Sacramento is one of the best places to buy natto. Are you interested in researching the health benefits of certain Japanese-style foods found in a few Sacramento markets that specialize in Japanese foods? In the January 1, 2011 Sacramento Bee article by Gina Kim, “Familiar rituals of food and family mark traditional Japanese celebrations,” the chef and owners at Oto’s Marketplace in Sacramento were interviewed about how customary Japanese foods marking the new year are prepared.
For example, on December 31, 2010, New Year’s Eve, the chef and cooks at Oto’s Marketplace began at midnight on Friday and worked through the early morning and the rest of the day to fill 900 orders of sushi. It’s customary on New Years Day for sushi to be eaten, at least by the Japanese community in Sacramento.
The New Year is the most important holiday in Japanese culture, and the festivities are celebrated over several days with specific and/or lavish meals. Looking for Japanese groceries to ask more questions about how to prepare or eat natto as food? (Read the great reviews).
If you’re looking for Japanese grocery stores to inquire about ‘natto’, see Just Hungry’s list of Japanese grocery stores in California. Locally, in Sacramento, Oto’s Marketplace, is located at 4990 Freeport Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95822. For a Japanese market in Davis, there’s Kim’s Market: Asian Food, 636 4th Street (Between F and E st.) Davis, CA 95616.
Try some of the fresh mochi or mochi ice cream. What about the health benefits of certain types of food served by the Japanese community in Sacramento? There’s natto. And for more health-related information to read, including information about natto and other fermented foods, check out the book, Handbook of fermented functional foods.
See, Amazon.com: Handbook of Fermented Functional Foods (Functional. Check out the university and public libraries to see where a copy of this book also may be available through interlibrary loans. There are other health-related books that mention natto. Also see more information on The Handbook of Fermented Functional Foods at the e-books-tutorials Geeklandman website.
One excellent source for research is the 2007 hardcover book, Reverse Heart Disease Now, by Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., James C. Roberts, M.D., with Martin Zucker. On page 133, under “Our Recommendations” the authors note, “For both prevention and as part of a therapeutic program, we suggest eating natto two or three times a week. You can find it at Japanese grocers or health food stores.”
Some vitamin K2 supplements are in the MK-7 form and contain some natto. But don’t take vitamin K-2 in supplements if you take Coumadin (Warfarin) or similar blood thinners (anticoagulants). A vitamin K supplement will neutralize Coumadin.
What’s the story on the benefits of natto? There has been a lot of research on natto and nattokinase on blood pressure. According to the Jeffrey Dach MD, TrueMed MD site, “In 1980, while studying physiological chemistry at the University of Chicago Medical School, Japanese researcher Hiroyuki Sumi accidentally discovered that a traditional Japanese soy cheese which had been consumed for centuries, called “natto”, had the ability to dissolve clots. His research group published a paper on the discovery in 1987.”
In Japan, natto is eaten to lower blood pressure and for cardiovascular support. You can look over the confirmed research by several clinical trials in 1995, that studied the effects of nattokinase on blood pressure in both animal and human subjects at Miyazaki Medical College and Kurashiki University in Japan .
What natto does is inhibit the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE). When the ACE is inhibited, it has a lowering effect on blood pressure. According to the Jeffrey Dach MD, TrueMed MD site, in a human study, “nattokinase ingestion was associated with a 10 percent drop in blood pressure.”
So if natto is doing what ACE inhibiting drugs are doing, why prescribe drugs? In Japan, a lot of people eat natto. According to the article at the Jeffrey Dach MD, TrueMed MD site, natto “is a nutritional supplement which is considered safe, However, people with bleeding disorders or on blood thinners should use nattokinase only under medical supervision.”
First you have to find out whether your high blood pressure is caused by high renin levels, or whether you have hypertension with low renin levels. And your doctor can test that. Healthcare researchers claim that “common hypertension” is caused by too much renin.
As explained in detail at the Jeffrey Dach MD, TrueMed MD site, about 60 percent of people with hypertension have too much renin. So drugs given to people with too much renin are supposed to lower the renin level. Your doctor will give you a PRA test (plasma renin activity). It’s a routine blood sample test.
Another type of high blood pressure may be present in people who have normal or low renin. But only a third of people have low renin and high blood pressure. This type is called Volume (V) hypertension. A PRA test would show low renin (less that 0.65 ng/m/hr.) So for people with low renin and high blood pressure, many doctors prescribe the water pills. In the past, doctors used to prescribe those dangerous calcium channel blockers.
