WASHINGTON — Eating natto, a fermented food made from boiled soybeans, may be effective in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and various other diseases, according to a research article in a publication put out by the American Chemical Society, Washington.

The article "Amyloid-Degrading Ability of Nattokinase from Bacillus subtilis Natto" appeared in the Jan. 28 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Researchers from National Taiwan University in Taipei experimented to see whether nattokinase, an enzyme secreted by B. subtilis natto, may degrade amyloids that are related to various diseases. Results suggested nattokinase has amyloid-degrading ability.

"The discovery of an enzyme which can be safely taken orally and can degrade amyloid fibrils could be very useful in the therapy of amyloid-related diseases," the researchers said. "Nattokinase not only dissolved blood clots but also degraded amyloid fibrils. Our amyloid-degrading studies demonstrated that it is active at neutral pH and body temperature."

Researchers said further animal studies are needed to evaluate the therapeutic potential of nattokinase.