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SPARKS OF LIFE
The late Dr. Edward Howell, a physician and pioneer in enzyme research, called enzymes the "sparks of life." These energized protein molecules play a necessary role in virtually all of the biochemical activities that go on in the body. They are essential for digesting food, for stimulating the brain, for providing cellular energy, and for repairing all tissues, organs, and cells. Life as we know it could not exist without the action of enzymes, even in the presence of sufficient amounts of vitamins, minerals, water, and other nutrients.
In their primary role, enzymes are catalysts, the substances that accelerate and precipitate the hundreds of thousands of biochemical reactions in the body that control life's processes. If it were not for the catalytic action of enzymes, most of these reactions would take place far too slowly to sustain life. Enzymes are not consumed in the reactions they facilitate.
Each enzyme has a specific function in the body that no other enzyme can fulfill. The chemical shape of each enzyme is specialized so that it can initiate a reaction only in a certain substance, or in a group of closely related chemical substances, and not in others. The substance on which an enzyme acts is called the substrate. Because there must be a different enzyme for every substrate, the body must produce a great number of different enzymes.
THE FUNCTIONS OF ENZYMES
DIGESTIVE & METABOLIC ENZYMES
Enzymes assist in practically all bodily functions. Digestive enzymes break down food particles for energy and for storage in the liver or muscles. This breakdown chemical reaction is called Hydrolysis, and it involves using water to break the chemical bonds to turn food into energy. This stored energy is later converted by other enzymes for use by the body when necessary and as required by the body. Iron is concentrated in the blood by the action of enzymes; other enzymes in the blood help the blood to coagulate in order to stop bleeding. Uricolytic enzymes catalyze the conversion of uric acid into urea. Respiratory enzymes facilitate the elimination of carbon dioxide from the lungs. Enzymes assist the kidneys, liver, colon, and skin in removing wastes and toxins from the body. Enzymes also utilize the nutrients ingested by the body to construct new muscle tissue, nerve cells, bone, skin, and glandular tissue. One enzyme can take dietary phosphorus and convert it into bone. Enzymes prompt the oxidation of glucose, which creates energy for the cells. Enzymes also protect the blood from dangerous waste materials by converting these substances to forms that are easily eliminated by the body. Indeed, the functions of enzymes are so many and so diverse that is would be impossible to name them all.
Enzymes are often divided into two groups: Digestive Enzymes & Metabolic Enzymes.
DIGESTIVE ENZYMES are secreted along the gastrointestinal tract and break down foods, enabling the nutrients to be absorbed into the blood stream for use in various bodily functions. There are three main categories of digestive enzymes: Amylase, Protease, and Lipase.
AMYLASE ENZYMES: Amylase is found in saliva and in the pancreatic and intestinal juices and it breaks down carbohydrates. It begins to act as soon as you start chewing (this is why it is important to chew your food well). Different types of Amylase break down specific types of sugars. For example, Lactase breaks down lactose (milk sugar), maltase breaks down maltose (malt sugar), and sucrase breaks down sucrose (cane and beet sugar).
PROTEASE ENZYMES: Protease is found in the stomach juices and also in the pancreatic and intestinal juices and it helps digest proteins.
LIPASE ENZYMES: Lipase is found in the stomach and pancreatic juices, and also present in fats in foods, and aids in fat digestion.
Another component of the digestive process is hydrochloric acid. While not technically an enzyme itself, it interacts with digestive enzymes as they perform their functions.
METABOLIC ENZYMES are those enzymes that catalyze the various chemical reactions within the cells, such as energy production and detoxification. All of the body's organs, tissues, and cells are governed and activities run by the metabolic enzymes. They are the workers that build the body from proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Metabolic enzymes are found in the blood, organs, and tissues doing their specific work. Each body tissue has its own specific set of metabolic enzymes.
Two particularly important metabolic enzymes are Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) and its partner, Catalase. SOD is an antioxidant that protects the cells by attacking a common free radical, superoxide.
