The benefits of nattokinase and serrapeptase are numerous and nothing short of amazing, at the core these two enzymes show incredible abilities to take down inflammation in the body like superheroes. Not all heroes wear capes.
Anyone up for Pac-Man? Check out this fun video explaining the role enzymes play in the body.
Benefits of Nattokinase and Serrapeptase – Inflammation Fighting Superheroes
Natto-ka-what and Serra-what-ase? Long names aside, these enzymes are an invaluable resource that show major results when it comes to taming a number of acute and chronic symptoms such as physical pain and discomfort, digestive issues, allergies, fatigue, as well as serious health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and many more degenerative diseases caused by excess inflammation or auto-immune conditions.
Both nattokinase and serrapeptase are classified as fibrinolytic enzymes, meaning their primary function is to eat away at excess fibrin that forms adhesions, growths, and scar tissue. To understand the importance of this we first need to understand what fibrin is, how it develops, and why our body is unable to handle it in excess.
Fibrin is insoluble protein involved in blood clotting, essential for wound healing it acts by depositing around the wound in the form of a mesh or spiderweb. To a certain degree, fibrin is useful for the body systems but too much causes the build up of scar tissue (including arterial plaque), blood clots, and inflammation accompanied by pain.
Scientific studies have shown the excess fibrin inhibits new tissue from regenerating through the protein matrix and weakens the body restricting joint and muscle motion and reducing internal organ size and function over time. It can also form in the kidneys contributing to high blood pressure, and in the brain contributing to poor brain function and senility.
As we age fibrinogen levels in the body rise and fibrinolytic enzyme activity decreases making it more difficult to counteract accumulation of fibrin contributing to the inflammatory conditions mentioned, along with other conditions such as fibromyalgia, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, fibrocystic breasts, and the hardening, shrinking, and decreased functioning of aging organs.
Meet Superhero Nattokinase
Nattokinase is a potent fibrinolytic enzyme derived from natto, a Japanese food made using fermented soy beans and good bacteria called Bacillus natto. It’s been used in Japanese culture for more than 1,000 years as a remedy for heart and vascular diseases.
Research in the 1980’s further verified its ability to clean out arteries and remove blood clots. It’s also known to lower blood pressure and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol.
In a nutshell, nattokinase cleanses the blood of accumulated debris, making the blood less “sticky” promoting a normal blood viscosity level (the direct measure of the “flow ability” of blood) so that the body can function at an optimal level.
Within more recent years, more importance has been placed on blood viscosity and it’s correlation with all known risk factors for cardiovascular disease and how it is modifiable with naturopathic therapies.
Research has also shown nattokinase to exhibit four times greater fibrinolytic activity than the body’s primary anti-clotting enzyme plasmin. Japanese researchers have shown that 100 grams of natto exhibits the same fibrinolytic activity as traditional clot-dissolving drugs such as activase, urokinase, and streptokinase and can be taken orally instead of by injection with the effects lasting several hours longer.
Meet Superhero Serrapeptase
Serrapeptase is a powerful fibrinolytic enzyme produced by the silkworm and used to escape its cocoon by dissolving a hole in it. Although it’s classified in the U.S. as a dietary supplement, it’s been used in Europe and Japan for many years as a pharmaceutical.
It has the ability to dissolve dead protein material without harming surrounding living tissue, making it effective at eating away at excess fibrin in the body.
Serrapeptase eats away scar tissue, dissolves blockages, and decreases inflammation, and has been used with great success for joint, tendon, and ligament injuries or degeneration. Like nattokinase, serrapeptase has also been shown to dissolve blood clots and arterial plaque as well. Highlighted benefits of serrapeptase are:
- Pain and swelling treatment after injuries
- Treatment of pain and inflammation due to Carpel Tunnel
- Pain treatment, reduction of size, and even dissolving of fibroids
- Reduction of ear, nose, and throat inflammation
- Dissolving of scar tissue, including endometriosis
- Dissolving of blood clots and arterial plaque
By now you can see the important role fibrinolytic enzymes play in keeping inflammation at bay, breaking down excess fibrin (scar tissue), modulating the immune system, and cleansing the blood, making them true superhero enzymes.
