Posted on May 03, 2019, 6 p.m.
When it comes to aspirin alternatives for cardiovascular disease prevention pycnogenol may be a top contender, this powerful antioxidant is extracted from French maritime bark and is backed by over 40 years of research, additionally it may have application for use in other health conditions.
The journal of Thrombotic Research published a study (abstract below) showing pycnogenol to be superior to aspirin at inhibiting smoking induced clotting, without the significant increase in bleeding time associated with aspirin use.
"The effects of a bioflavonoid mixture, Pycnogenol, were assessed on platelet function in humans. Cigarette smoking increased heart rate and blood pressure. These increases were not influenced by oral consumption of Pycnogenol or Aspirin just before smoking. However, increased platelet reactivity yielding aggregation 2 hours after smoking was prevented by 500 mg Aspirin or 100 mg Pycnogenol in 22 German heavy smokers. In a group of 16 American smokers, blood pressure increased after smoking. It was unchanged after intake of 500 mg Aspirin or 125 mg Pycnogenol. In another group of 19 American smokers, increased platelet aggregation was more significantly reduced by 200 than either 150 mg or 100 mg Pycnogenol supplementation. This study showed that a single, high dose, 200 mg Pycnogenol, remained effective for over 6 days against smoking-induced platelet aggregation. Smoking increased platelet aggregation that was prevented after administration of 500 mg Aspirin and 125 mg Pycnogenol. Thus, smoking-induced enhanced platelet aggregation was inhibited by 500 mg Aspirin as well as by a lower range of 100-125 mg Pycnogenol. Aspirin significantly (p<0.001) increased bleeding time from 167 to 236 seconds while Pycnogenol did not. These observations suggest an advantageous risk-benefit ratio for Pycnogenol."
Use of pycnogenol was not observed to significantly increase bleeding time, this has important implications as aspirin’s blood thinning properties can lead to serious hemorrhagic events; findings suggest pycnogenol may be more effective at decreasing pathologic platelet aggregation at a low dose without causing the increased bleeding that is linked to aspirin, and it may be an effective natural alternative deserving of more attention from mainstream medicine and the research community.
Pycnogenol carries a wide range of benefits that may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease such as being a blood pressure reducing, and an endothelial function enhancer that has been indicated in clinical studies to be therapeutic for those with hypertension. Pycnogenol addresses endothelial dysfunction, and has been shown to prevent damage in microcirculation, reduce required medication doses in those with hypertension, and to reduce intraocular hypertension in those with glaucoma.
It’s anti-inflammatory effects have been found to reduce C-reactive proteins, modulate downward Cox-1 and Cox-2 enzyme activity, down regulate matrix metalloproteinases enzymes, inhibit NF-kappaB activation, and reduce fibrinogen levels.
Those who fly frequently may also benefit from pycnogenol as studies suggest it may even be a preventative remedy for flight associated thrombosis, edema, and concerns related to radiotoxicity and immune suppression.
Evidence supports pycnogenol having cardioprotective properties, and suggests it should be more commonly accepted by the mainstream as being an effective and natural alternative to aspirin rather than synthetic chemicals.
Of course the main goal should be to remove the need for taking pills altogether by focusing on preventing cardiovascular disease from happening in the first place from the inside out via making better lifestyle choices in order to promote health and well being.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.