Catalase breaks down hydrogen peroxide, a metabolic waste product, and liberates oxygen for the body to use.
The body uses most of its enzyme-producing potential to produce about 2 dozen enzymes. These control the breakdown and utilization of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to create the hundreds of metabolic enzymes necessary to maintain the rest of the tissues and organs in their functions.
Enzymes can be found naturally in many different foods, both from plant and animal sources. Avocados, papaya, pineapples, bananas, and mangoes are all high in enzymes. Sprouts are the richest source. Unripe papaya and pineapple are excellent sources of enzymes. The enzymes extracted from papaya and pineapple are Papain and Bromelain, respectively, and are Proteolytic Enzymes, which break down proteins.
Many fat-containing foods also supply Lipase, which breaks down fats. In fact, fat in food exposed only to Pancreatic Lipase (the Lipase produced by the body) in the intestines is not as well digested as fat that is first worked on by the stomach by Food Lipase. Pancreatic Lipase digests fat in a highly alkaline environment (the intestines), whereas Lipase found in food fats works in a more acidic environment (the stomach). The optimal extraction of nutrients from fats depends on the work of different fat-digesting enzymes in successive stages.
Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) comes in several different forms, including Lysine HCl and Betaine HCl. Betaine HCl is derived from sugar beets. When new, HCl capsules and tablets are almost white in color, but sometimes they can turn a deep purple when they age. Supplemental HCl is not sold in powder or liquid form because contact with the teeth can damage tooth enamel. HCl has a sulfur-like odor. Betaine HCl is often combined with Pepsin to aid in stomach function.
Superoxide Dismutase occurs naturally in a variety of food sources, including barley grass, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, wheatgrass, and most green plants.
As powerful as they are, enzymes cannot act alone. They require adequate amounts of other substances, known as coenzymes, to be fully active. Among the most important coenzymes are the B-Complex Vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Zinc.
While the body manufactures a supply of enzymes, it can also obtain enzymes from food. In fact, the body's ability to manufacture enzymes is being seriously taxed by our diet of processed and highly cooked food. Unfortunately, enzymes are extremely sensitive to heat. Even low to moderate heat (118°F or above) destroys most enzymes in food. To obtain enzymes from the diet, one must eat raw foods. Eating raw foods or, alternatively, taking enzyme supplements, helps prevent the depletion of the body's own enzymes and thus reduce the stress on the body.
Anyone who has a malabsorption problem, a yeast infection (candidiasis), or is over age 60 and whose digestive process seems to be stalling out, resulting in unpleasant symptoms should take enzyme supplements. Ingredients should include Pancreatin, Lipase, Amylase, and Protease. This combination ensures digestion and absorption of amino acids, fat-soluble nutrients, and carbohydrates. Bromelain, derived from pineapple stems, along with Papain, derived from the papaya fruit, also are welcome. Specific problems can be addressed by the addition of specific enzymes. For instance, people who have trouble with dairy sugars should consider Lactase; people who cannot digest legumes might try Legumase. Hydrochloric Acid supplements also might be necessary in the form of Betaine Hydrochloride taken as capsules at the start of each meal.
The majority of commercially available enzymes are digestive enzymes extracted from various sources. Enzymes are not manufactured synthetically. Most commercial enzyme products are made from animal enzymes, such as pancreatin and pepsin, which help in the digestion of food once it has reached the lower stomach and the intestinal tract. Some companies make their supplements from enzymes extracted from aspergillus, a type of fungus.
These enzymes begin their pre-digestive work in the upper stomach. All of these products are used primarily to aid the digestion of foods and absorption of nutrients especially protein. If proteins are not completely digested, undigested protein particles may make their way into the bloodstream through the intestinal wall with other nutrients. This phenomenon is known as leaky gut syndrome, and it can result in allergic reactions that may be more or less severe, depending upon the strength of the immune system. This is one reason why the proper digestion of proteins is so important.
