.36%. Since high levels of these increase atherothrombotic risks, researchers noted nattokinase as a promising option to support heart health.

Blood pressure regulation – In subjects with prehypertension or mild hypertension, 12 weeks of 2000 FU nattokinase reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to the control group. While the drops were modest, scientists inferred nattokinase may have specific benefits for those concerned with maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.

Deep vein thrombosis prevention – Healthy volunteers on long-haul flights took 2000 FU nattokinase for 7 days pre and post-flight. Researchers detected lower D-dimer levels in the supplemented group compared to placebo, implying it prevented flight-induced hypercoagulation. Similar studies note comparable protective effects in prone populations.

From these findings, experts speculate benefits may extend towards varicose veins, peripheral vascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and other circulation or vessel-related complications. Always consult your physician before adding nattokinase or any new supplement.

Is nattokinase safe?

As a purified food enzyme extracted via controlled processes, nattokinase is well-tolerated by most people at recommended doses. Mild side effects like loose stools, nausea, or diarrhea may occur initially but often resolve within 1-2 weeks of continued use. Those on blood thinners or anticoagulant medications must exercise caution with nattokinase due to additive effects. While studies combining low-dose Warfarin with 2000-4000 FU nattokinase found no clinically relevant changes in INR, medical guidance is still vital in such scenarios.

Oral nattokinase supplement present viable fibrinolytic and anticoagulant capacities for supporting circulatory function. However, judicious medical oversight is still vital when using nattokinase, especially for those on medications or with vulnerability to bleeding disorders. While more research solidifies the safety profile and best practices for long-term use, current evidence provides a promising outlook on the benefits of prudently incorporating nattokinase supplementation as part of a cardiovascular wellness regime.