Breaking Blood Clots with Nattokinase
By John Neustadt, ND
Blood has the critical task of delivering vital nutrients such as oxygen, vitamins, fats, and proteins to cells throughout your body. It also clears cellular waste products out of cells so they can be processed and eliminated by the body. When circulation to the organs and tissues is sluggish, there are many possible long-term consequences such as dementia, eye disease, ulcers, peripheral vascular disease, and strokes.
In many cases, poor circulation can be caused by blood clots. Healthy clotting is a necessary process, but when it's not in balance, health problems arise. Blood clots account for 80% of strokes because they impede circulation of blood and nutrients to the brain and other organs where they can potentially become a problem. A form of dementia, called vascular dementia, is directly caused by decreased blood flow through the brain. Blood clots in the back of the legs, called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), can be extremely painful. If the blood clots dislodge and begin circulating through the blood, they can travel to the lungs. If that happens it's called a pulmonary embolus, which compromises breathing and decreases oxygen to the brain.
There are many known risk factors for poor blood clotting. These include smoking, sedentary lifestyle, long-distance travel, obesity, surgery, cancer, dehydration, diabetes, and fractures (especially in the elderly with osteoporosis). Anxiety has also been linked to increased blood clots, as has a diet high in saturated fats. Saturated fats can be identified as being solid at room temperature and are commonly found in dairy and meat.
There are some simple things you can do to help promote healthy circulation. If you smoke, stop. If you are not exercising, begin exercising regularly at a level that's appropriate for you. If you eat a high amount of saturated fats, change your diet to emphasize healthier monounsaturated fats (MUFAS) and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAS) such as nuts, olive oil, and fish. A baby aspirin (81 mg) may be helpful in reducing clot risk by decreasing prostaglandins, which are chemicals in the body that can promote inflammation and blood clot risks.
Dietary supplements have also been shown in clinical trials to help promote healthy circulation. One standout product is nattokinase, an enzyme derived from fermented soy beans. Classified as a fibrinolytic product, it breaks down fibrin, which is a chemical involved in blood clotting. There are two sides to the blood clotting cascade: the formation of the clot and how the body breaks apart the clot. Aspirin and medications such as warfarin (heparin) work by increasing how fast the body breaks down the blood clots. Studies show this nutrient reduces risk for blood clots, dissolves blood clots, and may help decrease blood pressure.1
Nattokinase is available in various strengths, defined as fibrinolytic units (FU); however, only the dose of 3,650 FU daily has ever been shown to decrease dangerous blood formation. A clinical trial evaluated the risk for developing deep vein thrombosis and leg swelling.2 The researchers provided 3,650 FU of nattokinase plus 300 mg pine bark extract (an antioxidant) daily. In the clinical trial, nearly 10 percent of people not taking the nattokinase and pine bark extract combination experienced a deep vein thrombosis, while none of those taking the dietary supplement had any dangerous blood clots. In other words, blood clots were prevented in 100 percent of people taking these nutrients in this clinical trial. And compared to those not taking the nutrients, people taking nattokinase and pine bark extract had a 27 percent decrease in risk of leg swelling (edema).
NattoPine exclusively has the amount of nattokinase (3,650 FU) and pine bark extract (300 mg) shown in the clinical to be effective. It is also the highest potency nattokinase available, combined with powerful antioxidants and cardiovascular support from the pine bark extract.3
1) BMC Clinical Pharmacology, 2006, 6:4
2) ANGIOLOGY, September 2003 vol. 54 no. 5 531-539
3) Lipids, Volume 37, Number 10 (2002), 931-934