How does nattokinase differ from other enzyme supplements?


The supplemental enzyme market has exploded with options claiming to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and enhance recovery. With names like bromelain, papain, serrapeptase, and nattokinase, it’s easy to get confused. Though all provide benefits, key differences exist between enzymes regarding their ideal uses.

  • Bromelain – A mixture of protein-digesting enzymes derived from the fleshy part of pineapple stems. The compound has anti-inflammatory, anti-edema, and fibrinolytic properties.
  • Papain – Another digestive enzyme extracted from unripe papaya latex. Also lauded for its ability to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Serrapeptase – Originally found in silkworms, now produced commercially through fermentation. Known as a strong anti-inflammatory and has scar-tissue dissolving potential.
  • Nattokinase – Hemolytic enzyme derived from natto (fermented soybeans). It effectively breaks down blood clots and has pronounced cardiovascular benefits.

So, how do these enzyme supplements differ beyond their source? Let’s analyze some key factors.

  1. Mechanism of action – Though all four break down proteins by cutting peptide bonds, they differ in the substrates targeted. Bromelain and papain act as proteolytic digestives, breaking down dietary proteins. In contrast, serrapeptase and nattokinase work systemically on fibrinogen/fibrin and fibrinogen alone, respectively. It gives the latter two wider benefits.
  2. Fibrinolytic strength – Both serrapeptase and nattokinase share anti-clotting “fibrinolytic” activity, but nattokinase far exceeds serrapeptase in units per gram. One study found the fibrin degradation capacity of nattokinase to be 4-10 times stronger. It makes nattokinase supplement the most potent source for improving circulatory issues.
  3. Inflammation effects – While nattokinase is mildly anti-inflammatory, serrapeptase and the proteolytic enzymes bromelain and papain are stronger natural anti-inflammatories. They block pro-inflammatory compounds like histamine, serotonin, and lipids that trigger swelling and pain responses.
  4. Absorption profile – The proteases bromelain and papain get readily absorbed intact across the gastrointestinal tract with peak concentrations in 45-90 minutes. In contrast, full-length serrapeptase shows poor absorption until pharmaceutical techniques modify it. However, nattokinase demonstrates good absorption in its unmodified form for more efficient activity.

Ideal complementary uses

Given variances in strength, users often combine enzymes for a multi-targeted approach.

  • Circulation support – Nattokinase + Serrapeptase
  • Pain/Injury healing – Bromelain/Papain + Serrapeptase
  • Immunity aid – Bromelain + Nattokinase
  • Digestive help – Papain + Nattokinase

By pairing fibrinolytic and proteolytic enzymes, wide-ranging synergies emerge. Always consult an integrative doctor on usages best fit to your health needs and sensitivities.

Evaluating enzyme supplements

With many enzymes to choose from, finding quality supplements poses a challenge. Analyze products carefully before purchasing a standalone enzyme or combo formula. A key factor to consider is activity ratings like fibrin degradation units, concentration percentages, recommended dosing, additional complementary ingredients, and price per capsule.

Favor brands backed by solid scientific research and rigorous third-party testing as well. Also, assess if the production facility is GMP-certified to verify routine contaminant screening for safety. Reputable manufacturers subject every batch to potency and purity analysis too. The “best” enzyme comes down to intended use and personal fit. With potent clot-prevention and circulation support at a moderate price, nattokinase shines as a superstar. Its targeted specificity also makes it an ideal complement to proteases or serrapeptase regimens where fibrin reduction is needed.

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