What is Natto?
On the Vegetable Cheese, Natto
In 1894, Dr. Kikuji Yabe of Tokyo University released the scientific description of Natto (first German and second English) and the commercial processing of Natto.
He isolated 3 Micrococci and one bacillus from Natto but has not proven that the isolates contributed to Natto fermentation. He published an article entitled “On the Vegetable Cheese, Natto,” which referred to the latter as a dairy vegetable, a long-lived but unlucky misnomer.
In 1896, the first American writer named Henry Trimble published an article in the American Journal of Pharmacy about Soja Beans.
In August 1906, S. Sawamura released his journal about a scientific article entitled “On the microorganisms of natto,” and witnessed two bacteria found in Natto and was able to isolate Bacillus Natto and named it as a newly-discovered microorganism and was a component of Natto’s fermentation process.
Another event has taken place when Tung Rymbai, the first relative of Natto from Meghalaya in Northeast India, has been mentioned in Khasi-English Dictionary by Singh.
In 1912, the primary large-scale produce and distributor increased in Natto’s homeland at northeast provinces with the capital at Tokyo, but issues in temperature control, contamination, and first failure in products.
Six local natto makers and early reports published by Dr. Jun Hanzawa of Hokkaido University founded Natto Manufacturers Association of Tokyo, Department of Agriculture, stating the production of Natto was taken out from the Dark Ages.
Dr. Hanzawa made a pure-culture bacterial in inoculation. The rice straw as a source of injection has stopped.
In January 1926, Nihon Miso Seizosho released the first commercial Natto in Los Angeles, California, United States of America.
In November 1933, an article entitled Japanese Foods commonly used in Hawaii by Carey D. Miller said that a gray, slimy substance that forms string or thread covers Natto, indicating good quality. In 1965, Matsubara discovered a robust proteolytic enzyme found in Natto named Subtilisin.
Also, Natto Manufacturing Process becomes known and promoted to consumers for acceptance and an exhibition was held in Japan called All-Japan Natto Exhibition for consumer awareness.
In November 1969, Sticky was the word used to describe Natto, according to a paper presented to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, named as Industrial Production of Soybean Foods in Japan.
In October 1978, Charles Kendall, found of Kendall Food Co. (Brookline Village Massachusetts) and an advocate of macrobiotics, is the first and earliest Caucasian maker of commercialized Natto in the United States, and he continued the business of Natto for more than 30 years. In October 1987, Nattokinase, a fibrinolytic enzyme in Natto, has been mentioned by Sumi et al. and was discovered in 1980 by Dr. Hiroyuki Sumi at Chicago University Medical School.
In 1994, Kinema from eastern Nepal had been reported as well-known Bari by the Bhutias and Satlyangser among the Lepchas. In April 2001, in the Journal of Nutrition, the first to point out about Natto and described as one of the most intense sources of Vitamin K1, the article by M. Kaneki et al. concluded that Natto might help to reduce the risk of fractures in Japanese women.
In April 2003, a substance called Pyrroloquinoline Quinone or PQQ was discovered as a vitamin and was concentrated from Natto as its known source, according to an article by Kasahara and Kato in the Journal Nature of London. In 2010, Dr. Jyoti Tamang of Sikkim introduced Kinema-Natto- Thua-nao triangle (KNT Triangle), which is more effective than Natto Triangle proposed by Dr. Sasuke Nakao back in 1971.
Natto has been popularly added to some Asian and Western cuisines as an ingredient and has been claimed as a health benefit to lower the risk of developing non-communicable diseases. Most people around the world continuously consume it.
The Health and Nutritional Benefits of Natto
Natto is one of the safest and healthiest soybeans that has undergone the fermentation process. Natto is gut-friendly and plant-based food used for medicinal purposes.
Nattokinase, an enzyme found in Natto, is used to treat infertility, pain, cancer, muscle pain, and stroke. Natto is known to have a beneficial effect on promoting healthy bones, digestion, and the heart.
Natto is rich in Vitamin K1 called Phylloquinone, and the rare sources of Vitamin K2 called Menaquinones that are usually found in bacterial fermentation and naturally produced in our gut. Menaquinones maintain the bone health of post-menopausal women and reduce the risk of developing heart disease in individuals.