After taking into consideration the numerous side effects of prescription medications it makes total sense why people choose to use nattokinase and serrapeptase as alternative treatments when it comes to inflammatory conditions and heart health.
Could Enzymes Be a Safer and More Effective Alternative to Drugs?
The side effects of prescription medications are no secret. Four years of researching natural health convinced Dr. James Howenstine, a board certified specialist in internal medicine who cared for office and hospital patients for 34 years, that natural products are safer, more effective and generally less expensive than pharmaceutical drugs. Here’s what he has to say about coumadin, one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for cardiovascular disease to prevent clotting:
“Numerous health experts have been concerned for years that coumadin was not effective in preventing vascular deaths but also has problems with occasional serious internal bleeding episodes. German researchers found out in 2005 that long term use of coumadin produced increased calcium in the aortic valve and coronary arteries when compared to patients not taking coumadin. Dr. Gary Gordon states that “every patient on coumadin is increasing the calcium content of all vascular tissues. The calcium content of arteries is now proven to be more dangerous than diabetes, elevated cholesterol or hypertension, we must now try to educate patients.” Patients taking coumadin can be easily moved to safer anticoagulant therapy.”
Interestingly enough, his recommendation on how to safely stop coumadin therapy includes the use of safe natural substances that have value in replacing coumadin, one of which happens to be enzymes including nattokinase, along with others you can read about here.
Another doctor states the dangers of putting patients on blood thinning medications right after a stroke, sharing an example of how it caused a major bleed in a man’s brain leading to a deadly follow up hemorrhagic stroke, and how to avoid massive strokes naturally, including the benefits of nattokinase (read here).
How Long Do Nattokinase and Serrapeptase Take to Work?
Studies have shown nattokinase to exhibit ability to dissolve blood clots within hours of administration. This is obviously not set in stone and may vary depending on the individual, which is why I personally include nattokinase as a daily preventative measure.
The effects of serrapeptase when used for inflammation and pain can be experienced rather quickly, if not almost immediately. But how about when dealing with blocked arteries? In the April 1997 Townsend Letter, Dr. Hans Nieper, one of the early researchers of serrapeptase, states that when used in patients with severe narrowings of the carotid arteries the first reliable results can be expected after 6-8 months and even up to 18 months later improvement was still observed.
If you’re willing to follow through with daily supplementation of nattokinase and serrapeptase for an extended period, you will be supporting your arteries to improve day by day, but keep in mind that cardiovascular disease doesn’t happen overnight and reversing the condition isn’t any different.
How to Find High-Quality Supplements
There are many nattokinase and serrapeptase supplements on the market but it’s important to highlight a couple things to look for in each enzyme so you are equipped to choose a high quality one.
- Non-GMO – Natto is made from soybeans, one of most common foods containing GMOs.
- Vitamin K2 removed – K2 activates clotting factors so if you have a tendency to clotting it could work against your efforts. Keep in mind though that K2 is essential for bones and reducing risk of calcium build-up in the arteries, so you still want to get it through food sources, or if you need to supplement, do so at a different time then natto.
- Enteric coated – Serrapeptase does not survive stomach acid well. Enteric coating is necessary to allow it to pass through the stomach before dissolving.
- Phthalate free coating – The flip side of enteric coating is that many times it’s made with HPMCP (hydroxy propyl methyl cellulose – phthalate) which is essentially a plastic and banned in other countries. In the U.S. it’s banned in children’s products and toys in California only. Look for products containing Serrateric™ or Serretia®, both phthalate free enteric coating.
- Potency – Serrapetase comes in a wide range of potencies, and in terms of value I look for a high potency taken once daily.
After much research there are two high quality products from a long standing reputable company we take daily in our house. I’ve used various Doctor’s Best supplements for over 12 years and have been totally satisfied with the company and products.
