Pycnogenol for Circulation Support in Smokers

Platelet Reactivity Index is a measure of blood cell “stickiness” (platelet aggregation) which is associated with blood clot formation and the onset of cardiovascular problems like stroke and thrombosis.

Among many other dramatically higher cardiovascular risk factors (not to mention detrimental effects including respiratory problems, accelerated aging, wrinkles and more), smokers face much higher risk of platelet aggregation (clumping). In fact, some research has shown that a measurable increase in platelet aggregation can be detected in a mere five minutes after smoking three cigarettes.

Pycnogenol circulation benefits may include biological activities that help to minimize Platelet Reactivity Index, thereby supporting clear, healthy bloodflow — a property that may be especially helpful for smokers who are at greater risk for blood clot problems.

In one small study, PYC was evaluated as a means of reducing platelet aggregation in a group of 19 heavy smokers. During the course of the study, researchers administered Pycnogenol dosage ranging from 25 mg to 200 mg, taking blood from the subjects two hours before and two hours after the PYC supplementation. Researchers discovered that all Pycnogenol dosage levels administered were associated with a reduction in Platelet Reactivity Index. However, researchers found that a single Pycnogenol 200 mg serving appeared to have the most significant and immediate reduction of platelet aggregation.

  • Surprisingly, the circulation benefits associated with Pycnogenol 200 mg were found to linger for six days after administration.
Pycnogenol circulation benefits have been suggested to include a dose-dependent reduction in platelet aggregation.

Pycnogenol circulation benefits have been suggested to include a dose-dependent and relatively quick reduction in platelet aggregation.

Researchers theorized that these benefits may be linked to PYC’s ability to inhibit thromboxane A-2, a substance that increases platelet aggregation; as well as its ability to stimulate nitric oxide production, which opens and relaxes blood vessels for more robust circulation. They further reported that while smoking is associated with a rapid increase in thromboxane A-2, PYC supplementation appeared to reduce thromboxane A-2 back down to the levels typically seen in non-smokers.

In response to this study and other research on PYC’s influence on platelet aggregation, some scientists have asserted:

 These observations suggest that Pycnogenol® supplementation reduces a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, that is, platelet aggregation in smokers. The bioflavonoids in Pycnogenol® reduced platelet aggregation stimulated by tobacco smoke.”

After the positive results from the above study were published, the research company that makes  Pycnogenol® filed for and was ultimately granted a patent on PYC’s use for the regulation of platelet function (US Patent 5,720,956).

As promising as PYC may be in regulating platelet aggregation in smokers, a far better option is available that presents even more far-reaching effects for overall health and well-being: Quitting smoking has been found to have a significantly favorable influence on platelet reactivity.

Pütter M, Grotemeyer KHM, Würthwein G et al. 1999. Inhibition of smoking-induced platelet aggregation by Aspirin and Pycnogenol®. Thromb Res, 95:155–61.
 Araghi-Niknam, Hosseini S, Larson D, Rohdewald P, Watson RR. Pine bark extract reduces platelet aggregation.Integr Med. 2000 Mar 21;2(2):73-77.
Terres W, Becker P, Rosenberg A. Changes in cardiovascular risk profile during the cessation of smoking. Am J Med. 1994;97(3):242–249
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