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Toxicological assessment of nattokinase derived from Bacillus subtilis var. natto

Lampe, Bradley J., English, J. Caroline
Food and chemical toxicology 2016 v.88 pp. 87-99
Bacillus subtilis var. natto, adverse effects, antihypertensive effect, bacteria, females, fermentation, humans, males, mice, natto, no observed adverse effect level, rats, soybeans, subchronic toxicity, subtilisin, toxicity testing, volunteers
Subtilisin NAT, commonly known as “nattokinase,” is a fibrinolytic enzyme produced by the bacterial strain B. subtilis var. natto, which plays a central role in the fermentation of soybeans into the popular Japanese food natto. Recent studies have reported on the potential anticoagulatory and antihypertensive effects of nattokinase administration in humans, with no indication of adverse effects. To evaluate the safety of nattokinase in a more comprehensive manner, several GLP-compliant studies in rodents and human volunteers have been conducted with the enzyme product, NSK-SD (Japan Bio Science Laboratory Co., Ltd., Japan). Nattokinase was non-mutagenic and non-clastogenic in vitro, and no adverse effects were observed in 28-day and 90-day subchronic toxicity studies conducted in Sprague–Dawley rats at doses up to 167 mg/kg-day and 1000 mg/kg-day, respectively. Mice inoculated with 7.55 × 108 CFU of the enzyme-producing bacterial strain showed no signs of toxicity or residual tissue concentrations of viable bacteria. Additionally consumption of 10 mg/kg-day nattokinase for 4 weeks was well tolerated in healthy human volunteers. These findings suggest that the oral consumption of nattokinase is of low toxicological concern. The 90-day oral subchronic NOAEL for nattokinase in male and female Sprague–Dawley rats is 1000 mg/kg-day, the highest dose tested.