But if you have high renin hypertension, and the PRA levels are greater than 0.65 ng/m/hr, your hypertension might be due to your renin-angiotensin system. Conventional medicine might prescribe ACE inhibitors or Beta Blockers. But what if you don’t want to take drugs and just want to eat some kind of fermented soy food like natto as a renin-inhibitor? Instead of eating ‘natto,’ you could try a Resperate® machine and practice slow breathing. The decision is up to you, of course, as you work closely with your health care provider.
Also, you need to find out whether your blood pressure issues are caused by a tumor that causes your body to excrete a hormone or other chemical that in turn, causes your blood pressure to rise. So you need to determine the causes rather than just look at the symptoms.
That’s why you need to talk to a doctor that will give you an answer and a blood test rather than just prescribe a pill based only on two or three blood pressure readings minutes after you enter (or before you leave) the medical office. Treat the cause rather than only the symptoms.
On one hand, your doctor wants to measuring your renin so you can identify which type of antihypertensive medication is most likely to be effective and possibly safer. Ask your doctor that if “water pills” have been tried and don’t work for you, is it because you have high renin hypertension? So if your tests reveal it is, talk it over with your doctor and decide whether you want those new renin-inhibiting drugs or want to first find the cause of why your renin is so high.
You could eat four stalks of celery perhaps as an ACE inhibitor. Also, check out the article, “Celery studies yield blood pressure boon – 3-n-butyl phthalide chemical contained in celery,” Science News, May 9, 1992 by Carol Ezzell. This article has been referred to frequently when writing about using foods as medicine.
Mention of the details contained in this article appear in the book, New Foods for Healing, by Selene Yeager and the Editors of Prevention Health Books, published by Bantam Books in 1998. References to some of the details of various research studies on celery appear on pages 171-173.
Also see the book, Best Choices from the People’s Pharmacy, page 388. A section in the book mentions the celery remedy. But they note, 8 stalks of celery. Other sources reiterate 4 stalks of celery were used in Mr. Le’s celery remedy brought to the attention of the University of Chicago investigation. Here’s how the first research on celery and hypertension in a science research environment may have begun.
In 1992, at the University of Chicago Medical Center, Mr. Minh Le, father of a University of Chicago medical student, had been diagnosed with hypertension, decided that instead of cutting back on salt, as advised by his physician, he wanted to use a traditional Chinese remedy for high blood pressure.
Traditional Chinese medicine recommended eating about four stalks of celery (about a quarter pound) daily for a one-week stretch and cutting out the celery for the following three weeks before resuming the regimen. Mr. Minh Le also refused to take the standard blood pressure medications prescribed by his physician, according to the book, The New Healing Herbs, by Michael Castleman.
The New Healing Herbs, book also reports that Mr. Minh Le ate the four celery stalks for one week and took three weeks off. Within a week his blood pressure dropped from 158/96 to 118/82.
Mr. Minh Le, through his son, brought this ancient Chinese folkloric remedy to researchers to test at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where the investigators tested animals by injecting the mammals with a small amount of 3-n-butyl phthalide, a chemical compound that is found in celery. Mr. Minh Le’s son, Quang Le, and University of Chicago pharmacologist, William Elliot, Ph.D isolated the compound,3-n-butyl phthalide and injected rats with the equivalent amount of what’s found in four stalks of celery.
Not only did the rat’s blood pressure drop 13 percent in a week, but the rats’ cholesterol levels also dropped by seven percent. The high fiber in the celery helped to lower the cholesterol levels in the animal experiment.
The chemical that reduced the animals’ blood pressure readings turned out to be phthalide. It’s known in scientific circles that phthalide relaxes the muscles and arteries that regulate blood pressure.
When arteries, blood vessels, and muscles are relaxed, the blood vessels then dilate, according to the researchers. Phthalide is a chemical that also reduced the amount of “stress hormones,” called catecholamines, in the blood. Don’t confuse ‘phthalide’ which relaxes muscles and arteries that comes from celery with ‘phthalates,’ which are chemicals leaching from plasticizers and plastics.
