Nattokinase (pronounced nat-oh-KY-nase) is an enzyme extracted and purified from a Japanese food called nattō. Nattō is a food made from fermented soybeans that has been eaten in Japan for many years. Nattō is produced by fermentation by adding the bacterium Bacillus natto, a beneficial bacteria, to boiled soybeans. The resulting nattokinase enzyme is produced when the bacterium acts on the soybeans. While other soy foods contain enzymes, it is only the nattō preparation that contains the specific nattokinase enzyme.
Nattokinase is sometimes promoted in the alternative medicine community as a clot-buster and blood thinner or as a substitute for daily aspirin therapy. However, this substitution is not recommended since there is no evidence that nattokinase is effective in preventing cardiovascular disease. Nattokinase may interact with aspirin to increase the risk of intracranial hemorrhage.
Nattokinase has been effectively marketed by Kenrico in a patented product that prevents cell damage or apoptosis. Sold under the trade name Lexirin, it is derived from fermented soybean to address gastrointenstinal disorders, dermatological conditions, and immunodeficiencies.
There is also evidence of nattokinase being effective in catabolism of toxic amyloid fibrils associated with Alzheimer's Disease.