Pine nut extract can prevent heart failure, says new research

London: A powerful antioxidant extracted from the bark of the French maritime pine tree can help prevent damage to the heart caused by high blood pressure. The study to be published in an upcoming edition of the journal of Cardiovascular Toxicology demonstrates that Pycnogenol® can counteract the “wearing out” of the heart due from cardiac remodeling which is a key step in the progression of heart failure.

In hypertension, the over-worked heart gradually wears out, resulting in the weakening of the heart muscle and increasing of heart chamber volume.
This process (known as cardiac remodeling) may eventually cause heart failure when the heart insufficiently supplies the body with oxygenated blood. The study showed that Pycnogenol® prevents the heart from getting worn out during hypertension. Cardiac chamber walls showed a significantly higher rate of collagen connective tissues than control groups.

Lead researcher of the study Dr. Ronald Watson, professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Arizona said “the effectiveness of Pycnogenol® supplementation is a great option for many people who want an alternative to prescription medications such as beta blockers or ACE inhibitors. This new study shows Pycnogenol® administers a therapeutic effect to limit the degenerative process in patients predisposed to congestive heart failure.”

The study was conducted at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Elderly female mice (18 months old) were randomly divided into four groups: control mice, mice receiving Pycnogenol® only, mice receiving L-NAME only (a substance which causes arterial constriction) and mice receiving both Pycnogenol® and L-NAME. Pycnogenol® and L-NAME were administered in tap water and the study was approved by the Animal Review Committee at the University of Arizona.

One group of hypertensive mice received Pycnogenol® in drinking water for four weeks and another group of hypertensive mice was left untreated. After five weeks, the hearts of the latter control group had significantly increased in size as a result of hypertension. In the Pycnogenol® treated group, hypertension and heart function parameters resembled those found in healthy control mice with healthy blood pressure.

“This study provides evidence that oral administration of Pycnogenol® reversed cardiovascular remodeling induced by L-NAME by blocking nitric oxide production, which leads to hypertension and finally cardiomyopathy,”
said Watson.

After a detailed investigation of the heart tissue, Watson found Pycnogenol® supplementation to significantly enhance the connective collagen matrix of cardiac tissue. Whereas the chronic hypertension in mice led to a significant loss of connective collagen fibers, Pycnogenol® significantly increased the collagen presence, resulting in stronger cardiac chambers.

Previous studies have shown Pycnogenol® supplementation to be associated with improved cardiovascular health, such as cholesterol reduction, blood pressure control and prevention of thrombosis.

According to the UK’s Department of Health 275,000 people have a heart attack annually and over 110,000 people in England die every year from heart disease. Data from the London Heart Failure Study also shows around 40% of people die from heart failure within a year of initial diagnosis.

Watson presented the new research this month at the SupplySide East Educational Conference and Trade Show in Secaucus, NJ. Previous clinical research shows Pycnogenol® to battle coronary heart disease and stroke, high blood cholesterol and hypertension. Research shows Pycnogenol® to diminish the major cardiovascular risk factors simultaneously while offering a safe, natural approach.

About Pycnogenol®

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.

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