Nattokinase and Heart Disease
Natto is a fermented soybean food that the Japanese have been eating for centuries. It’s a cheese-like food with a distinct odor that is definitely an acquired cultural taste, but it may be one of the keys to the low risk of heart disease among the Japanese. In Japanese culture, various foods are often used as medicines, and natto has long been a popular Asian remedy for those suffering from heart disease.
Nattokinase is an enzyme that is extracted from natto, dried and used as a supplement. It was isolated in the early 1980s by Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi, a Japanese researcher working at the Medical School of the University of Chicago who was looking for a safer medicine that would reduce the blood clots associated with heart attacks and strokes. Subsequent test tube and rodent research has shown that nattokinase powerfully reduces blood clots by, in effect, dissolving fibrin and other substances that promote unhealthy blood clotting. The catch is that in spite of being on the market for many years, no formal, published research has been done with humans showing that nattokinase helps prevent heart attack and stroke. It’s widely used among alternative health care professionals, but it would be nice to have the clinical trials to back up the observed benefits, because it’s an inexpensive, natural, and safe supplement, unlike blood-thinning drugs such as Coumadin (warfarin).
If you’re taking prescription blood thinners such as heparin or coumarin, talk to your doctor before taking nattokinase.
Use Alcohol in Moderation
Moderation is the ideal attitude to have when it comes to drinking alcohol. Studies show that a low alcohol intake, particularly of red wine, protects against heart disease when included as part of a healthy diet. However, even just a bit too much alcohol can bump up blood pressure and help create nutritional deficiencies that increase your risk of heart disease. This is even more true for women than for men.
Prescription Alternatives: Hundreds of Free, Natural, Prescription-Free Remedies to Restore & Maintain Your Health, by Earl L. Mindell, R.Ph, Ph. D, & Virginia Hopkins, M.A. Published by McGraw-Hill.