Natto: Promising Health Benefits

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Nattō (なっとう or 納豆) is a traditional Japanese food made from boiled soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtillis var. natto.  Natto contains a number of nutrients.  The mineral content of natto is quite high.  For 1 cup (175 grams) of natto, there is:  1

  • Potassium      1275.75 mg
  • Calcium           379.75 mg
  • Magnesium     201.25 mg

Natto also contains the highest amount of Vitamin K2, in the highly therapeutic MK-7 form, than any other known food.

Nattokinase is a serine protease that is extracted from natto.  Nattokinase was first isolated and marketed under the name of NSK-SD in 1998 by Japan Bio Science Laboratory, which had removed the vitamin K2.  This is due to large amounts of vitamin K2 can interact with blood thinning drugs like Coumadin. Therefore, native vitamin K2 was removed from the nattokinase, so that it could be safely administered with Coumadin. 

Arthur Andrew Medical developed the product Nattovena™ in 2011, as the world’s first commercially packaged and sold pure nattokinase supplement, free of any additives, glucose, or peptone. Pure nattokinase products such as Nattovena™ are are the closest thing to eating raw nattokinase found in the Japanese food natto.  2

The Table below lists the recognized and researched benefits of consuming natto:

Health Benefits of Natto

ConditionBenefitReference
AtherosclerosisNatto may help prevent atherosclerosisA
HypertensionNatto may lower Blood Pressure in HypertensionB
LDL CholesterolNatto may inhibit the oxidation of LDL CholesterolC D
OsteoporosisNatto may help to prevent OsteoporosisE F G H I
Heterocyclic Aromatic Amines (HAAs)Natto has been shown to bind to Heterocyclic Aromatic Amines (HAAs) and remove them from the bodyJ
Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE)Natto may inhibit Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE)K L

An alternative type of natto is called DC-15 Bacillus. DC-15 Bacillus Natto contains 1-deoxynojirimycin (DNJ).  1-Deoxynojirimycin (DNJ) is an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor, most commonly found in mulberry leaves.

DC-15 Bacillus Natto demonstrates strong α‐Glucosidase inhibitory activity and suppresses blood glucose elevation after meals as well as weight control by inhibiting calorie absorption.  3

On November 20, 2014, a Clinical Trial was initiated with the U.S. National Institutes of Health for Bacillus Subtilis Var Natto DC-15.  The purpose of the present study is to evaluate the effect of the extract of the flour fermented with Bacillus subtilis var natto DC-15 on postprandial glucose level in subjects with prediabetes.  The study was completed in March 2015 but no study results have been posted on ClinicalTrials.gov for this Study.   4

A superior natto food product is Megumi Natto produced by MegumiNATTO, Inc. in Sebastopol California.  It is true organic natto containing only organic soybeans and Bacillus Natto. 

Beware of other natto products since many of these other natto products contain food coloring, added sugar, sometimes in the form of high fructose corn syrup, and monosodium glutamate. 


References:

Natto and Its Active Ingredient Nattokinase:  A Potent and Safe Thrombolytic Agent

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Resources:

Nattovena by Arthur Andrew Medical

Megumi Organic Natto


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