Blood-clotting is vital to stop blood loss; inappropriate clots however produce DVTs that block blood flow and can migrate to lungs causing pulmonary embolism as we saw in the patient last month. Blood-clots are formed from strands of a protein called fibrin, which is laid down then cross-linked to form an even stronger meshwork.
Inappropriate clots occur when balance between blood-clot-formation (clotting/anticlotting) and blood-clot-dissolving pathways are disturbed i.e. when factors leading to clot-formation are inappropriately increased, and/or those leading to clot-breakdown are decreased. In this way 17000 Australians suffer venous blood clots (VTE) annually. Regularly eating natto could help these people avoid and possibly aid resolving VTE.
Natto is a tradition cheese-like food eaten by Asians for over 2,000 years. It contributes to the high life-expectancy of Japanese people eating traditional diets. Natto is made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis (variety natto) bacteria.
In a 1990 Japanese study, researchers gave patients 200g of Natto, and showed clearly that eating Natto significantly increases a person’s ability to break down blood-clots for up to 8 hours after Natto ingestion.
One of the reasons that Natto has this effect is because during the soybean-fermentation process Bacillus subtilis bacteria produce large amounts of an enzyme called ‘nattokinase’ (NK), a potent fibrinolytic (clot-breaking) enzyme, that can be absorbed into the blood-stream via the intestines.
Rat studies show that NK is 5 times better at blood-clot-breaking than the body’s own clot-breaking enzyme called plasmin. Once in the blood stream, NK helps dissolve blood-clots by:
- breaking-up cross-linked fibrin directly
- generating plasmin – from plasminogen by activating plasmin generating factors called
- t-PA on endothelial cells
- Degrading blood-factors that stop plasmin formation such as PAI-1
NK also lowers plasma levels of factors that promote blood-clot-formation including fibrinogen, and clotting factors VII, and VIII, and it does all this with little to no side effects
NK supplements exist but eating regular natto is likely a far cheaper & better option. In addition to NK, natto also contains significant levels of
- vitamin K1 which ensures your blood anti-clotting enzymes are optimally functional to stop inappropriate clot formation, plus
- vitamin K2, which keeps blood-vessel-walls flexible lowering risk of vascular damage (Maresz, 2015) reducing atherosclerosis and thus VTE clot formation since these are linked
At the same time people eating good levels of natto including post-menopausal women have been shown to improve bone strength.
Here again, we see how important “eating the right foods” is to health, and avoiding disease. If you have a health issue and would like to see how dietary change could benefit you, please give us a call at the clinic
Article Written + Submitted by:
Andreas Klein Nutritionist + Remedial Therapist from Beautiful Health + Wellness
P: 0418 166 269