Saturday, February 17, 2018 by Michelle Simmons
An enzyme found in the traditional fermented soybean dish from Japan called natto can help unclog arteries as well as sinuses, according to a study.
Natto contains nattokinase, which is an enzyme that is produced by fermenting the boiled soybeans with a bacterium called Bacillus natto. Nattokinase is well known for its strong fibrinolytic or “clot-busting” activity. This means that it breaks down a component of blood clots and atherosclerotic plaque called fibrinogen. Increased fibrinogen levels also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The study was carried out by a team of researchers from the University of Fukui in Japan who looked at the effects of nattokinase on nasal polyp tissues from patients with chronic rhinosinusitis. In conducting the study, the research team analyzed pieces of nasal polyps that were incubated either with saline or natokinasse at 37° Celsius for a day. Then, they analyzed the presence of fibrin in nasal polyp tissue. The nasal discharge and sputum from patients with chronic rhinosinusitis and asthma, respectively, were incubated with nattokinase insolution at 37°C for 60 minutes. This was done in order to evaluate the effects of nattokinase on respiratory tract mucus.
The findings of the study revealed that nattokinase significantly contracts the nasal polyp tissue by degrading fibrin. It was also discovered that the thickness of the nasal discharge and sputum from individuals with chronic rhinosinusitis and asthma, respectively, was greatly lessened by incubation with nattokinase solution.
The authors believe that their findings provide evidence on the effectiveness of nattokinase as a treatment option for patients with chronic rhinosinusitis and asthma as it breaks down fibrin. Moreover, this study is essential as chronic rhinosinusitis does not typically respond to conventional medicines. (Related: Why You Need to Know about the Health Benefits of Super Food Natto)
Nattokinase was first discovered by Hiroyuki Sumi in 1980 as he was studying the clot-busting ability of different conventional drugs at the University of Chicago. Clinical studies show that nattokinase can dissolve excess fibrin in blood vessels to enhance circulation and lower the risk of severe clotting; can lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol; and can decrease blood thickness, improve blood flow, and lower blood pressure.
There are other health benefits that nattokinase can provide. Nattokinase is also known to stabilize and support the gastrointestinal tract; help normalize blood pressure; increase the production of plasmin in the body and other blood components that dissolve blood clots, such as urokinase; and help prevent angina, stroke, varicose veins, muscle spasms and pain, heart attack, and stroke.
Also known as chronic nasal and sinus inflammation or chronic sinusitis, chronic rhinosinusitis is one of the most common chronic diseases in adults wherein the cavities around the sinuses become inflamed and swollen for a minimum of 12 weeks. Chronic rhinosinusitis may be due to an infection, growths in the sinuses or nasal polyps, or a deviated nasal septum.
This disease disrupts drainage and results in mucus buildup, which makes it hard to breathe through the nose. A person suffering from the disease may feel pain, tenderness, and swelling around the eyes, cheeks, nose, or forehead; may have reduced sense of smell and taste; and may have thick, discolored discharge from the nose or drainage down the back of the throat.
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