Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Nattokinase - The Secret to Japanese Longevity

By Dr. Nicholas Calvino

Recently a new enzyme with potent fibrinolytic activity, that rivals pharmaceutical agents, has been discovered and shows great potential in providing support for hyper-coagulative states and in supporting the activation of many of the bodies 3,000 endogenous enzymes. This all natural enzyme, Nattokinase, is derived from fermented soy and the bacteria Bacillus natto. Already, backed by strong and novel research, Nattokinase shows promise in supporting areas such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, angina, venous stasis, thrombosis, embolism, atherosclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, retinal pathology, hemorrhoid, varicose veins, soft tissue rheumatism, muscle spasm, poor healing, chronic inflammation and pain, peripheral vascular disease, hypertension, tissue oxygen deprivation, infertility, and other gynecology conditions (e.g. endometriosis, uterine fibroids).

Fermented Soy Beans

There are three major groups of biological enzymes:
  • Food Enzymes
  • Digestive Enzymes 
  • Metabolic Enzymes. 
In the past, the therapeutic use of enzymes has largely focused on the use of digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes can be directly beneficial because they assist in digestion, help regulate immune responses in the intestinal tract, and relieve the body of its relative requirement of digestive enzyme production, allowing for biological energy and resources to be further allocated to the production of metabolic enzymes, indirectly. Recently, however, a new enzyme has been isolated from a traditional fermented Japanese food (although it is consumed by other cultures in the same or similar forms), that appears to have metabolic effects and to work directly in concert with the metabolic enzymes. This means that it will complement the somewhat different digestive enzymes.

The name of this new enzyme is Nattokinase (meaning the enzyme from Natto) and has been called, "The Enzyme of Enzymes” by its discoverer, Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi. Natto has been used in Japanese culture for over 1000 years for its popular taste and as a folk remedy for heart and vascular diseases, and now we know why: it contains Nattokinase, a very potent fibrinolytic (breaks down fibrin, a blood clotting protein) enzyme, which has shown remarkable ability to affect blood clotting and a possible ability to regulate and activate various other metabolic enzymes. Natto is produced by a fermentation process by adding Bacillus natto, a beneficial bacterium, to boiled soybeans. The resulting nattokinase enzyme, is produced when Bacillus natto acts on the soybeans. Nattokinase has been the subject of 17 studies, including two small human trials. While other soy foods contain enzymes, it is only the natto preparation that contains the specific nattokinase enzyme.

Nattokinase & Fibrin

Fibrin is a protein that when activated forms fibrinogen, which is responsible for blood clotting. This is an important and protective mechanism that protects the body from excessive bleeding, say, when you cut yourself. However, in many instances, this process becomes over-activated or becomes "stuck” in high gear. This irregular clotting has been implicated in a variety of serious health conditions, namely, cardiovascular disease. The magnificent thing about Nattokinase is that it appears to have many, if not most, of the benefits of pharmaceutical agents designed to regulate blood clotting (e.g. Warfarin, Heparin, t-PA, Urokinase, etc), without any of the side effects of these medications. Furthermore, while these medications have to be injected and only provide a very brief time of benefit (a few hours), Nattokinase is effective when taken orally and its benefits linger many times longer. Standard doses of Nattokinase vary from 250-1,000 mg and positive effects can be seen with as little as 50 mg.

Blood clots form when strands of protein called fibrin accumulate in a blood vessel. In the heart, blood clots cause blockage of blood flow to muscle tissue. If blood flow is blocked, the oxygen supply to that tissue is cut off and it eventually dies. This can result in angina and heart attacks. Clots in chambers of the heart can mobilize to the brain. In the brain, blood clots also block blood and oxygen from reaching necessary areas, which can result in senility and/or stroke.  Fibrinolytic enzymes are normally generated in the cells of the blood vessels. As the body ages, production of these enzymes begins to decline, making blood more prone to coagulation. Since these cells exist throughout the body, such as in the arteries, veins and lymphatic system, poor production of thrombolytic enzymes can lead to the development of clotting prone conditions virtually anywhere in the body.

Researchers from Biotechnology Research Laboratories and JCR Pharmaceuticals Co. of Kobe, Japan, tested Nattokinase’s ability to dissolve a thrombus in the carotid arteries of rats. Animals treated with Nattokinase regained 62 percent of blood flow, whereas those treated with plasmin regained just 15.8 percent of blood flow. 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, and 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.

Nattokinase appears to have the added benefit of significantly reducing elevated blood pressure (an often concomitant condition in cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as high fibrin). Nattokinase appears to be safe, and has been used for over 1,000 years safely with no reports of toxicity. Various other nutritional supplements / herbs have been reported to have fibronlytic activity; however, the potency of Nattokinase appears to be superior. Furthermore, Nattokinase also appears to be an activator of various other metabolic enzymes and vitamins, cleaving them from their inactive to their active forms. The strength and magnitude of this direct support for the metabolic enzymes of the body, from an oral enzyme supplement, is unique to Nattokinase and shows great promise as a nutritional supportive agent in exciting and diverse ways.

*This information is for educational purpose only. It is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease.
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