Is Nattokinase a Blood Thinner

Is Nattokinase a Blood Thinner? Can It Replace Blood Thinners?

Nattokinase is a natural enzyme found in natto, a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans. It has attracted attention for its potential to thin the blood and improve cardiovascular health.

Many people who prefer natural remedies over synthetic drugs have opted for this beneficial natural solution.

However, can Nattokinase truly be a blood thinner and replace other types of blood thinners? Let's delve into this issue further in the following article.

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Key Takeaways

  • Nattokinase is a traditional Japanese enzyme extracted from fermented soybeans. It is known for its minimal side effects and potential to naturally improve blood circulation.
  • It is not considered a medication but rather sold as a dietary supplement.
  • Nattokinase is believed to have the ability to break down blood clots by dissolving fibrin, thereby enhancing blood flow and reducing the risk of clot formation.
  • The specific time it takes for Nattokinase to dissolve blood clots can vary depending on various factors.
  • While Nattokinase has the potential to thin the blood, using it as a complete replacement for prescription blood thinners recommended by a doctor requires careful consideration.

What Is Blood Thinner?

blood thinners medications

Blood thinners, also known as anticoagulants, are a group of medications used to prevent the formation of blood clots or reduce blood viscosity, thereby decreasing the risk of clot formation and enhancing blood circulation in the body [1].

These medications are commonly used to treat conditions such as stroke, blood clots in the arteries, and thrombosis. Treating blood clots is crucial, as clots in the blood vessels and heart can lead to heart attacks, stroke, and blockages.

Is Nattokinase a Blood Thinner?

nattikinase is not a blood thinner

Natto is a traditional Japanese fermented soybean product containing Nattokinase, a blood-clot-dissolving protein produced during fermentation.

Extensive research has been conducted on the benefits of Nattokinase, and it has been recognized for its ability to break down blood clots [2].

Both animal and human trials have demonstrated that Nattokinase can improve blood circulation and reduce the risk of various heart diseases without causing adverse effects.

However, natto's unfavorable odor and texture have limited its popularity and use.

Gradually, Nattokinase has been sold as a dietary supplement and consumed widely in many countries worldwide [2].

Therefore, Nattokinase is not a blood thinner like warfarin, but its properties allow it to function as one.

How Does Nattokinase Work as a Blood Thinner?

Fibrin and Plasmin Substrate Hydrolysis

Nattokinase can break down blood clots by directly acting on fibrin and the plasmin substrate, helping to dissolve blood clots [2].

Fibrin is an essential protein in blood clot formation, and the plasmin substrate is an enzyme capable of fibrinolysis.

When nattokinase comes into contact with fibrin, it stimulates the activity of the plasmin substrate, leading to the breakdown of blood clots and preventing their formation.

Conversion of Prourokinase to Urokinase (uPA)

Nattokinase can convert urokinase into urokinase, an inactive form of the plasminogen-degrading enzyme. This enzyme actively breaks down blood clots [2]. The conversion of urokinase to urokinase is an important step in forming urokinase, a key enzyme in clot dissolution.

PAI-1 Degradation

Nattokinase also can degrade plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1). This protein inhibits the activity of urokinase, helping to enhance the activity of urokinase [2].

Enhancement of Tissue Plasminogen Activator (t-PA) Levels

Nattokinase also enhances the levels of tissue plasminogen activator, another enzyme capable of breaking down blood clots, to support fibrinolytic activity [2].

As the level of t-PA increases, the conversion from plasminogen to plasmin also increases, leading to enhanced fibrinolytic activity.

This helps to break down blood clots, reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues and strokes, and improve blood circulation.

What are the Benefits of Nattokinase as a Blood Thinner?

benefits of nattokinase as a blood thinner

Nattokinase has been studied to show potential in reducing the risk of blood clot formation and improving blood circulation, which may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Here are the benefits of Nattokinase when used as a blood thinner [2]:

  • Circulatory Support: Nattokinase helps thin the blood and dissolve blood clots, providing support to the circulatory system.
  • Clot Prevention: Nattokinase can break down blood clots and fibrin, reducing the risk of clot-related issues, including those related to heart disease and stroke.
  • Effectiveness and Safety: Nattokinase is effective in breaking down blood clots and does not cause significant adverse effects. Nattokinase has also been reported to not cause serious side effects after use.
  • Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant: Nattokinase can inhibit inflammation and prevent the formation of blood clots due to inflammation and oxidative damage in the blood vessels.
  • Reduced Risk of Heart Disease: A human study has shown that using Nattokinase may reduce risk factors for heart disease without causing adverse effects.
  • Absorption and Transportation: Nattokinase can withstand the stomach's acidic environment and is efficiently absorbed from the digestive tract into the circulatory system, providing the benefit of breaking down blood clots and fibrin.
  • Commercial Product and Clinical Potential: Nattokinase is being commercialized and is widely used as a dietary supplement in many countries. The potential of Nattokinase is being evaluated in clinical trials, including reducing the risk of atherothrombotic events and slowing the progression of atherosclerosis.

