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.