Any enzyme that acts on protein and prepares it for absorption is called a proteolytic enzyme. Proteolytic enzymes available in supplement form include pepsin, trypsin, rennin, pancreatin, chymotrypsin, bromelain, and papain. In addition to aiding digestion, proteolytic enzymes have been shown to be beneficial as anti-inflammatory agents. Pancreatin, derived from secretions of animal pancreas, is a focus of cancer research, because people with cancer are often deficient in this enzyme. Pancreatin is used in the treatment of digestive problems, viral infections, and sports injuries, as well as pancreatic insufficiency, food allergies, cystic fibrosis, autoimmune disorders, and other chronic illnesses.
Also available in supplement form are the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase.The following table lists some common enzymes and their substrates (the substance acted upon).
Proteins, Adhesions, Fibrin
Lactose (Milk, Sugar)
Proteins, Fats, Carbohydrates
Proteins, Fats, Carbohydrates
Enzyme supplements may not be for everyone. During pregnancy, it is a rule to be careful with supplements in general. Nursing mothers also should be careful about supplements, to avoid affecting their milk. If you are pregnant or nursing, contact your midwife or health care provider before taking any supplement, formula, or medication of any kind.
People who have hemophilia or who take anticoagulants (blood thinners) should consult with their health care providers before taking large amounts of enzymes. Anyone contemplating surgery where there is high risk of bleeding should as his or her physician for advice before taking any supplement.
NATTOKINASE ENZYME DESCRIPTION
A FERMENTED SOYBEAN ENZYME
Nattokinase is an enzyme isolated and purified from Natto, a traditional Japanese fermented soy food. Natto is made from fermented soybeans and Natto has been consumed safely for thousands of years for its numerous health benefits. Natto is produced by fermentation by adding the bacterium Bacillus natto to boiled soybeans. Nattokinase is produced by t he bacterium acting on the soybeans. While other soy foods contain enzymes, it is only the Natto preparation that contains the specific Nattokinase enzyme. In spite of its name, Nattokinase is not a kinase enzyme, but a serine protease of the subtilisin family. It exhibits a strong fibrinolytic activity. Nattokinase can now be produced by recombinant means and in batch culture, rather than relying on extraction from Natto. In India, it is marketed by the brand name Orokinase. Nattokinase was first isolated and marketed under the name NSK-SD in 1998 by Japan Bio Science Labsoratory, which had removed the Vitamin K-2.
Each serving of Now Foods Nattokinase provides 2000 FU (Fibrinolytic Units) to help keep already healthy levels of blood clotting factors within a normal range. Information below is taken from Now Foods Nattokinase. Description may vary depending upon product manufacturer. Read product labels carefully.
LIKELY USERS: People seeking to support heart health and healthy circulation.
KEY SUPPLEMENT INGREDIENTS: Nattokinase, an enzyme
STRUCTURE/FUNCTION USE: Nattokinase is an enzyme isolated from Natto, a traditional Japanese fermented soy food. Natto has been consumed safely for thousands of years for its numerous health benefits. More recently, both clinical and non-clinical studies have demonstrated that Nattokinase supports heart health and promotes healthy circulation. Each serving of Nattokinase provides 1,000 to 3,000 FU (Fibrinolytic Units) to help keep already healthy levels of blood clotting factors within a normal range. Fibrinolytic Units vary depending upon product dosage.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES: An assay of 2,000 FU (Fibrinolytic Units) is equivalent to 160 IU on the Urokinase assay. The FU assay measures Nattokinase activity by using the fibrin plate method and measuring the absorption of released low-molecular weight substances. Nattokinase is made from non-GE (non-genetically engineered) bacteria (Bacillus subtilis var. Natto) grown on non-GE soybeans and standardized on a base of non-GE, corn-derived maltodextrin.
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: Take one capsule or tablet once or twice a day between meals (without protein). Read product label for recommended dosage.
SYNERGISTS: Vein Supreme, Tru-E Bio Complex, Pycnogenol, garlic, and cayenne
CAUTIONS (SPECIFIC): People with blood coagulation disorders or who take anticoagulant (blood thinning) medications (including aspirin) should consult a physician before use. Do not take if prone to bleeding. Unlike some other brands, NOW Nattokinase contains no Vitamin K (K1 or K2), which would enhance clotting.
