Near-fatal brush with nattokinase

Here is precisely why I have spoken out against nattokinase: People may put faith in this "supplement" when there are virtually no data to support its use in such dangerous conditions as pulmonary embolism.

Pulmonary embolism occurs when a large volume of blood clots in the veins of the pelvis, abdomen, and into the legs. A clot breaks off and lodges in the pulmonary arteries of the lungs. This can be fatal within minutes to hours, the victim struggling to breathe, since oxygen is not transferred to the blood and it causes terrible pain in the chest.

The treatments are fairly obnoxious: intravenous anticoagulants (blood thinners), followed by oral blood thinners like warfarin. While they carry risk of bleeding and other long-term risks, it's better than dying.

Would you bet that a "nutritional supplement" manufacturer's vague claims and lack of data are sufficient proof to treat a life-threatening condition? You're a fool if you are.

Anyone reading these pages knows that I am a vigorous supporter of nutritional supplements. I even consult for the nutritonal supplement industry. But I am also an advocate of TRUTH, not BS.

Here is a woman from England who inquired whether she should stop her husband's warfarin in favor of nattokinase. This is precisely the sort of thing that can happen because of the campaign of misinformation behind nattokinase.

Dr. Davis,

Thank you for your very interesting blogs, which I came across searching for natural alternative treatments to warfarin.

My husband has been following the low carb, high fat, real food regime over the past few years. He got off all the blood pressure and cholesterol drugs and never felt better. He even got his blood sugar down from a recorded high that we are aware of 13 nmol/L (234 mg/dol) to 6.1 nmol/L 109.8 mg/dl).

We were on holiday in the Caribbean. Just before our return home, we did a trip to a neighbouring island that included non-alcoholic fruit punches. They tasted great, but were very sweet. I broke my normal refusal to drink these things, but only had a couple of glasses. (After all, we were on holiday!) My husband believes he consumed around 1.5 litres of the stuff and now realises he was feeding his body a very toxic product – fructose. That night, he had an incredible toxic response and we only got him onto the plane with a visit to the hospital and a pain killer injection.

The symptoms of pulmonary embolism only showed 2 weeks later . . . and warfarin treatment was started. We would both like to use an alternative therapy if we can find someone with experience to provide the support.Do you know of any studies that support alternative options?

Do you know of any practitioners in the England who support a non-drug approach with an understanding of nutrition who we may be able to receive advice and support?

York, England