A study published in the October journal of Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis shows Pycnogenol® (pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree reduced edema, a typical side-effect of antihypertensive medications, by 36 percent in patients taking these medications.
According to Dr. Gianni Belcaro, lead researcher of the study, more than 35 percent of patients taking antihypertensive medications are believed to suffer from edema as a side-effect. This happens because the antihypertensive medications cause blood vessels to dilate, which allows easier blood flow and thus lowers blood pressure. However, as a side-effect this causes blood to pool in the vessels of the lower legs. In result they stretch and liquid seeps into tissue causing swelling (edema). Hypertension is a serious risk factor for developing severe cardiovascular incidents some time in the future and thus the necessity for treatment justifies the development of edema as a side-effect.
Antihypertensive medications reduce pressure by inhibiting constriction of blood vessels. "The larger the blood vessel diameter, the easier blood will flow with less pressure," said Dr. Belcaro. "In order to avoid blood pooling in the lower legs and feet (edema), blood vessel diameters must adjust when a person changes positions from laying down to standing up. Results of this study show Pycnogenol to improve blood circulation, avoiding blood pools and reducing edema."
The study sampled 53 hypertensive patients at the G D'annunzio University in Italy. All patients suffered from edema of their ankles and feet as a result of antihypertensive medications and were taking medications at the same dosage for at least four months. Twenty-three patients were being treated with ACE inhibitors (brand names Mavik®, Altace®) and 30 patients were being treated with nifedipine (calcium channel blockers) (brand names Adalat®, Procardia®).
The eight week study sampled 27 patients with 150 mg Pycnogenol treatment per day versus an equivalent dosage of placebo for the remaining 26 patients.
Blood vessels causing edema of the lower legs were measured using a strain gauge plethysmography (a general instrument for determining and registering variations in the size of an organ or limb). Patients were first measured in supine position then while standing up.
After an eight week Pycnogenol treatment, patients treated with ACE inhibitors experienced a 35 percent decrease of ankle swelling while patients being treated with nifedipine experienced a 36 percent decrease of ankle swelling. According to Dr. Belcaro, Pycnogenol helps defy a major side-effect of antihypertensive medication. Furthermore, Pycnogenol has a blood pressure-lowering effect itself and thus helps to achieve a healthy cardiovascular system.
Pycnogenol was chosen for the study because it has demonstrated its effectiveness with conditions such as edema, DVT and blood circulation improvement in many clinical trials. In 2005, a study published in Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis showed Pycnogenol to be effective in reducing edema during long airplane flights lasting 7-12 hours. In 2004, a study published in Life Sciences revealed patients who took prescribed high blood pressure medication were able to cut the dosage in half when they supplemented with Pycnogenol. More than 35 years of research exhibiting Pycnogenol's effectiveness for improved blood circulation and cardiovascular health can be found at www.pycnogenol.com.
Pycnogenol is a natural plant extract originating from the bark of the Maritime pine that grows along the coast of southwest France and is found to contain a unique combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids, which offer extensive natural health benefits. The extract has been widely studied for the past 35 years and has more than 220 published studies and review articles ensuring safety and efficacy as an ingredient. Today, Pycnogenol is available in more than 600 dietary supplements, multi-vitamins and health products worldwide. For more information or a copy of this study, visit www.pycnogenol.com.
Natural Health Science Inc., (NHS) based in Hoboken, New Jersey, is the North American distributor for Pycnogenol® (pic-noj-en-all) brand French maritime pine bark extract on behalf of Horphag Research. Pycnogenol® is a registered trademark of Horphag Research Ltd., Guernsey, and its applications are protected by U.S. patents #5,720,956 / #6,372,266 and other international patents. NHS has the exclusive rights to market and sell Pycnogenol® in North America and benefits from more than 35 years of scientific research assuring the safety and efficacy of Pycnogenol® as a dietary supplement. For more information about Pycnogenol® visit our web site at www.pycnogenol.com.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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