(GENERAL): Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. When taking any new formula, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full dose over time.
NATTOKINASE & HEART DISEASE
There is some evidence for Nattokinase effectiveness in cardiovasular health. Both clinical and non-clinical studies have demonstrated that Nattokinase supports heart health and promotes healthy circulation. Nattokinase may be potentially useful as a clot-buster and blood thinner, and is considered by some of the alternative medicine community as a possible adjunctive therapy in cardiovascular disease. Possible side effects have been reported. In one case, a patient concurrently taking aspirin and 400 mg of Nattokinase daily for seven consecutive days to prevent a stroke suffered an acute cerebellar hemorrhage. Consult with your health care provider if you are taking any blood thinning medications or related health issues before using Nattokinase.
NATTOKINASE & ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE
A 2009 study showed that Nattokinase may be effective in catabolism of toxic amyloid fibrils associated with Alzheimer's Disease, as well as the insulin fibrils associated with diabetes and the prion peptide fibrils associated with prion diseases. The study reported that its effects were similar to those seen when proteinase K was applied in the same manner. The study's authors noted that "[t]his amyloid-degrading ability of Nattokinase suggests that it may be useful in the treatment of amyloid-related diseases," particularly as "[p]revious results in rats, dogs and humans have suggested that Nattokinase can enter the circulation when taken orally." However, they cautioned that their results were preliminary, and made the following suggetion: "[S]ince Natto has been ingested by humans for a long time, it would be worthwhile to carry out an epidemiological study on the rate of occurrence of various amyloid-related diseases in a population regularly consuming Natto."
1. Yanagisawa, Y.; Chatake, T.; Chiba-Kamoshida, K.; Naito, S.; Ohsugi, T.; Sumi, H.; Yasuda, I.; Morimoto, Y. (2010). "Purification, crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction experiment of nattokinase fromBacillus subtilis natto". Acta Crystallographica Section F Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications 66 (12): 1670–1673.
2. Fujita, M.; Nomura, K.; Hong, K.; Ito, Y.; Asada, A.; Nishimuro, S. (1993). "Purification and Characterization of a Strong Fibrinolytic Enzyme (Nattokinase) in the Vegetable Cheese Natto, a Popular Soybean Fermented Food in Japan". Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 197 (3): 1340–1347.
3. Sumi, H.; Hamada, H.; Tsushima, H.; Mihara, H.; Muraki, H. (1987). "A novel fibrinolytic enzyme (nattokinase) in the vegetable cheese Natto; a typical and popular soybean food in the Japanese diet". Experientia 43 (10): 1110–1111.
4. Liang, X.; Jia, S.; Sun, Y.; Chen, M.; Chen, X.; Zhong, J.; Huan, L. (2007). "Secretory Expression of Nattokinase from Bacillus subtilis YF38 in Escherichia coli". Molecular Biotechnology 37 (3): 187–194.
5. Li, X.; Wang, X.; Xiong, S.; Zhang, J.; Cai, L.; Yang, Y. (2007). "Expression and purification of recombinant nattokinase in Spodoptera frugiperda cells". Biotechnology Letters 29 (10): 1459–1464.
6. Cho, Y. H.; Song, J. Y.; Kim, K. M.; Kim, M. K.; Lee, I. Y.; Kim, S. B.; Kim, H. S.; Han, N. S. et al. (2010). "Production of nattokinase by batch and fed-batch culture of Bacillus subtilis". New Biotechnology 27 (4): 341–346.
7. Kwon, E. Y.; Kim, K. M.; Kim, M. K.; Lee, I. Y.; Kim, B. S. (2011). "Production of nattokinase by high cell density fed-batch culture of Bacillus subtilis". Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering 34 (7): 789–793.
8. Raw Nattokinase
9. Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke with Potent Enzyme that Dissolves Deadly Blood Clots in Hours. Health Sciences Institute, March 2002.
