Nattokinase: Benefits, Side Effects & Dosage

What is Nattokinase

Nattokinase is a proteolytic, which is a type of protein-digesting enzyme. This enzyme helps to speed up the biochemical reactions in the body. It is commonly used as a treatment for various diseases that impact the heart and circulatory system. This enzyme works in the body to reduce clotting, which also helps to relieve joint swelling, among other benefits (x, xxx).

What Does Nattokinase Come From?

Nattokinase is an extract from a Japanese delicacy called natto. Natto is made from boiled soybeans. These boiled soybeans are then fermented in a special process using Bacillus natto, which is a bacterium. Because this enzyme is made through a specific fermenting process, it can’t be found naturally in any other food source even if it contains soy or soybeans. Nattokinase was initially thought to be a form of kinase, which is why it is named thusly. Its fibrinolytic properties make it a great choice to use as a health supplement (x).

History of Nattokinase

Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi, a researcher at the University of Chicago, was the first to discover nattokinase’s various uses. His search for a natural treatment for blood clots led to this discovery. As he was searching for ways to dissolve blood clots, he found that nattokinase offered a range of other benefits in the human body. Research has proven that not only does this enzyme help with blood clotting, but it is also an effective treatment for high cholesterol, deep vein thrombosis and high blood pressure (x).

Nattokinase Benefits

Nattokinase is generally safe. It is a natural component of soybean and has been a part of Japanese culture for centuries. It is also generally safe to use as a supplement in moderate dosages.

Nattokinase has a long list of scientifically proven benefits when taken as a supplement. In particular, it can help prevent (x):

Some more notable uses of nattokinase include:

Manages High Blood Pressure

Taking a supplement that contains nattokinase can help those who are diagnosed with chronic high blood pressure. It does this by inhibiting the angiotensin-converting enzyme that is responsible for the narrowing of blood vessels. Studies have shown that patients who take a once daily dose of the supplement for at least two months can benefit from a noticeable change in their blood pressure levels (x, xx).

Deep Vein Thrombosis Prevention

Nattokinase supplements have shown to decrease the chances of forming blood clots in the legs during long periods of inactivity. Consumption of the supplement should occur before and after these periods to be effective. (x, x, x. x).

Improves Circulation

Nattokinase also helps to inhibit the clumping of blood cells as well as the formation of thrombus. It works by thinning the blood in the same way aspirin does, but without the adverse effects. One study used an oral dose of nattokinase to treat blood clotting. This resulted in a return to normal flow after only five hours (x, x).

Prevents or Reduce Artery Hardening

Daily supplementation with nattokinase has the ability to reduce plaque in the arteries, which can prevent or slow the onset of atherosclerosis. It helps to control cholesterol levels, increase blood flow and improve heart function. All of this contributes to preventing atherosclerosis (x).

Cholesterol Control

Nattokinase has a proven ability to reduce the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides as well as increase the amount of good cholesterol in the bloodstream. A regular dose of the supplement paired with a proper diet can help users control their cholesterol for longer periods of time (x, xx).

Treats Alzheimer’s Disease

Studies show nattokinase may be effective in reducing or controlling various factors that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Nattokinase also degrades the amyloid fibrils in cells, which are often found in those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease (x, x, x).

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Nattokinase Infographic

Nattokinase Side Effects

Bleeding Disorder Warning

If you have a bleeding disorder, nattokinase supplements should be avoided. Nattokinase thins the blood and slows clotting, which can cause complications in users that suffer from various bleeding disorders. You should also avoid nattokinase supplements prior to surgery as it can increase the chance of bleeding and slow healing (xxx).

Low Blood Pressure Warning

People taking antihypertensive drugs should be cautious when supplementing with nattokinase since it is known to decrease blood pressure. If you are taking medication to lower your blood pressure, the supplement may cause your pressure to get too low. Speak with your doctor prior to starting a course of nattokinase supplementation.

Drug Interactions

Nattokinase binds to certain anticoagulant drugs such as heprin. It is important to consult with a doctor if you are on any medication that contains glycosaminoglycans since it may interfere with their function. The supplement may also increase the effects of blood thinning medications, which can cause brain hemorrhages in users who have been diagnosed with small vessel disease (x, x, x).