Vitamin K2 found in Natto is twice higher than cheese products. Natto is rich in probiotics good for the gut; It helps fight off toxins and harmful bacteria inside the digestive tract. Natto is used to treat abdominal and gut-related discomforts, such as gas formation, constipation, and medication-related diarrhea and bloating.
Natto is also used to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease or (IBD), Chron’s Disease, Ulcer, and Colitis. 100- grams of Natto can provide 22 percent RDI or recommended dietary intake of Calcium as one of the frameworks and integrity of the skeletal system.
Natto is rich in fiber that helps lower blood cholesterol levels, rich in vitamin C, copper, iron, selenium, and zing, which helps boost the immune system to fight infection.
Case Study about Natto and Blood Clot
Natto contains Nattokinase, an enzyme that significantly affects blood clot formation in arteries and veins that causes atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, and stroke. Several studies show a significant relationship between Nattokinase and Blood Clots.
Research conducted by the National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke concluded that Natto stops blood clot formation and reduces the risk of developing stroke, atherosclerosis, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases from 2018 of July.
Demonstrated to human and animal trials have demonstrated that blood circulation has improved and promotes a healthy cardiovascular system without any adverse side effects.
Another population-based cohort study that happened in Japan called Takayama Study that runs 20 years and started from year 1992 to 2012 showed that Dietary Natto lowers the risk of developing Cardiovascular Disease.
The study is composed of individual participants, a total of 13,355 Male participants, and 15,724 Female participants; ages 35-years old and above both sexes.
Each participant answered a validated semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaire, and surveys and continuous monitoring were done for the next 16 years and above.
The results showed that a total of 1678 deaths from CVD, including 677 strokes and 308 ischemic heart disease occurred during follow-up.
The highest number of natto consumption compared with the lowest consumption was significantly associated with a decreased risk of mortality from total CVD. The highest number of natto consumption was also significantly associated with a lower risk of mortality from ischemic stroke.
It is concluded that eating Natto reduces the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
How Japanese eat Natto?
The prices of Natto differs, the standard rate in some supermarket is around 100 Yen. Natto is fermented, producing a distinctive smell that other people may like or dislike.
Buying Natto in groceries and supermarkets differ in the size of the bean, types of bean sizes are large, medium, and small.
Processing methods and variety also differ; some Natto products are produced and packed in cups for consumers to eat comfortably.
One type of Natto that is famous because of its pulverized texture before fermentation, is Hikiwari Natto, sold in supermarkets.
Traditional Japanese eat Natto every breakfast, here are procedures on how they start eating Natto:
- Opening the package and taking out the special sauce and Japanese mustard both are packed.
- Remove the thin film on top of Natto.
- Mix the Natto thoroughly to bring out its delicious flavor, and it helps the texture become stickier to eat.
- Add the special sauce and Japanese mustard.
- Continue mixing to make it stickier.
- Eat it with rice; it tastes delicious if it is eaten without rice as well.
Japanese people also add toppings on Natto, and standard toppings include green onions, dried bonito, kimchi, and raw eggs or egg yolk only.
Other ingredients may be added, such as wasabi, cheese, mayonnaise, seaweeds, perilla leaves, pickled plums, pepper, and tuna.
Soy sauce can be added instead of Japanese mustard, and rice can be substituted with bread or paste, depending on the preferences of the consumer.
Natto and the Global Market
Natto is now famous in other parts of the world, and the market is continuously growing. Natto is now available to several regions of the world, such as America and Europe.
According to Alan Maeda, Megumi Natto was the first company and distributor of Natto in the United States of America, established in the year 2006 in Northern California’s Sonoma County.
The company used a specialized production process for Natto adapted from Japan, where Satoh learned to make Natto at a small local business.
By producing fresh Natto locally in the United States, Megumi Natto has successfully removed the distinct smell of Natto, the taste and texture have improved compared to frozen Natto originated from Japan.
In ten years of service and working hard for the business, Satto experienced difficulties and struggles along the road while establishing the business.