10. Maruyama M, Sumi H. Effect of Natto Diet on Blood Pressure. JTTAS, 1995.
11. Sumi H, Hamada H, Nakanishi K, Hiratani H. Enhancement of the fibrinolytic activity in plasma by oral administration of nattokinase. Acta Haematol 1990;84(3):139-43.
12. Sumi H, Hamada H, Mihara H. A novel strong fibrinolytic enzyme (nattokinase) in the vegetable cheese "natto." International Journal of Fibronolysis and Thrombolysis.
13. Abstracts of the ninth international congress on fibrinolysis, Amsterdam, 1988, Vol.2, Sup.1:67. 5.
14. Sumi H, Hamada H, Tsushima H, Mihara H, Muraki H. A novel fibrinolytic enzyme (nattokinase) in the vegetable cheese Natto; a typical and popular soybean food in the Japanese diet. Experientia 1987, Oct 15;43(10):1110-1.
15. Sumi H. Healthy Microbe "Bacillus natto". Japan Bio Science Laboratory Co. Ltd.
16. Sumi H. Interview With Doctor of Medicine Hiroyuki Sumi. Japan Bio Science Laboratory Co. Ltd. 8.
17. Sumi H. Structure and Fibronolytic Properties of Nattokinase.
18. Chang YY, Liu JS, Lai SL, Wu HS, Lan MY (2008). "Cerebellar hemorrhage provoked by combined use of nattokinase and aspirin in a patient with cerebral microbleeds". Intern. Med. 47 (5): 467–9.
19. Ruei-Lin Hsu et al. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2009, 57(2), pp.503-508
QUALITY PRODUCTS & SUPPLEMENTS
Nattokinase is a systemic enzyme isolated from the traditional Japanese soy food natto. Source Naturals uses high grade 'NSK-SD' brand Nattokinase. Nattokinase has been shown to support healthy blood flow by assisting in the circulatory clearing system of the body.
HerbsPro: Nattokinase, A Natural Weapon Against Cardiovascular Disease, Woodland Publishing, 32 Page Booklet (90239)
HerbsPro: Nattokinase, Source Naturals, 36 mg, 30 Softgels (37990)
HerbsPro: Nattokinase, Source Naturals, 36 mg, 60 Softgels (37991)
HerbsPro: Nattokinase, Source Naturals, 36 mg, 90 Softgels (37992)
HerbsPro: Nattokinase, Source Naturals, 36 mg, 180 Softgels (62838)
HerbsPro: Nattokinase, Source Naturals, 50 mg, 30 Softgels (70046)
HerbsPro: Nattokinase, Source Naturals, 50 mg, 60 Softgels (70047)
HerbsPro: NattoZyme Nattokinase, Nutricology Allergy Research Group, 50 mg, 90 Caps (35376)
HerbsPro: NattoZyme Nattokinase, Nutricology Allergy Research Group, 50 mg, 300 Caps (62682)
HerbsPro: Nattokinase 1500 FU's, Naturally Vitamins, 75 mg, 120 Tabs (61640)
HerbsPro: Nattokinase, Source Naturals, 100 mg, 30 Softgels (70089)
HerbsPro: Best Nattokinase 2,000 FU's, Doctors Best, 100 mg, 30 VCaps (69134)
HerbsPro: Nattokinase, Olympian Labs, 100 mg, 30 Caps (74389)
HerbsPro: Nattokinase Complex (Vitamin K Free, Solgar, 100 mg, 30 Softgels (100238)
HerbsPro: Nattokinase 2,000 FU's, Healthy Origins, 100 mg, 60 VCaps (95657)
HerbsPro: Nattokinase 2,000 FU's, Source Naturals, 100 mg, 60 Caps (70090)
HerbsPro: Nattokinase, Now Foods, 100 mg, 60 VCaps (68494)
HerbsPro: NattoZyme Nattokinase NSK-SD, Nutricology Allergy Research Group, 100 mg, 60 Softgels (71113)
HerbsPro: Nattokinase 2,000 FU's, Vita Plus, 100 mg, 90 Caps (73898)
HerbsPro: Best Nattokinase 2,000 Fibrin Units, Doctors Best, 100 mg, 90 VCaps (69133)
HerbsPro: Nattokinase, Now Foods, 100 mg, 120 VCaps (71680)
