By Amy Campbell | August 13, 2007 12:13 pm
Last week, we took a closer look at a powerful, but lesser known, antioxidant called Pycnogenol. While this supplement may be new to you, it’s actually been fairly well studied. In fact, more than 220 published studies and articles focus on Pycnogenol.
We’ve learned that Pycnogenol may play a role in helping to improve both diabetes and blood pressure control. This week, we’ll see how Pycnogenol may help with two other common health problems: deep vein thrombosis and asthma.
If you’re a frequent flier, no doubt you’ve heard that flying can increase your risk of developing blood clots in your legs (called deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, for short). Being immobile for long periods of time, as well as low cabin pressure, prevents blood from circulating easily, and can cause swelling in the feet and legs. This condition sets the stage for DVT. If a blood clot forms in your legs, pieces may break off and travel to the lungs, leading to a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. The good news is that taking Pycnogenol may lower your chances of getting DVT. In a study published in 2004, 198 people were given 200 milligrams of Pycnogenol before an eight-hour flight, and 300 milligrams of Pycnogenol during and after the flight. The control group was given placebo pills. The control group had five thrombotic events, while a few people in the Pycnogenol group showed only some localized phlebitis.
Pycnogenol apparently has some anti-inflammatory properties, too. Twenty-six adults with asthma were given up to 200 milligrams of Pycnogenol daily for four weeks and then went on to a placebo regimen for the next four weeks. Twenty-two of the adults showed a positive response to Pycnogenol compared to the placebo. In another study, children with asthma who were given Pycnogenol showed improvement in lung function and a decrease in symptoms.
Pycnogenol has few reported side effects, making this a very safe supplement. However, it might interact with blood pressure, diabetes, and blood-thinning medicines. Therefore, always tell your health-care team about any and all dietary supplements that you’re taking.
The recommendation is to take no more than 50 milligrams of Pycnogenol three times daily. Also, check your blood glucose levels a little more often than usual if you decide to take Pycnogenol or any kind of supplement to see how they are affected.
You can find more information on Pycnogenol at www.pycnogenol.com.
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