Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fermented Asian Food Shown to Have Possible Protective Effect in Alzheimer's

People in Asia have been eating fermented foods for more than 1,000 years. One vegan fermented food, renowned in Asia for its ability to protect against heart attacks, was recently shown to have a powerful ability in lab experiments to prevent formation of the clumps of tangled protein involved in Alzheimer’s disease. if this works as well in the human brain as scientists expect, it will be a great addition to the tables of anyone who is concerned about this terrible disease.

Of course, every culture has a different view of what tastes good, and as I have not yet had a chance to try this food, I'll have to report back to you on what this product tastes like. If you've eaten natto, please post a comment below advising us about the taste and consistency.

Scientists in Taiwan are reporting in the Feb. 11 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication from the American Chemical Society, that "natto", a food made from fermented soybeans, has a very powerful effect in the lab.

Rita P. Y. Chen and colleagues point out that this food is made from boiled soybeans, and that it contains an enzyme (nattokinase) with effects similar to the clot-busting drugs used in treating heart disease. Nattokinase is also sold a dietary supplement to improve the body’s circulatory system. This appears to be the first study on whether nattokinase also can dissolve amyloids, those tangled proteins involved in Alzheimer’s disease and several other health problems.

In the study, the nattokinase degraded several kinds of amyloid fibrils, suggesting its possible use in the treatment of amyloid-related diseases. And because natto has been ingested by humans for a long time, it is worth noting that the normal safety-testing concerns for new therapies may not have to be quite as rigorous.



Dave Jensen said...

A well known internet troll posted this on the Internet. Even though it was only one patient, because bleeding issues stemming from combinations of products like aspirin and St. Johns Wort, or aspirin and Nattokinase, etc, can be dangerous, even though I distrust the source, I'll provide you with this additional information he found in a pubmed search:

"Nattokinase is used as a health-promoting medicine for preventing thrombosis due to its fibrinolytic activity. Cerebral microbleed is remnant of blood extravasations from the damaged vessels related to cerebral microangiopathies. We report a patient, having used aspirin for secondary stroke prevention, who had an acute cerebellar hemorrhage after taking nattokinase 400 mg daily for 7 consecutive days. In addition to the hemorrhagic lesion, multiple microbleeds were demonstrated on brain MR images. We suggest
that nattokinase may increase risk of intracerebral
hemorrhage in patients who have bleeding-prone cerebral microangiopathy and are receiving other antithrombotic agent at the same time."

Bottom line, never combine anti-thrombotic agents without speaking to your doctor.


Anonymous said...

I bought fermented soybeans in a $3 small 4 pack from my local Asian grocery. It did not taste bad at at all and I grew to like it even better. You can use Natto cultures to ferment black beans. I may give it a try to do my own. Thanks for a great blog.