Enzyme From Nattō Prevents Blood Clots, Helps Blood Flow

Nattō, the fermented Japanese soybean dish popular in its home country but polarizing elsewhere — for its distinct flavor and smell and slimy texture — may be a taste worth acquiring, even for picky eaters. According to new research from Japan Bio Science Laboratory, an enzyme derived from nattō, sold as NSK-SD in a number of countries including the United States, is capable of breaking down dangerous blood clots and enhancing blood flow.

In a double-blind study of 12 healthy males, each subject received either a single dose of the nattokinase enzyme or a placebo, with these roles later switched. Over a period of eight hours, researchers found that a single dose simultaneously enhanced fibrinolysis, a natural process by which blood clots are broken down, as well as anticoagulation, the prevention of blood clotting.

Although researchers say that further studies of the enzyme are necessary, Japan Bio Science Laboratory told NutraIngredients-USA that the company is "eager to partner with brands that do not yet have NSK-SD in their formulas and share in the cost of producing clinical work on their proprietary formulas."

Among the uses of the enzyme, nattokinase could potentially be used in a number of applications to prevent blood clots, including the protection of women on birth control pills — the use of which often raises the risk of blood clots — as well as elderly patients at risk for strokes and heart attacks, according to Vincent Hackel, the president of JBSL-USA, a member of Japan's NattoKinase Association

"We still feel products directed to reducing hypertension, reducing inflammation, and improving circulation, with the clinical evidence to back them up, are underrepresented in the professional, retail, and multi-level marketing channels and hope to forge new partnerships in these important areas," Hackel told NutraIngredients.