Natto: The Japanese secret to healthy circulation

For decades, Japan have been at the top of the list when it comes to a healthy population. Not only is the country home to the oldest population in the world, it’s also home to one of the most unique foods out there: natto (Pronounced na-toe).

Made from fermented soybeans, Natto has been a staple of Japanese dining for over a thousand years. It’s sometimes referred to as “Japanese Cheese” because of its gooey texture, high calcium content, and how it easily mixes with other Japanese dishes. For those trying natto for the first time, you won’t forget its distinct smell and “unforgettable” taste.

Regardless, don’t let that discourage you from trying it. Not only is it chockful of beneficial nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, iron, and vitamin K2, natto also has a unique protein-based enzyme not found in any other food…

A mighty benefit in a tiny package

The ancient samurai credited natto as one of the foods that gave them exceptional endurance and high energy levels. And just like it did for those warriors of the past, it is doing the same for those who eat natto today.

What is it that makes natto so special?

Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi discovered it when trying to find a way to naturally dissolve blood clots. Blood clots impact more than 600,000 Americans each year. On average, one person every minute is diagnosed with a blood clot and the American Journal of Preventative Medicine and other leading journals report that one person every six minutes will die from blood clots.

Blood clots restrict blood flow to our organs and tissues, especially those that are the furthest from the heart like our hands and feet. Symptoms associated with blood clots include cold hands & feet, joint pain & swelling, cognition decline, digestive issues, and more.

Dr. Sumi eventually narrowed the possibilities down to 173 different substances. As you can imagine, his task was quite daunting.  

One day, by accident, Dr. Sumi dropped some natto in a Petri dish containing a blood clot. To his surprise, the blood clot slowly started dissolving. Compared to everything else he tested, nothing worked as fast and efficiently as natto. And within 18 hours, the blood clot dissolved without a trace. Upon further inspection, the Dr. Sumi identified a protein-based enzyme — which he named “Nattokinase” (Pronounced “Nat-toe-ken-ace”) — that easily dissolved fibrin, the mesh-like material your body uses to clot blood.  

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Our bodies produce fibrin to clot blood. Without it, we would bleed to death whenever we got a cut.  Once the bleeding stops, fibrin is no longer necessary and the body creates an enzyme called plasmin to break down the blood clot, dissolving it back into the blood stream.

Under normal, everyday circumstances, this is part of the normal process.

But as you get older — starting in your early 40s — your body doesn’t make plasmin like it used to. Eventually, blood clots may become a problem, slowing your blood’s natural circulation.  

Since its discovery, Nattokinase has had over 17 scientific studies — including human trials — and here’s what some of the research had to say:

  • Miyazaki Medical College:The results obtained suggest that [Nattokinase] represents a possible drug for use not only in the treatment of embolism but also in the prevention of the disease, since [Nattokinase] has a proven safety and can be mass produced.
  • University of Cincinnati: “…A single-dose of [Nattokinase] administration appears enhancing fibrinolysis and anti-coagulation via several different pathways simultaneously.”
  • NIS Labs: “The data suggest that Nattokinase consumption in a North American population is associated with beneficial changes to [Blood Pressure] in a hypertensive population…”

And this is just the tip of the Nattokinase benefits iceberg. So, if you are struggling with…

  • Blood clots
  • Blood sugar imbalances
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Blood pressure concerns
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Varicose veins
  • Bleeding gums
  • Hemorrhoids

…Improving your body’s blood circulation can help.

Simple ways to get more Nattokinase in your diet

Eat Natto: Aside from eating natto straight from the container, the “Traditional Natto Japanese Breakfast” is one of the simplest dietary ways of increasing your Nattokinase intake.

Total prep time for this dish is under ten minutes, making it the perfect thing to eat when you’re in a rush, have a short break, or just feel hungry.

For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • Half cup of cooked rice (Ideally a short-grain, white rice)
  • 1 50-gram packet of natto
  • 1 tsp. of soy sauce (tamari also can be substituted)

Here are the steps to make it:

  1. Put the warm rice in a bowl.
  2. In another bowl, mix the natto along with any seasonings or food you like. Popular seasonings include mayonnaise, kimchi, tuna, and spicy yellow mustard.
  3. Pour the natto on top of the warm rice.
  4. Add soy sauce/tamari to taste.
  5. Enjoy!

Supplement Nattokinase: According to the University of Cincinnati, a single dose of Nattokinase at 100 mg was enough to show an enhancement in both thrombolysis while also assisting anti-coagulation profiles.

Some studies have recommended that in severe cases, taking 100 mg three times a day was helpful. Nattokinase has been shown to be safe even at doses as high as 1000 mg.

However, if you take medications check with your doctor to see if adding natto to your diet is right for you.

Sources:

Venous thromboembolism: a public health concern — American Journal of Preventative Medicine

Deep vein thrombosis: pathogenesis, diagnosis, and medical management  — Cardiovascular Diagnosis and Therapy

Enhancement of the fibrinolytic activity in plasma by oral administration of Nattokinase  — Acta Haematologica

Nattokinase: An Oral Antithrombotic Agent for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease — International Journal of Molecular Sciences

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

A single-dose of oral Nattokinase potentiates thrombolysis and anti-coagulation profiles — Scientific Reports

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William Davis

By William Davis

William Davis is a health writer based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, who specializes in writing natural and alternative based solutions for today’s health challenges. A former massage therapist with more than a decade of experience, he now spends his days investigating the latest health trends to help people better support their physical and mental wellbeing. When not working, you can find him hiking one of the many trails in Western North Carolina, visiting the local farmers market, or sprawled out on the couch with a good book in hand.