Interestingly, stress hormones also raise blood pressure since catecholamines constrict blood vessels. Even though there were no such invention as blood pressure monitors in ancient China, Asian folk medicine practitioners using traditional Chinese folk medicine, advised their own hypertension patients for the past thousand years to eat four to five celery-stalks every day for a week, then stop for three weeks.
Natto also is another Asian approach
You could eat natto. Or you could take Vitamin K-2, the MK-7 form that contains natto. Or CO-Q 10 in the best absorbable form for you. But does your vitamin K-2, MK-7 form actually contain enough natto? Look at the label.
Check with your doctor. Or you could buy Japanese natto at a Japanese-style grocery, or talk to a naturopath who also is an MD or DO and trained in the uses of natto and other nutrients, foods, and is familiar with the renin-inhibiting abilities of natto.
Would you prefer to eat fermented soy products, such as natto, or take drugs? Well, that’s between your doctor and yourself, of course. You don’t even know whether it would work. You can’t take natto if you’re on blood thinners. Regarding natto, also see my other Examiner article titled, How to raise your good (HDL) cholesterol and lower your bad (LDL) cholesterol.
What can you do? You find the cause of your hypertension rather than put a bandaid on one of the symptoms. In another study, according to an abstract on the SpringerLink site of a dialysis-based test research article, “Anti–hypertensive substances in fermented soybean, natto,” Natto is a traditional Japanese fermented food. It’s made by fermenting boiled soy beans with a Bacillus called natto. “Its contents of inhibitors against the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE, EC18.104.22.168) were investigated.”
Check out the study done at the Department of Brewing and Fermentation, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Sakuragaoka, Setagaya, 156 Tokyo, Japan and also at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery, National Food Research Institute, Kannondai, 305 Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan. Researchers were Akiko Okamoto, Hiroshi Hanagata, Yukio Kawamura and Fujiharu Yanagida.
If you want to raise your HDL (good cholesterol) you might view the Dr. David Williams.com site about how “Advanced Nattokinase ™” raises your HDL cholesterol levels. The product even takes out the vitamin K for those who don’t want that vitamin in their nattokinase.
Natto “resembles plasmin (an enzyme that’s critical to break down and dissolve unwanted fibrin), and also increases your levels of plasmin,” according to the Dr. David Williams.com site. “This is the key to improving your circulation and keeping your blood flowing to your heart as it should.” The product contains ‘amla.’ It’s an Indian goosebery in the euphorbiaceae family used in Ayurvedic medicine for cardiovascular benefits.
The ellagic acid is extracted from amla, according to the site, also a clinically-researched antioxidant and heart health promoter. The site notes that, “Dr. Williams has discovered a rare form of amla called Amlamax. This form of amla consists of pure extracts which are standardized to contain 20% of hydrolysable ellagic acid.”
All you have to do now is find the three clinical studies that… “found that 500 mg of Amlamax a day for three months raised levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, and lowered triglyceride and C-reactive protein levels.” So check out the site.
Where are the three studies cited on the Dr. David Williams.com Web site that discussed the product?
Readers need to know what the studies were so they can look up the articles to read and photocopy to show to their health care professionals. Also check out the Mountain Home Nutritionals Health Bulletin.
If you want to eat natto, try the recipes at the Natto Recipes site. Try adding vinegar first before you add any other condiments to get rid of the ammonia smell of natto or adding yogurt to get rid of natto’s slimy texture if you’re buying frozen natto from an ethnic groceries store.
Other methods of raising HDL and lowering inflammation include taking certain amino acids such as a small amount of taurine and carnitine. Are you also consuming a spoonful of cod liver oil to restore nutrients drained by your lifestyle or eating habits?
What you eat or medicines you take can drain your body of nutrients. If there’s inflammation in your body causing problems with cholesterol, what foods can you take to restore the nutrients you need?
Your first step is to look at your good (HDL) cholesterol. If it’s genetically low, here’s how you can raise it and override some of your genes with foods and natural (not synthetic) nutrients that come from foods. Does your form of natural vitamin E have all of the tocotrienols?
According to the book, Is Your Cardiologist Killing You? by Sherry A. Rogers, M.D., (page 25) your good cholesterol HDL moves your bad cholesterol, LDL to your liver where it is sent to the bile and the intestines (your gut) to be removed forever. Looking for research with foods?
