Written by Steve Cannon for USSA News.
Japan is known for its longevity and healthy citizens, boasting the world’s longest life expectancy and one of the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Part of their secret to health may lie in their traditional food, nattō. Nattō, a fermented soybean dish, has been part of the Japanese diet for hundreds of years and is believed to have health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Exciting new research has shown that nattō may hold the key to treating COVID-19. A study published in the Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications Journal in July 2021 examined the effects of nattō on the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and found that the enzyme from nattō inhibits the virus’s ability to infect cells. The study also found that heating nattō deactivates its neutralizing properties, making it less effective against the virus.
So, what is nattō and what makes it so special? Nattō is made by fermenting whole soybeans with the bacterium Bacillus subtilis and is a typical Japanese breakfast food. It is high in protein, fiber, manganese, and vitamin K2. In 1980, Japanese researcher Hiroyuki Sumi extracted an enzyme from nattō called nattokinase, which has been shown to dissolve blood clots and improve blood circulation. This discovery may account for Japan’s low rates of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Nattokinase’s anti-clotting abilities have been recognized and extensively studied in Japan, Korea, and Communist China, but are only recently being recognized by Western medicine. A review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences in 2017 found that nattokinase exhibits “exceptionally potent” anti-clotting activity and has been shown to improve blood circulation and decrease the risk of heart disease.
In conclusion, the enzyme found in nattō, nattokinase, has been shown to inhibit the virus that causes COVID-19 and has many potential health benefits. Incorporating nattō into your diet, or taking nattokinase supplements, may have numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease and potentially treating COVID-19. Further research is needed to fully understand the potential of nattokinase, but the preliminary results are promising.