Drugs Q & A

Why Take Nattokinase On Empty Stomach (4 Reasons)

Nattokinase is a naturally occurring enzyme that is derived from a traditional Japanese food called natto. Natto is made by fermenting soybeans with a specific strain of bacteria called Bacillus subtilis. Nattokinase is one of the major components responsible for the unique properties and potential health benefits of natto.

The history of nattokinase traces back to ancient Japan, where the traditional food known as natto has been consumed for centuries. Natto is made by fermenting soybeans with Bacillus subtilis, a bacteria commonly found in the environment and human gut. The fermentation process produces a distinct flavor, slimy texture, and a strong aroma.

The exact origins of natto are not well-documented, but it is believed to have originated in the northeastern regions of Japan around 1000 AD. It is thought that natto was accidentally discovered when soybeans were left to ferment in straw containers. Over time, the unique characteristics and potential health benefits of natto became recognized, leading to its consumption as a dietary staple in Japan.

Nattokinase itself was discovered and isolated from natto in the 1980s by Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi, a researcher at the University of Chicago. Dr. Sumi was studying traditional Japanese foods for their potential health benefits when he identified the enzyme with fibrinolytic activity, which he named nattokinase.

Following its discovery, nattokinase gained attention in both traditional and alternative medicine communities for its potential cardiovascular benefits. It was suggested that nattokinase’s ability to break down fibrin could help reduce the risk of blood clot formation and improve blood flow, potentially benefiting individuals with cardiovascular conditions.

Since then, research on nattokinase has continued, exploring its potential therapeutic uses and mechanisms of action. However, it’s important to note that while some studies have shown promising results, the overall body of evidence is still limited, and further research is needed to establish its efficacy and safety. Today, nattokinase is available as a dietary supplement in various forms, such as capsules or powders, and is used by some individuals as a natural approach to support cardiovascular health.

Nattokinase Benefits

Nattokinase has been associated with several potential health benefits, although it’s important to note that more research is needed to fully understand and confirm these effects. Here are some of the suggested benefits of nattokinase:

1.      Cardiovascular Health: Nattokinase is primarily known for its potential cardiovascular benefits. It is believed to have fibrinolytic activity, meaning it can help break down fibrin, a protein involved in blood clot formation. By promoting healthy blood flow and reducing clot formation, nattokinase may help support heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, and deep vein thrombosis.

2.      Blood Pressure Regulation: Some studies suggest that nattokinase may help lower blood pressure. It is believed to achieve this by promoting the production of a compound called nitric oxide, which helps relax and widen blood vessels, thereby reducing resistance to blood flow.

3.      Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Nattokinase has been found to possess anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is associated with various health conditions, including cardiovascular diseases. By reducing inflammation, nattokinase may contribute to overall health and well-being.

4.      Improved Circulation: Nattokinase’s ability to enhance blood flow and break down fibrin may help improve circulation throughout the body. This can potentially benefit individuals with conditions such as poor circulation, cold hands and feet, and varicose veins.

5.      Enhanced Immune Function: Some research suggests that nattokinase may have immunomodulatory effects, meaning it can help regulate immune system activity. This may support overall immune function and potentially provide benefits for individuals with certain immune-related conditions.

It’s important to note that while these potential benefits are supported by some studies, the overall evidence is still limited. Additionally, individual responses to nattokinase may vary, and it may interact with certain medications or pose risks for individuals with bleeding disorders.

How to Take Nattokinase

Nattokinase is commonly available in the form of dietary supplements, and the recommended dosage and instructions for use may vary depending on the specific product. It is typically taken orally, and the most common form is in the form of capsules or tablets. Here are some general guidelines for taking nattokinase:

1.      Read the Label: Carefully read and follow the instructions provided on the product label. This includes information on the recommended dosage, frequency of use, and any specific instructions or precautions.

2.      Timing: Nattokinase is often recommended to be taken on an empty stomach, typically about 30 minutes before a meal or two hours after a meal. This is to optimize its absorption and effectiveness.

3.      Dosage: The recommended dosage may vary depending on the concentration and potency of the nattokinase supplement. It is advisable to start with the lowest effective dosage as recommended by the product label or as advised by a healthcare professional.

4.      Water Intake: Take nattokinase capsules or tablets with a glass of water or as directed on the product label. Sufficient water intake helps ensure proper swallowing and digestion.

5.      Follow Recommendations: Follow the recommended dosage and duration of use. Avoid exceeding the recommended dosage unless specifically instructed by a healthcare professional.

6.      Consult a Healthcare Professional: If you have any underlying health conditions, are taking medications, or have concerns about potential interactions or side effects, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting nattokinase or any other dietary supplement.

Remember, it is always advisable to follow the specific instructions provided by the manufacturer or consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice based on your individual circumstances.

Reasons Why You Should Take Nattokinase on An Empty Stomach

Taking nattokinase on an empty stomach is often recommended for several reasons:

1.      Absorption: Nattokinase is an enzyme that needs to be absorbed by the body to exert its effects. Taking it on an empty stomach may enhance its absorption. When the stomach is empty, there is less food present to potentially interfere with the absorption process, allowing the nattokinase to be more readily absorbed into the bloodstream.

2.      Optimal Enzymatic Activity: Nattokinase works by breaking down fibrin, a protein involved in blood clot formation. It is believed that taking nattokinase on an empty stomach may provide the enzyme with the opportunity to exert its fibrinolytic activity more effectively. Without the presence of food, the enzyme can act directly on the fibrin in the blood without being hindered or delayed by the digestive processes involved in breaking down food.

3.      Avoiding Interference: Certain foods, especially those rich in protein, may contain protease inhibitors or enzymes that can interfere with the activity of nattokinase. By taking nattokinase on an empty stomach, you minimize the likelihood of any potential interference from these substances, allowing the enzyme to work more efficiently.

4.      Optimal Timing: Taking nattokinase on an empty stomach ensures that there is sufficient time for the enzyme to be absorbed and start exerting its effects before food is introduced into the digestive system. This may help maximize the benefits of nattokinase in promoting cardiovascular health and blood circulation.

While taking nattokinase on an empty stomach is a common recommendation, it is important to note that individual responses may vary. Some people may experience digestive discomfort or nausea when taking nattokinase without food. If you have any concerns or specific health conditions, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice on the best way to take nattokinase.


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
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