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Mike41

Natto is the way to go!

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As you know, Mike, it's very tricky trying to extrapolate from animals to humans when it comes to anything in medicine. And the further away evolutionarily the animal is, the more fraught it gets. Personally, I barely pay attention to studies done in rats/mice, and pretty much instantly dismiss things in flies, worms or yeast.

Natto seems quite interesting, but so are a ton of other things. Trying to fit all of them into a diet is really not possible, so you have to pick and choose. It may seem a very small caloric price for a bit of natto daily, but when you count everything else, it all adds up and before you know you'd be consuming thousands of calories. And that's saying nothing about how all of these interact. Which is why the only solution is personalized medicine, as that would guide your priorities list.

 

 

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Just to remind everyone that the standard styrofoam natto package contains between 47 and 50 grams of the stuff.  This means that you need to eat two packages to get the 100g dose most of the cited articles mention.

I personally consume 5-6 single packages per week.

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My biotin intake is low according to CR. I was not convinced that this is necessarily true as even though I use mostly the large government databases, only non-fortified brewer's yeast and nutritional yeast, plus banana, are listed as sources.  Since I am effectively vegan, eggs are not a great source for me.

So, I was thinking that natto must contain some biotin, even though it's not listed, and I did a search.  Yep, I was right 🙂  Natto is a source of biotin, even though NCCDB doesn't list it.

But there is an interesting wrinkle here, of which I was not aware.  The best natto for biotin, and possibly for k2-7, is Hikiwari natto, which is made from crushed soybeans.  I guess they are more easily digestible, likely for both humans and bacteria.  I haven't seen hikiwari natto for sale around me, but I guess I will ask.

Wide Range of Biotin (Vitamin H) Content in Foodstuffs and Powdered Milks as Assessed by High-performance Affinity Chromatography

1535092910_ScreenShot2020-08-16at17_37_01.png.04dc80343d2ff05635d4c0875467189c.png

 

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I decided to give nattokinase supplementation a try, best bang for buck was bulk powder.  I like the reviews and the studies I’ve read. I can confirm that this particular bulk powder smells and tastes like the stringy snot stuff from the actual natto carton products, which is a good sign as far as I’m concerned since that’s where the nattokinase is in natto, and this may indicate the product is legit. I’m going with 1/8 teaspoon AKA a “pinch”, before bed and in the morning, which according to my milligram scale is about 110mg x2 or about 4,000 FU (fibrinolytic units).

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Ugh, Gordo. BulkSupplements is a good vendor and I buy several of their products (f.ex. grape seed extract, green tea extract etc.). However, I try to buy their capsules, not plain bulk powder. I hate measuring and fussing and it's always messy and I worry about freshness exposure and so on. I wish it was in capsules, but alas, so instead I bought my NK from Jarrow Formulas

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You can get an 1/8 teaspoon or “pinch” spoon which makes it easy, level it by scraping spoon against side of bag and it’s not too bad. Comes in resealable bag that is small, I’m keeping it in the fridge.  I like Jarrow too though.

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On 8/2/2020 at 6:13 AM, Dean Pomerleau said:

But given my strategy of minimizing shopping trips during these crazy times, I'm considering culturing my own natto again. I'll let everyone know if I do. 

I'm back here to report on my natto culturing experiment.

I regularly buy dried soybeans from nuts.com, although you can get them cheaper (i.e. $0.02/oz) on Amazon.  Since they double in weight when cooked, that is about 2 cents worth of soybeans for the equivalent of a 50g styrofoam container of natto.

Obviously the key ingredient is the natto spores. I bought 10g worth of spores for ~$3.25 on ebay. They took about 3 weeks to arrive (from China), hence the delay in my update.

As can be seen below, the spores come in 10 1-gram sleeves, which is really nice since it doesn't take much spore to culture a batch.

20200902_141640.jpg

The soybeans cook like other dried beans, taking about 1.5 hours on a low simmer until they are softened. Like the other legumes I eat, I cook a big batch and freeze them in individual 500g freezer bags for later combination into my starch mix. To make my first batch of natto, I took ~50g of frozen soybeans and thawed them in the microwave for about a minute. Then I spread them into a thin layer in a rectangular (6"x2.5") glass dish, as shown here:

20200902_142924.jpg

I then brought about 2 tsp of water to a boil and then poured about 1/4 of the contents of one of the 1-gram sleeves of natto spores into the water, stirring until the spores dissolve. As I said, it doesn't take much. Even that much of the spores was probably overkill for the amount of natto I was making.

Then I poured the spore water over the beans, stirred them around to make sure they were all moistened and then flattened the beans again in the glass dish. Then I covered the dish with a sheet of plastic wrap with a few holes poked in it:

20200902_143217.jpg

Next I put the dish on top of the metal disk shown above, which I in turn placed on top of a Salton mug warmer I've had for many years, shown below:

20200902_141937.jpg

I determined through a little experimentation that the metal disk acts as enough of a heat sink for the cup warmer so as to keep the glass disk on top at ~105degF, which is close to the optimal temperature for culturing natto.

I then covered the dish with a clean dish towel, as shown below and left it to ferment:

20200902_143229.jpg

24 hours later, it worked! Here is end result, nice and slimy natto. 🙂

20200902_142034.jpg

I then stored the natto in the fridge overnight before eating (as recommended in these instructions). I'm happy to report it tastes and smells like the store-bought natto.

Next time I'll probably scale up to make 100g at a time using a dinner plate rather than the glass dish to hold more beans.

Eating ~25g/day, I estimate these supplied should last months and cost a couple pennies per serving.

--Dean

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Brilliant! Well Dean, this looks so enticing I might not be able to resist and have to plunge in myself... I already make my own kefir, the advantage of that is the keffir grains seem to last a lifetime - I bought a kefir making kit from Amazon about 10 years ago that came with two packets of grains... and I'm still on the first package!

But how far can one go with all this? Folks here grow their own mushrooms too, and who can forget Dean's extensive garden! Btw. Dean are you still going strong with your garden veggies?

Then there's the traditional stuff like making your own sauerkraut cabbage, pickled cucumbers, wine and so on. Pretty soon you're doing nothing but growing/building your own food :) 

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Thanks Dean! Nice post! I am inspired now to make my own. I have an oven that will keep it at the correct temperature. I thought it would be harder to do. Also appreciate the sources provided.

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40 minutes ago, InquilineKea said:

Aren't you concerned about microplastics in those natto packets?

Nope. I mean, given that they are found everywhere nowadays, why focus on natto packages?

I find buying from a store easier than making it myself, but I am a rather lazy creature 🙂

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Some exposures are just plain much more risky than others - if you have a bunch of liquid touching a flexible plastic, it ISN'T a good thing. Also if it's encased in plastic, it's also NOT a good thing. Vegetables touching plastic polyethylene bags I'm less concerned about.

That plastic kind of looks like the plastic that's used in potato chips, and those have been associated with MASSIVE microplastic contamination

Edited by InquilineKea

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