The incident “Great East Japan Earthquake” in the year 2011 initiated the need for strict quality assurance for imported food products from Japan that includes Natto seasoning and Japanese mustard.
The production has stopped, and the sales have decreased, according to Satoh.
Megumi Natto does not add any seasoning to its Natto product and has opened a door of experimental recipe creation for all nationalities who purchase the product.
Americans ate Natto with bread, sandwiches, hamburgers, and salad instead of rice, and they want to create different styles of side dishes and recipes.
Megumi Natto has improved and multiplied into a nationwide company that has led to increased production of fresh handmade
Natto all around the United States of America.
In Europe, the European Food Safety Authority or EFSA has given a positive opinion and approval for Natto from Osake-based Japan Bio Science Laboratory or JBSL, last January 20, 2017.
EFSA concluded that Natto is safe under normal circumstances. The products were food supplements in capsules, tablets, or powder forms for adult use that excludes pregnant and lactating women.
Nattokinase, one of the components of Natto, is linked to the reduction of the risk factor of developing Cardiovascular diseases.
Moreover, the consumption of Natto showed improvement in reducing Cardiovascular disease mortality. Research shows that Nattokinase has the following role:
- Fibrinolytic activity
- Controls hypertension
- It helps in lowering bad fat in the body.
- Neuroprotective effects
According to Japanese people, consuming Natto is related to life longevity. According to studies, eating Natto is linked to decreased risk of total Cardiovascular disease mortality rate.
A unique feature of Nattokinase is a single compound with multiple cardiovascular disease preventative features.
Nattokinase is a natural product that can be taken orally and is safe, economical, and provides a health advantage compared to other pharmaceutical products.
Nattokinase is a possible cure and treatment for cardiovascular diseases in the future.
How much Nattokinase dosage in a day?
Nattokinase is strong that it can remove blood clots and fatty clogs in blood vessels. In a single dosage, it is reported to have a beneficial effect in removing bad fats inside the blood vessels.
A study has shown 12 healthy young males and was given a random dosage of a single campus with 2000 formula units.
The antithrombin concentration in their blood increased within 2 hours of taking Nattokinase capsules and improved the level in a healthy state.
How often can I eat Natto in a day?
Eating Natto is safe for everyone; it contains Vitamin K and has blood-thinning properties. In this case, individuals who are taking blood-thinning medications should seek help from their physicians for further concerns eating Natto while taking medicines.
Eating Natto regularly is exceptional; there is no fixed time to consume it since it is healthy and nutritious to our body.
Doctors recommend eating Natto at least 2 cups every day to boost fiber intake and reduce bad fats in our body.
One of the best Nattokinase supplements in the Market
One of the best Nattokinase supplements in the Market is Doctor’s Best, Nattokinase, 2,000 FUs, 90 Veggie Caps. According to an online review on the iHerb website, out of 983 reviews, it got 4.5 over five stars.
One of the review feedbacks of one user says:
“I’m a very active 62-year old male in good health and physical condition. However, I recently experienced severe “burning” pain in the calf muscles of both legs. My doctor examined me and informed me that I had developed P.A.D.s (peripheral vascular disease). I’ve always walked 3-5 miles daily, but with the onset of this condition walking is “extremely” painful. The doctor informed me that I should keep walking and eventually the “burning” pain would become less severe and hopefully go away entirely. In the meantime, there was nothing he could prescribe to eliminate the “burning” while walking! While talking with my aunt one day, she suggested that I try Doctors Best, Best Nattokinase. Upon receipt of the product, I took one capsule that morning and another that evening. The next morning, I went for a 4-mile walk and you guessed it, “No more burning pain”! And, I continue to take two capsules daily.” end of quote.
Doctor’s Best Nattokinase is an enzyme made from “Natto,” a traditional and well-known Japanese food. During production, the process is bacteria-friendly for Bacillus subtilis bacteria, the soybeans are non-genetically modified used to make Nattokinase.
Doctor’s Best Nattokinase has no Vitamin K since it contributes to blood clotting.
Nattokinase lowers the level of plasma proteins that significantly affects blood flow and is similar to an endogenously produced enzyme called Plasmin.
