The venous system, varices & Pycnogenol
Do you suffer from varicose veins? Or do your legs become heavy, swollen and maybe even painful if you have to stand for a long time? These are symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency or, in plain English, venous weakness. According to an older human study that we found on the internet, people with venous weakness might benefit from supplementation with Pycnogenol.
No research is perfect, and this applies in particular to the study with which we now bother you. For example, the researchers did some inappropriate things with their groups of participants, which they sometimes separated and then put together again. Moreover, they do not say a word about who sponsored them.
The researchers, who were affiliated with Universita degli Studi di L'Aquila, experimented with 20 people who were diagnosed with chronic venous insufficiency. The Italians gave 10 participants 3 capsules each day with 100 milligrams of Pycnogenol, and 10 a placebo. The experiment lasted 60 days.
The subjects who took Pycnogenol reported a decrease of 74 and 60 percent of the swollen and heavy feeling in their legs, respectively.
The figure below shows that Pycnogenol decreased blood pressure in the vessels of the legs. The data in the table are from 30 Pycnogenol users. Ten of these are the users above, and another 20 users participated in an open label: these subjects knew that they were given Pycnogenol.
After the supplementation period, doctors determined the effect of the administration of Pycnogenol or the placebo.
The researchers' theory is that in people with chronic venous insufficiency, a type of immune cell in the bloodstream - the macrophages - is operating overly enthusiastically. The cells screte too much elastase and collagenase, and those enzymes affect the blood vessels. The phenols in Pycnogenol inhibit the activity of these enzymes.
Phytomedicine. 2000 Oct;7(5):383-8.
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