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Blood Thinning vs. Blood Viscosity

Are Proteolytic Enzymes Blood Thinners?
Many people ask whether proteolytic enzymes are blood thinners. The short answer is no, but they can support healthy blood viscosity, as they are comprised of protein-dissolving enzymes that support healthy circulation. To better understand the difference between blood thinning and blood viscosity, let’s first take a look at the blood clotting process.

Blood Clotting Process
When an injury leads to blood vessel damage, blood cells called platelets immediately begin to accumulate at the injury site to form a plug on the vessel wall [1]. Platelets also interact with a protein called fibrin that promotes the formation of a blood clot. Fibrin consists of strong fibers that encase blood cells, platelets, and blood plasma (the liquid portion of blood) to create a clot that prevents excessive bleeding.

Role of Plasmin and Blood Thinners

Blood Clot Fibrin

When the healing of the blood vessel wall is almost complete, another protein called plasmin becomes activated. Plasmin helps dissolve the fibrin-based blood clot when it is no longer needed [1]. Under healthy conditions, the body regulates this process without complications. However, if excessive clotting occurs, a clot may block a blood vessel and disrupt blood flow. Blood clots in certain parts of the body can become life-threatening, and blood thinners may be recommended in such cases.

Understanding Blood Thinners

Blood thinners, which are also called anticoagulants, are typically administered when a blood clot develops in a large vein found in the leg or travels toward the heart or lungs [2]. This form of treatment stops blood clots from getting bigger and prevents new clots from forming, but it does not dissolve blood clots [2]. There are different types of blood thinners on the market that prevent platelets from clumping to form a plug or block proteins from binding to platelets and cells. Blood thinners should be used with caution because they disrupt the normal blood clotting process, and this can lead to serious or dangerous side effects (e.g., excessive bleeding, chest pain, nausea) [2]. Blood viscosity, in simple terms, refers to how sticky the blood is and how easily it can flow through the circulatory system.

Proteolytic Enzymes – Gentle Blood Viscosity Support

Proteolytic enzymes support healthy blood viscosity with their powerful combination of fibrinolytic enzymes (fibrin-digesting) [3-6]. Two of the key enzymes are serrapeptase and nattokinase, which target fibrin and other proteins [3, 5]. In response to clot formation, the body may also experience swelling and inflammation as part of the natural healing process [1, 2]. Serrapeptase helps support healthy levels of fibrin as well as proteins linked to the body's natural healing and repair mechanisms [3, 4]. This means that regular serrapeptase supplementation:

  • Supports natural blood cleansing
  • Reinforces healthy circulation

Similarly, nattokinase is another fibrinolytic (fibrin-dissolving) enzyme that demonstrates an unmatched ability to support healthy fibrin levels [5-7]. Evidence also shows that nattokinase supplementation [7]:

  • Helps support healthy levels of fibrin
  • Supports healthy circulation by promoting blood cleansing

In Conclusion

Fibrin CLot Artery

Proteolytic enzymes support healthy blood viscosity without altering the body’s natural blood clotting and degradation pathways. Most importantly, taking proteolytic enzymes do not block the clotting process in a way that would cause excessive bleeding. They simply support healthy blood viscosity to reinforce the body’s ability to safely and naturally recover during the clotting process.


  1. Pieters M, Wolberg AS. Fibrinogen and fibrin: An illustrated review. Res Pract Thromb Haemost. 2019;3(2):161-172.
  2. Fox BD, Kahn SR, Langleben D, et al. Efficacy and safety of novel oral anticoagulants for treatment of acute venous thromboembolism: direct and adjusted indirect meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ. 2012;345:e7498-e7519.
  3. Mazzone A, Catalani M, Costanzo M, et al. Evaluation of Serratia peptidase in acute or chronic inflammation of otorhinolaryngology pathology: A multicentre, double-blind, randomized trial versus placebo. J Int Med Res. 1990;18(5):379-388.
  4. Al-Khateeb TH, Nusair Y. Effect of the proteolytic enzyme serrapeptase on swelling, pain and trismus after surgical extraction of mandibular third molars. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2008;37(3): 264-268.
  5. Pais E, Alexy T, Holsworth RE Jr, Meise HJ. Effects of nattokinase, a pro-fibrinolytic enzyme, on red blood cell aggregation and whole blood viscosity. Clin Hemorheol Microcirc. 2006;35:139-142.
  6. Sumi H, Hamada H, Tsushima H, et al. A novel fibrinolytic enzyme (nattokinase) in the vegetable cheese natto: A typical and popular soybean food in the Japanese diet. Experientia. 1987;43(10):1110-1111.
  7. Ren NN, Chen HJ, Li Y, Mcgowan GW, Lin YG. [A clinical study on the effect of nattokinase on carotid artery atherosclerosis and hyperlipidaemia]. Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2017;97(26):2038-2042.
  8. Rajamäki K, Lappalainen J, OOrni K, et al. Cholesterol crystals activate the NLRP3 inflammasome in human macrophages: A novel link between cholesterol metabolism and inflammation. PLoS One. 2010;5(7):e11765-e11790.
  9. Galkina E, Ley K. Immune and inflammatory mechanisms of atherosclerosis. Annu Rev Immunol. 2009;27:165-197.

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