Dozens of health problems—including risk of stroke—are the result of impaired circulation. Impaired circulation due to a blood clot in an artery leading to the brain is the cause of most strokes. Your risk of stroke decreases dramatically when proper circulation is restored.
Conventional medicine uses products like aspirin, heparin, and Coumadin (warfarin) to “thin” the blood to increase blood flow. There are also a few nutritional supplements such as niacin and ginkgo that can improve circulation. “Blood thinners”—natural or otherwise—may provide relief, but they don’t provide a “cure.” Thinning blood and making blood cells less “sticky” temporarily allows more blood to flow through an area with a blockage, but the real solution is to remove the blockage.
When blood flow is drastically impaired or actually stops because of a clot, conventional medicine’s answer is ultra-expensive “clot-busting” drugs like streptokinase, Activase, and urokinase. These drugs are administered within minutes after a heart attack or stroke because their fibrinolytic activity (ability to dissolve clots and the fibrin deposits that cause clots) lasts for only 4 to 20 minutes. A far more effective natural solution for removing fibrin deposits is found in the Japanese soybean-based food natto.
In 1980, Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi tested 173 different foods for their ability to dissolve blood clots and found that natto exhibited the strongest “clot-busting” activity. Further research by Dr. Sumi revealed that an enzyme in natto had the ability not only to prevent fibrous clot formation but also to dissolve already-formed fibrous blood clots. He named the enzyme nattokinase (“enzyme in natto”).
Japanese researchers have shown that 100 grams of natto exhibits the same fibrinolytic activity as a therapeutic dose of urokinase. Even more remarkable is the fact that while an injection of urokinase is effective for only 4 to 20 minutes, nattokinase maintains its activity for four to eight hours.
The Nattokinase Option
Natto isn’t readily available in this country unless you live in an area where there is a large Japanese population. Fortunately, you can also purchase nattokinase in supplement form.
Natto is considered to be safe and beneficial. It has not been associated with any ill side effects, nor have I seen any reports of allergic reactions. However, if you take Coumadin (warfarin) to prevent blood clots, do not eat natto or take nattokinase. Natto has a high vitamin K content, which may impede the effectiveness of warfarin.
You can eat natto or take nattokinase any time during the day, but if you’re at risk of stroke or heart attack, it has been suggested that it be eaten or taken with the evening meal. Since most heart attacks and strokes occur within a few hours of rising, this should provide a greater degree of protection.
Nattokinase is one of the most significant tools for improving chronic circulation problems I have uncovered in the last several years. If your risk of stroke or heart attack is high, I recommend keeping a bottle of nattokinase on hand.