(WellnessNova.com) - Nattokinase and Serrapeptase are complex-sounding enzymes with humble origins, and two of the latest things scientists are studying in regards to blood pressure and overall heart health.
What are they?
Nattokinase is an enzyme that comes from the popular Japanese dish natto, which consists of boiled soybeans fermented with the bacteria, Bacillus natto. Because of the special fermentation process, nattokinase cannot be extracted from other soy products.
Serrapeptase is an enzyme produced by the bacteria Serratia sp. E-15, which is extracted from silkworm intestines and has long been used in Japan and Europe as an anti-inflammatory.
How do they work?
Nattokinase has been shown to inhibit the angiotensin II converting enzyme (ACE), which increases blood pressure by constricting blood vessels and triggering production of the aldosterone hormone responsible for absorbing salt and water into the kidneys. Nattokinase also assists the body in producing plasmin and other enzymes that dissolve blood clots and prevent new ones from forming.
Serrapeptease breaks down fibrin responsible for blood coagulation and clotting. It also reduces inflammation and swelling by breaking down dead proteins and other debris, and thinning out fluids from the lymphatic system.
Both enzymes have been studied on their effects of reducing plaque buildup in the arteries, a leading cause of heart attack.
How are they available?
Both Nattokinase and Serrapeptase are available as over-the-counter supplements at health and nutrition stores, as well as online.
Since so many brands and strengths are available, independent research has concluded that for Nattokinase, the most effective brands should contain 2,000 FUs or higher (active bacteria content), be non-GMO certified (contains no genetically modified organisms), and be as pure as possible. If the label sources the nattokinase from NSK-SD, it means it was created in a lab.
For Serrapeptase, the most effective brands should contain at least 100,000 SUs and come in capsules, since enzymes break down in water. There is also concern about brands that are enteric-coated due to the presence of phthalates, a type of plastic banned in children’s toys.****
What are the contraindications?
Just like with any drug, both nattokinase and serrapeptase supplements have drug interactions and must be discussed with your doctor prior to use.
Because nattokinase acts as a blood thinner, people who are on Coumadin or who have bleeding disorders such as peptic ulcers should not use this enzyme. Drug interactions are not well documented, but it should be noted that pure nattokinase contains vitmain K, while NSK-SD does not; vitamin K is essential for blood coagulation.
Serrapeptase also inhibits blood clotting, so those who are taking aspirin, ibuprofen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs like Aleve), Coumadin and other blood thinning medications should use caution.