HerbsPro: Nattokinase 2,000 FU's, Healthy Origins, 100 mg, 180 VCaps (95658)
HerbsPro: NattoZyme Nattokinase 2,000 FU's NSK-SD, Nutricology Allergy Research Group, 100 mg, 180 Softgels (71114)
HerbsPro: Best Nattokinase 2,000 FU's, Doctors Best, 100 mg, 270 VCaps (86812)
HerbsPro: Nattokinase Plus 3,000 FU's, FoodScience of Vermont, 150 mg, 60 Caps (70204)
HerbsPro: Nattokinase, Symbiotics, 60 Caps (70956)
LIFE EXTENSION PRODUCTS
LEF: Fibrinogen Resist with Nattokinase, Supports Circulation, Life Extension, 30 VCaps
Kalyx: NattoKinase, Symbiotics, 60 Caps: HF
Kalyx: Nattokinase Plus, FoodScience Labs, 60 Enteric Coated Caps: K
Kalyx: Nattokinase Plus, Progressive Labs, 60 Softgel Caps: HF
Kalyx: Nattokinase, 2000 FUs, Healthy Origins, 100 mg, 60 VCaps: HF
Kalyx: NattoZyme Nattokinase NSK-SD, Nutricology, 100 mg, 60 Softgels: N
Kalyx: NattoZyme Nattokinase NSK-SD, Nutricology, 36 mg, 90 Softgels: N
Kalyx: NattoZyme Nattokinase NSK-SD, Nutricology, 50 mg, 90 VCaps: N
Kalyx: Nattokinase, 1500 FU, Naturally Vitamins, 120 Tabs: HF
Kalyx: Nattokinase 2000 FUs, Healthy Origins, 100 mg, 180 VCaps: HF
Kalyx: NattoZyme Nattokinase NSK-SD, Nutricology, 100 mg, 180 Softgels: N
Kalyx: NattoZyme Nattokinase NSK-SD, Nutricology, 36 mg, 300 Softgels: N
Kalyx: NattoZyme Nattokinase NSK-SD, Nutricology, 50 mg, 300 VCaps: N
Kalyx: Nattokinase Enzyme, Kalyx, 1 kg (2.2 lbs): GF
Amazon: Nattokinase Enzyme Supplement Products
Amazon: Pure Nattokinase Powder, BulkSupplements, 10 grams (Available In other sizes))
Nattokinase is derived from the popular Japanese culinary sensation known as natto. The texture of natto is much like cheese; however it has little to do with dairy products, as it is derived from soybeans which have undergone intense fermentation. The usefulness of nattokinase was discovered in the 1980's when it was originally extracted from fermented soybeans. This process of extraction involves the fermentation of the soybeans via the bacteria called bacillus natto. Nattokinase is produced as a byproduct of this interaction between the bacteria and the soybeans. It is important in establishing general good health in the diet, as it increases the efficiency of the circulatory system. It is also able to break down the protein fibrin which has the potential to heighten the thickness of blood to a dangerous degree. Nattokinase is not necessarily a blood thinner, but it does have an indirect role in preventing the unnecessary thickening of the blood. It also defends against unnecessary and unhealthy blood clots which can in turn cause the development of free radical molecules. In this way, nattokinase has the properties of an antioxidant as well. Vitamin K which is necessary in bone building and in the bond between calcium and protein is also a component in nattokinase.
Amazon has over 300 products available containing Nattokinase. Many of these products are already listed above from our other Merchants. However, if you want to obtain products from Amazon, click over on the above product and do a search for a complete listing.
Nutrition Basics: Nattokinase Enzyme Information
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