Nattokinase Supplement

Nattokinase supplements have the ability to break down the substances in protein that makes plaque in the arteries dense and hard to remove. This goes a long way in reversing the effects of plaque buildup and reversing blood clots. The general population consumes large amounts of cholesterol-increasing foods, which increases the risk of stroke, heart disease and heart attack. However, nattokinase can break the fibrin protein component bonds, which will reduce the chances of negative side effects from high cholesterol (x).

Dosage and Instructions

The appropriate range of doses for nattokinase depends on your individual usage and ailment, however, nattokinase supplements should be taken in 100 mg servings at a maximum of three times a day. The best way to ensure the proper dosage is to use a milligram scale, 1/32 of a teaspoon is 89 milligrams, while just over that will be 100 mg.

Units of Measurement Of Nattokinase Supplements

Nattokinase supplements’ measurements differ slightly from traditional capsules and powders. You will notice that “FU” is listed next to the amount of nattokinase present in a particular formula. FU stands for Fibrinolytic Unit, which is a definition that comes directly from Japanese Pharmacopeia. A single unit stands for the amount of the enzyme that increases the absorbency of the filtrate at 275 nm by 0.01 per minute. The higher the FU number means the more there is of the enzyme in the product (xxx).

Nattokinase & Serrapeptase

Systemic enzyme supplements have been used across the world to help maintain healthy body function. As they occur naturally, they are in charge of setting off millions of chemical reactions that will lead to cell growth, repair, digestion and reproduction all over your system. Serrapeptase and nattokinase are two very important systematic enzymes that offer similar benefits. However, they are very different.

Serrapeptase and Nattokinase — What’s the Difference? 

Both of these enzymes are extremely helpful in supporting a healthy system and reducing issues such as inflammation. If you are considering systemic enzyme therapy, it’s important to understand the differences so you can choose the one that will work best for your ailment.


Serrapeptase is a proteolytic that helps to prevent fluid retention and reduce swelling, making it a superior anti-inflammatory supplement. It also reduces pain by blocking amines from tissues that have become inflamed. Doctors in many parts of the world give their patients serrapeptase as opposed to NSAIDs.

Systemic enzymes are also very efficient at dissolving and digesting dead tissue and fibren, making it an excellent therapy for those looking to treat scar tissue, fibroids and systemic inflammation. Serrapeptase is a viable treatment option for those who want to treat:

  • Cardiovascular health
  • Women’s reproductive health pain
  • Joint pain
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Gastrointestinal conditions


Inflammation can cause blood vessels to close off, as can plaque buildup in the arteries. These both can lead to unhealthy cholesterol levels in people of all ages. Inflammation in your heart can be just as damaging as inflammation in other areas of your body, all of which are a root cause of cardiovascular disease. Chronic stress can also lead to uncontrolled inflammation and fibrosis, which can cause circulatory dysfunction.

Nattokinase is able to dissolve dangerous blood clots among other handy benefits. It is more potent than any other enzyme and has a high concentration of vitamin K2. Nattokinase can help stave off and eliminate calcium that has built up outside of the bones as well as target extra tissue like fibroids in the body, dissolving them naturally. Given these points, it shows great promise in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases. As a supplement, it is best for those looking to treat:

How strong our enzymes are and their concentration in our system has a direct relation to our ability to fight diseases, repair damage and maintain regular body functions. A lack of supply can result in a myriad of health issues due to the increased amount of rogue proteins that will accumulate in the absence of a healthy balance of systemic enzymes.

Humans with generally good health have enough natural enzymes to last until about the 27th year of life. Factors like poor diet, stress or environmental changes can cause your supply to lessen, which will result in your body taking longer to heal as you age (x).

The Bottom Line

Nattokinase serves as a solution for numerous ailments. This enzyme has Japanese origins and offers a range of health benefits with little to no negative side effects. Aside from the fact that it will help boost your immune system, it can also help melt the fibrils that result in diabetes and the degeneration of the central nervous system. It can help to regulate blood pressure, lower cholesterol and even help by serving as a therapy for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Not to mention, nattokinase is also very good at getting rid of undigested gut protein, toxins in the body and cellular debris lurking in your bloodstream (x).

Author: Ryan Quigley
Graduate of Longwood University in Virginia. Part-time sports journalist covering the Vegas Golden Knights.