Nattokinase is promoted as a safe anticlotting agent. An email I received this morning described it as perhaps “among the most powerful of all methods to improve your heart health.” The source of nattokinase is natto, a vegetable cheese-like food made from fermented soybeans.

The story is similar to other “miracle” treatments from the orient ? except for the part about the horses. The Japanese have eaten natto for a thousand years. They have a lower prevalence of heart disease. And western drugs are poison.

Oops, I almost forgot. “Ancient Samurai … fed it to their horses to increase their speed and strength.”

Here’s what I found.

  • A laboratory study reports that it causes a decrease in red blood cell stickiness and lowers blood viscosity
  • Studies in dogs and rats show it dissolves blood clots
  • A study in 12 healthy volunteers support the findings in dogs
  • A PubMed search listed no clinical trials in humans

Did I mention it has been used for a thousand years in Japan?

There’s a related article in the June issue of the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. I don’t have access to it, but it’s unlikely to be promotional. Other sources of online information are promotional, but they make interesting reading here, and here.

8/17/06 18:07 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.