View larger Product Profile Natto is a traditional Japanese food consisting of soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis. Its history traces back over 1,000 years, with over 200,000 tons being consumed in Japan during 2008 alone. As a food, natto is viscous and odiferous in a way that may be expected of a fermented product. Health-wise, there are two important constituents often associated with natto - vitamin K2 (in the form of MK-7), and nattokinase, a fibrin-dissolving enzyme. One of vitamin K’s most prominent roles is assisting with blood-clotting by helping to produce clotting-factors. Nattokinase, however, is involved in the opposite process. This is sometimes the conundrum with natto. In fact, many health practitioners rightly advise patients taking blood-thinning medication to avoid natto due to the vitamin K content. This is despite the support nattokinase may offer in helping balance clot formation and degradation.* Others with soy allergies, or those who simply have a distaste for natto, cannot access the health benefits of natto. Fortunately, Jarrow Formulas NattoMax provides purified nattokinase that is both free-from vitamin K and safe for people with soy allergies. Distinguishing Features: Prolonged efficacy compared to alternatives Purified enzyme without adulterants Vitamin K free View larger Blood Clotting Balance* The biochemical cascade that leads to blood-clotting, the first step in a wound healing, is both complex and life-preserving. Without it, a minor cut could lead to an untimely demise. At the center of this process is fibrin, a fibrous protein produced by an enzyme, thrombin, which is activated when the body senses clotting is required. Upon healing the fibrin is covered over by normal tissue, while another set of proteins (e. g. plasmin) helps to dissolve the now unnecessary fibrin. This is the normal process at the site of a wound, but as we age, or under certain physiological conditions, the ability to dissolve fibrin tends to fall out of balance with the ability to create fibrin. When fibrin accumulates in blood vessels, blood begins to flow less freely. This can reduce oxygen transport to heart and brain tissue, resulting in suboptimal function. Meanwhile, the excess fibrin can make blood vessels less pliable and lead to elevated blood pressure. Nattokinase helps to maintain proper blood viscosity, fibrin levels, and healthy circulation, all effects that draw support from research conducted at the National Cardiovascular Center in Japan.* Nattokinase, Circulation, And Enzyme Digestion Nattokinase is believed to do a number of things in promoting circulatory health.* First, it acts as a natural fibrinolytic (clot-dissolving) enzyme that helps to support the body’s ability to regulate fibrin.* In fact, this is why nattokinase is measured in terms of fibrinolytic units (FU). And some research suggests that nattokinase is more effective than the body’s own enzyme, plasmin, for this purpose. Second, nattokinase appears to support normal levels of plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1). High levels of PAI-1 can negatively impact fibrin degradation by reducing the plasminogen levels that are critical to the production of plasmin. By maintaining normal levels of PAI-1, nattokinase supports the body’s own fibrin-dissolving mechanisms.* Ingesting an enzyme raises an interesting question: if an enzyme is merely a protein, won’t it be digested and inactivated in the intestines? There’s little doubt that some of the nattokinase is broken down into smaller protein fragments and amino acids, but it seems that a significant portion is absorbed, fully functional. Yet even more interesting is research suggesting that fragments of nattokinase, generated upon digestion, have circulatory-health activity too. This does not come as a huge surprise since other food-source protein fragments, such as those from sesame and milk , possess biological activity. But what may be less expected is that fragments of nattokinase appear to possess distinct and complementary effects to that of the whole enzyme. For instance, researchers found that nattokinase fragments interacted with angiotensin II, a peptide hormone that helps regulate blood pressure via action on other enzymes such as renin and acetycholineesterase. Whole nattokinase does not do this. This means that the action of digestion on nattokinase may actually be beneficial, not detrimental. *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.