Doctor’s Best Nattokinase
- Non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan
- K2 removed
- 2,000 FU (enzyme activity in fibrinolytic units) per capsule
- 90 veggie caps – suggested adult use: 1 capsule daily between meals, or as recommended by a nutritionally-informed physician
Read my complete review of Doctor’s Best Nattokinase and find out how it saved me from a health scare.
Doctor’s Best High Potency Serrapeptase
- Non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan
- Serrateric™ phthalate free enteric coating
- 120,000 SPU (serratiopeptidase activity units)
- 90 veggie caps – suggested adult use: 1 capsule daily away from food, or as recommended by a nutritionally-informed physician
Read my complete review of Doctor’s Best High Potency Serrapeptase and how it significantly reduced pain and inflammation.
Doctor’s Best also offers a combination of Natto-Serra although it only offers 40,000 serrapeptase per capsule and the same 2,000 natto. But the suggested dosage of 3 capsules daily actually makes it less cost effective than taking them individually. Plus that puts natto up to 6,000 FU and I prefer to stay on the lower side. That’s just me. Choose what works best for you.
How to Get the Best Benefits With Nattokinase and Serrapeptase Supplementation
Both nattokinase and serrapeptase must be taken on an empty stomach to work properly. When taken with food or when food is still present in the stomach enzymes will concentrate on digesting your food. But when taken on an empty stomach they are able to circulate through the bloodstream which is exactly where we need them to go to break down fibrin and debri that cause inflammation.
I’ve found what works best for us is to take both enzymes first thing when we get up in the morning with at least 8 ounces of water, giving it 30 minutes to move through the stomach before eating, or taking it before bedtime at least 1 1/2 hours after we last ate. Find what works for you but to make sure your efforts aren’t sabotaged you’ll want to be sure and take these supplements on an empty stomach.
If you need to bring down pain and inflammation quickly, many people take higher therapeutic doses of serrapeptase short term without side effects. If that’s the route you choose I would recommend doing your research so you are confident with your decision, then once you experience relief you can go back down to the suggested use.
Important Side Effects or Contraindications
There are no known side effects in healthy people who use nattokinase and serrapeptase, but keep in mind they do thin the blood so individuals with bleeding disorders including hemophilia and hemorrhagic diathesias or any other coagulation issues, pregnant women, and individuals with low blood pressure are not advised to take these supplements.
These supplements should be avoided by individuals at least 1-2 weeks before surgery but there are mixed opinions on using them after. Some say serrapeptase in particular can help clear up scar tissue and stop lesions and adhesions from developing when taken 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Individuals who have suffered intracranial bleeding, had neurosurgery, ischemic stroke within the last 6 months, recently suffered from major trauma, or ulcers are advised to avoid supplementation.
There is caution that in elderly people who use serrapeptase over a long period of time, gastrointestinal irritation can occur, though rare. It also isn’t advised for individuals with a history of lung problems since, although rare, lung complications can occur since it thins mucus secretions.
It’s important to discuss with your physician before taking nattokinase or serrapeptase and use them under their guidance if you are taking blood thinners such as aspirin, coumadin or any other medicines or herbs that thin the blood, or any other prescription medication. Bottom line, it doesn’t hurt to talk to your physician just to be safe.
DISCLAIMER: This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a source of medical decision-making advice. Full Disclaimer HERE.
Given its reputation as a preventative approach to conditions leading to blood clots with a dose of only 2,000 FU per day, along with its resemblance to the properties in plasmin that dissolve fibrins directly, and its ability to display these benefits many hours past the time conventional clot-dissolving drugs display activity, nattokinase can be a potent treatment.
At around $10 for 90 capsules it’s much more cost effective than short acting synthetic blood thinners that can have serious side effects and cost as much as $1500 for a single dose.
When it comes to supporting the blood system, breaking down and clearing out deadly toxic substances, and fighting inflammation, nattokinase and serrapeptase are two serious forces to be reckoned with and an excellent addition to healthy diet, exercise and stress reduction as part of an anti-inflammatory protocol and cardiovascular maintenance program.
Here’s to a happy, healthy and inflammation free body!
Any experiences using these enzymes? Share and leave questions in the comment section below!