Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the most prevalent cause of deaths worldwide. In 2015, the number of CVD-related deaths represented 31% of all deaths globally (www.who.int/cardiovascular_diseases
). To date, there are limited approaches available for the control and/or management of CVD-related mortality. Natto, a cheese-like food made of soybeans fermented with a type of bacteria, Bacillus subtilis, has been consumed as a traditional food in Asian countries for more than 2000 years. Natto consumption is believed to be a significant contributor to the longevity of the Japanese population. Recent studies demonstrated that a high natto intake was associated with decreased risk of total CVD mortality and, in particular, a decreased risk of mortality from ischaemic heart diseases. Before the 1980s, very little was known about the mechanism by which natto consumption led to overall cardiovascular health. In 1987, researchers discovered that natto contained a potent fibrinolytic enzyme called nattokinase (NK). Since then, a considerable amount of NK research has been performed on NK in Japan, Korea, China, and the United States, and these studies confirmed that NK, an alkaline protease is the most active ingredient of natto and is responsible for many favorable effects on cardiovascular health. First, NK has potent fibrinolytic/antithrombotic activity. In addition, in both animal and human studies, NK also has an effect on lowering blood pressure, lowering the risks of depositions in the arteries commonly known as atherosclerosis/narrowing of the arteries, lipid-lowering, antiplatelet/anticoagulant, and neuroprotective actions. All these pharmacologic actions of NK have relevance to the prevention and treatment of CVD. The advantages of NK include a proven safety profile with a long history of human consumption nd the convenience of oral administration (many antithrombotic drugs are injectable). NK possesses multiple key favorable cardiovascular effects, additionally the fact that multiple clinical trials on NK have been conducted, or approved to be conducted, provides a good indication of the safety of administration for humans.
By Rachel Greenwood, AOR Account Manager Lower Mainland and Islands October 10 2019