People now have a choice of whether to turn to conventional medicine and take (if prescribed) their renin-lowering drugs or eat a fermented soybean product called ‘natto,’ which also is being researched to lower high blood pressure. Individuals also could take their CO-Q10 in the more absorbable forms, their fish oils, and if healthy enough, use their slow breathing machines such as Resperate® or their Breatheasy™ CDs. But how does a traditional Japanese fermented soybean product called ‘natto’ lower high blood pressure?
Read the warnings on the dangers of “water pill” in the article on the Jeffrey Dach MD site. You see, if you have the high-renin type of hypertension and don’t know it because you’ve not had the proper blood test, and your doctor just prescribes the water pill to start you off, how do you know whether it will or won’t work right on a high-renin type of hypertensive patient. You don’t unless you’re tested and your doctor knows that high-renin and low-renin type hypertensive patients need different medicines or different approaches to handling the cause of their high blood pressure.
Why go through staying on that pill for a month before you come in for a blood pressure reading only to find out it wasn’t the right drug for you? That’s the problem with treating something that may have a cause that’s either genetic or due to toxicity from heavy metals or plastics or even rocket fuel in the water. You don’t know, and you need to find the cause.
In the meantime, check out natto and fermented soy products research and see whether it applies to your high renin levels, if you have too high renin levels. You want to see whether there is a food solution first. Are you deficient in magnesium? What if your blood pressure problem is caused by a mineral imbalance?
You don’t know until you start looking under every stone to find the answer to what caused your problem. If it’s a genetic problem inherited from your family, find out what happens in your body as a result of the gene variation.
Is it your kidneys not removing salt properly or some other issue? Will a certain set of minerals help? Are you deficient in any minerals or types of foods? Ask your doctor whether CO-Q10 and nattokinase or natto in its food form will be of help. Or find a qualified medical doctor who knows about research with fermented natto and the more absorbable version of CO-Q 10, uses of magnesium, and what other minerals you need.
Look to food first for your research and see who else is studying a food item that may help. Also see the books by Stephen Sinatra, M.D. titled, Amazon.com: The Sinatra Solution: Metabolic Cardiology, and Amazon.com: Lower Your Blood Pressure in Eight Weeks. Also read the article online in a PDF file, Metabolic Cardiology, by Dr. Sinatra.
You never know where the answer lies until you look for it. In the meantime, do your research. Check out another article on foods that are renin inhibitors. Look at the Handbook of Fermented Functional Foods.
Read the article, from Science Daily/Science News Dec 6, 2007, “Mice Lacking Enzyme Renin Stay Lean On High-fat Diet, With Little Exercise.” Interestingly, mice stay lean on any diet when they don’t have renin.
That study gives you a clue that food which inhibits too much renin might reduce abdominal fat in apple-shaped people with metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. But the study was done just with mice. How much can be applied to humans remains to be seen. Look at the patterns. See any connection?
What that study does show is a connection. The study shows the connection between an enzyme involved in blood pressure control and symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Researchers also report in the December 2007 issue of Cell Metabolism, a publication of Cell Press, that mice lacking the enzyme known as renin are lean and resistant to gaining weight on a high-fat diet, even though they continue to eat just as much and don’t exercise more.
The answer you want is to find the mechanism of how your own body is working because if you have an overactive renin-angiotensin system, it’s important to know that it has been associated with obesity and the metabolic syndrome as well as high blood pressure. Keep researching because maybe you are what you already ate. So what can you do?
Your first step after finding out what your body really needs is to research natto, if that is what you actually need. In biology labs, when you want to raise the blood pressure in rats, you feed the rats sugar.
Also check out the medical study, ” Do antihypertensive drugs precipitate diabetes in predisposed men ?” British Medical Journal, 298:1147-1152, April 29, 1989.
For more info: browse some of my books, How Nutrigenomics Fights Childhood Type 2 Diabetes & Weight Issues (2009) or Predictive Medicine for Rookies (2005). Or see my books, How to Safely Tailor Your Foods, Medicines, & Cosmetics to Your Genes (2003) or How to Interpret Family History & Ancestry DNA Test Results for Beginners (2004) or How to Open DNA-driven Genealogy Reporting & Interpreting Businesses. (2007). Check out my free audio lecture on Internet Archive, How nutrigenomics fights childhood type 2 diabetes. Also, you can see a list of some of my paperback books at publisher’s site.