Plasmin is the blood that reduces plasma protein counts that include fibrin clots resulting in proper blood flow control.
Nattokinase contributes to healthy blood circulation and circulatory function that is essential for cardiovascular and heart function.
Doctor’s Best is consistent in developing high-quality Nattokinase supplements and accurately testing them at a recognized enzyme manufacturing facility, Deerland Enzymes, in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Nattokinase is an enzyme from Natto that is famous for consumption in Japan for centuries and is gentle on the gut.
Natto is created from the fermentation process by adding the bacteria responsible, which is called Bacillus subtilis directly to boiled soybeans.
The resulting component is the Nattokinase enzyme when Bacillus subtilis acts on the soybeans. Other soy foods contain enzymes, and only Natto is prepared and contains Nattokinase enzyme.
Doctor’s Best products are highly tested in quality standards and are manufactured directly in the United States using the best-qualified cGMP manufacturers, including raw material ingredients.
Doctor’s Best adapted raw materials from different places around the world, and ingredients are designed for intense quality testing and full verification regardless of the source and geography of origin.
Limitations are in pregnant or lactating women, has soy allergies, or is suffering from blood coagulation disorders.
If you are currently taking an anticoagulant drug or blood-thinning medication, consult your physician first before taking the product.
Definition of Terms:
Nattokinase- is an enzyme found in Natto that removes blood clots clogging the arteries and veins and lowers the risk of an individual developing Cardiovascular disease and Stroke.
Phylloquinone- Phylloquinone or Vitamin K1, required for blood coagulation, bone, and vascular metabolism in humans. Phylloquinone, found in leafy greens and vegetable oil that represents the primary dietary source of vitamin K for humans.
Pyrroloquinoline Quinone- is used as an ingredient in some energy, sport, and isotonic drinks. It is also an ingredient found in non-milk-based meal replacement beverages, water (bottled, enhanced, fortified), milk-based meal replacement beverages, cereal, granola bars, energy, meal replacement, and fortified bars at levels ranging from 0.008 to 0.05 percent.
It plays a role in the metabolism and structural integrity of cells and tissues
References and Sources:
- History of Natto and Its Relatives (1405-2012) by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi.
Publication Date: 2012 Feb. 15
Soyinfo Center, Soy from a Historical Perspective
- Nattokinase: A Promising Alternative in Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases.
Published on 2018, July 5
Hongjie Chen from the Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Third Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China.
Eileen M. McGowan, Sara Lal, Najah Nassif, Fatima Shad-Kaneez, Xiangin Qu, and Yiguang Lin from School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney, Broadway, NSW, Australia.
Nina Ren from Guangdong Online Hospital Clinic. Guangdong No. 2 Provincial Hospital, Guangzhou, China Yiguang Lin, School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney, Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia.
- Phylloquinone (Vitamin K1): Occurrence, Biosynthesis, and Functions.
Published on 2017, December 17
Basset GJ and Latimer S and Soubeyrand E from Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32608, United States
Fatihi A from Institute Jean-Pierre Bourgin, UMR1318 INRA-AgroParisTech, Versailles, France.
Block A from Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture; 1600 SW 23rd Drive Gainesville FL 32608, United States.
- Pyrroloquinoline Quinone, PubChem, National Institute of Health
U.S. National Library of Medicine
National Center for Biotechnology Information
- The Nutritional Benefits of Fermented Superfood Natto
Author: Chelsea Debret
One Green Planet
- “The correct way to eat Natto, the delicious Japanese superfood”
Author: O Dat and Yuri I
Published Date: April 16, 2019
- The company distributes fresh handmade Natto in the United States.
Author: Kana Yasuda
Page: Nichi Bei Weekly
Date: June 8, 2017
- “New Blood: Soybean extract wins EU approval”
Author: Shane Starling
Page: News and Analysis on Supplements, Health and Nutrition – Europe
- Doctor’s Best Nattokinase 2000 FUs, 90 Veggies Caps
Website: iHerb Love Letter
- Nattokinase 2000 FU 90 Veggies Caps
Health Interest Heart Health
Website: Doctor’s Best Science-Based Nutrition