Pros and Cons of Nattokinase Compare With Blood Thinner Drug

Using nattokinase and blood thinners, both have their advantages. Here are some comparisons of the pros and cons of both:

Nattokinase

Blood Thinners

Origin

Extracted from natural food source (natto)

Often synthetic products

Side Effects

Typically fewer side effects

Can cause various side effects

Effectiveness 

Less certainty with clinical research to demonstrate effectiveness compared to some traditional blood thinners

Many clinical studies support effectiveness

Cardiovascular

Support Improves overall cardiovascular health, reduces risk of blood clots and stroke, can be integrated into daily diet (consuming natto can provide supplementary Nattokinase enzyme) 

Integrated into cardiovascular health treatment protocols

Dosage Control

No specific dosage, often adjusted through dietary intake or use of nattokinase supplements

Specific dosage, easily controlled through medication intake

Clinical

Support Limited clinical data 

Abundant clinical studies support

Pros and cons of Nattokinase and Blood Thinner table

You may already have opinions on whether to use Nattokinase or blood thinners.

However, I also want to emphasize that the choice between using Nattokinase and blood thinners should be based on each individual's specific health condition and the advice of a doctor. You may need an expert to help you make that decision.

How Long Will Nattokinase Dissolve Blood Clot Last?

The specific time for Nattokinase to dissolve blood clots may vary depending on several factors, such as dosage, the user's health condition, and the nature of the blood clot.

A study has shown that mice using Nattokinase may dissolve blood clots within 240 minutes [3].

While some online anecdotes claim blood clot dissolution after a day of using Nattokinase, there isn't sufficient evidence to verify this.

Therefore, while the efficacy of Nattokinase is undeniable, determining the exact time it takes for Nattokinase to dissolve blood clots will require further analysis through additional research.

Can Nattokinase Replace Blood Thinners?

Although Nattokinase exhibits anticoagulant properties, it is not a conventional blood thinner like warfarin or heparin. Instead, it promotes healthy blood circulation and prevents abnormal blood clot formation.

A healthcare professional should guide The use of Nattokinase, especially if you are already taking prescription blood thinners or have bleeding issues.

Nattokinase may not be suitable for everyone, particularly those with specific medical conditions or taking other medications.

Things Need to Consider When Taking Nattokinase As a Blood Thinner

While Nattokinase generally has fewer side effects, they can still occur in some cases. However, many clinical studies have not reported any adverse effects associated with Nattokinase use [4].

Common side effects may include symptoms such as blood thinning, excessively low blood pressure, or severe bleeding or bruising. Nattokinase may lower blood pressure, and sometimes lead to symptoms like dizziness or fainting [5].

Moreover, although rare, serious allergic reactions can also occur, including difficulty breathing, itching, and rash. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention promptly for appropriate treatment.

Conclusion

Although Nattokinase holds the potential for blood thinning and improving heart health, using it as a complete substitute for prescription blood thinners should be carefully considered.

Discussing with a doctor and following their guidance is crucial to ensure safety and effectiveness when using Nattokinase. Protecting heart health is essential for our overall well-being, so let's pay attention to and care for our bodies.

References

[1] Blood Thinners. Medlineplus.gov. Published 2022. Accessed May 8, 2024. https://medlineplus.gov/bloodthinners.html
[2] Weng Y, Yao J, Sparks S, Kevin Yueju Wang. Nattokinase: An Oral Antithrombotic Agent for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease. International journal of molecular sciences. 2017;18(3):523-523. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18030523
‌[3] Feng R, Li J, Chen J, et al. Preparation and toxicity evaluation of a novel nattokinase-tauroursodeoxycholate complex. Asian journal of pharmaceutical sciences. 2018;13(2):173-182. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajps.2017.11.001
‌[4] Weng Y, Yao J, Sparks S, Kevin Yueju Wang. Nattokinase: An Oral Antithrombotic Agent for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease. International journal of molecular sciences. 2017;18(3):523-523. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18030523
[5] Jensen GS, Lenninger M, Ero MP, Benson KF. Consumption of nattokinase is associated with reduced blood pressure and von Willebrand factor, a cardiovascular risk marker: results from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter North American clinical trial. Integrated blood pressure control. 2016;Volume 9:95-104. doi:https://doi.org/10.2147/ibpc.s99553
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Author

Ralph S. Albert, with over 10 years of expertise in nutrition and research, now heads the Research division at Vinatura Supplements. His dedication and extensive knowledge ensure top-quality articles on nutrition and health, collaborating with a skilled team. He has successfully completed The VINATURA Expertise Research Training Program, underscoring his commitment to Vinatura's mission. Ralph has also published numerous articles and conducted valuable research in the field, making him a trusted resource for individuals on their wellness journey.

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