Authentic Nattokinase: High Standards Equal Trustworthy Ingredients

June 14, 2019

Ensure JNKA Accreditation to Know What You Are Taking

by Anthony Thomas, Ph.D.

Tradition of Use  

Nattokinase, like many dietary supplements, is based on a traditional natural remedy. Nattokinase is based on natto, a traditional Japanese food consumed for over 1,000 years. Fermenting cooked soybeans with Bacillus subtilis natto, a healthy probiotic, created a sticky food long associated with cardiovascular health benefits.

In 1987, scientists were able to gain a better understanding of why natto was beneficial. Sumi et al. [1] showed that natto contained a potent fibrinolytic enzyme they named nattokinase. This enzyme degrades the protein fibrin, the main constituent of blood clots. The action of breaking down blood clots has health implications for many areas of the body resulting in increased interest in natural remedies like nattokinase. But not all nattokinase is created equally.

Creating New Standards

In 1998, Japan Bio Science Laboratory (JBSL) was the first company to isolate and market nattokinase.  JBSL's NSK-SD® Nattokinase is produced from non-GMO soybeans fermented using JBSL's patented strain of Bacillus subtilis natto.  NSK-SD® Nattokinase is recognized by the Japan Health and Nutrition Food Authorization and the Japan Nattokinase Association (JNKA) as authentic nattokinase. The ingredient has NSF certification for verified compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP).   

JBSL is the first and only company to demonstrate oral bioavailability and in vivo bioactivity in humans for their verified nattokinase dietary ingredient.  The company has the most science demonstrating efficacy and safety for their NSK-SD® Nattokinase through numerous preclinical and human clinical trials.  NSK-SD® Nattokinase has been shown to support healthy blood flow/circulation, whole blood viscosity, blood pressure, and overall cardiovascular health.

Certification for Authenticity                                       

JNKA is an industry association in Japan committed to increasing awareness with consumers as to the health benefits of authentic nattokinase and validating products that claim to contain nattokinase.  The "JNKA Mark" is an accreditation mark authorized ONLY for products claiming to contain nattokinase that meet the strict standard criteria set by JNKA including identification tests to verify authentic nattokinase proven safe for human consumption.  JNKA acknowledges that there are many products containing "counterfeit" enzymes claiming to be nattokinase in the market and many manufacturers of such products (i.e., dietary supplements) are not even aware that the raw material used is not authentic nattokinase.

For safety reasons, JNKA strongly recommends consumers avoid products that do not contain verified authentic nattokinase.  Such counterfeit products may contain a protease enzyme of similar size to nattokinase that is capable of degrading fibrin in vitro (e.g., test tube), but this does not mean the enzyme is authentic nattokinase and lacks the research verified functionality and safety.  Suppliers of counterfeit nattokinase generally provide verification of enzyme size and fibrin degradation activity in vitro; therefore, it is necessary for additional testing methods to differentiate authentic nattokinase from other protease enzymes that exert fibrinolytic activity in vitro.  JNKA employs such testing to verify authentic nattokinase is used in the manufacture of products that bear the JNKA accreditation mark. 

Products with Certification

Presently, there is only one JNKA member in the U.S., Jarrow Formulas, that provides genuine, JNKA-certified NSK-SD® Nattokinase as a finished product for consumers.

1.     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, 43:1110-1111.