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Wellness Foods + Supplements 3/2021

Wellness Foods & Supplements is the first European magazine devoted exclusively to health ingredients, nutraceutical foods and beverages. Questions about the trade magazine Wellness Foods & Supplements? Interested in subscribing or advertising? The board of editors at Wellness Foods & Supplements kindly remains at your disposal.

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Venous health Photo © : Adobe Stock/Kateryna_Kon Pycnogenol ® for strong and healthy veins Dr. Franziska Weichmann When blood cannot be pumped out of the legs anymore, painful swellings, itching, heaviness and skin changes (skin discoloration, varicose veins or ulcers) can occur. This condition is called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) and can result from damaged valves in the leg veins that are supposed to work against gravity to keep blood from flowing back down, leading to collected blood pools in the veins. The impairment of the valves can occur by simple weakening or – more commonly – can follow a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) that is a consequence of a blood clot in the leg veins (1). The leading risk factors for venous insufficiency and thrombosis are female gender (in connection with number of child births, hormonal contraception and menopause), age above 50 years, obesity (BMI over 25), family history of chronic venous diseases (CVDs), smoking, physical inactivity, as well as long periods of standing or sitting (2). 15 % to 20 % of the population suffer from chronic venous insufficiency (3). has been shown to counteract vein insufficiency and thrombosis by normalizing blood flow (17-19), platelet function (20-22) and microcirculation (23-27) and to relieve veins by improving endothelial function (28-34). Pycnogenol ® French maritime pine bark extract as part of a healthier lifestyle may significantly contribute to the improvement of venous health. An ever-increasing number of clinical studies demonstrate the efficacy of Pycnogenol ® for strong and healthy veins and show beneficial effects particularly in CVI (risk-) patients (4-16). Pycnogenol ® 16 No. 3 November/December 2021

Venous health Pycnogenol ® prevents leg swellings and restores dermal blood perfusion One of the first symptoms of CVI are swollen legs and feet (so called leg edema), which is increased after prolonged standing, during warm weather or at the end of the day (3). But even healthy people can suffer from swollen legs on hot days, after prolonged times of reduced mobility or during menstruation or pregnancy. Pycnogenol ® showed to potently support venous health and prevents swellings in healthy people and those, suffering from CVI (4-16). Swollen legs are a typical sign after long flights. Pycnogenol ® was shown to reduce leg swelling compared to placebo after 7–12-hour flights in subjects with mild to moderate risk for thrombosis. The ankle circumference was increased by 11 % in the placebo and by 6 % in the Pycnogenol ® group (4). Another study including healthy and high-risk thrombosis subjects, taking long-haul flights could show a significantly lower edema score, reduced ankle swelling and less leg pain in people supplemented with Pycnogenol ® compared to control subjects and partici pants, who used specific compression stockings (5). A double-blind, placebo controlled study clearly showed that Pycnogenol ® supplementation for 2 months significantly relieved pain (–64 %), swelling (–64 %) and heaviness (–54 %) in the legs of CVI patients compared to placebo (–18 %, –7 % and –3 %, respectively) (6). Patients with severe venous hypertension and history of venous ulcerations showed significant improvements regarding edema, limb restlessness, pain, swelling, and skin discoloration after regularly taking Pycnogenol ® for 8 weeks (7). The efficacy of Pycnogenol ® in controlling symptoms of patients with severe, long-lasting venous insufficiency was evaluated in an 8-weeks summer study (8). In this study, the effect of Pycnogenol ® was compared to compression stockings and showed that Pycnogenol ® was more effective in decreasing ankle swelling and improving dermal blood perfusion compared to elastic compression. The most effective measurement in this study was the combination of compression stockings and Pycnogenol ® , leading to a reduction of 38 % of ankle swelling and an improvement of 61 % of skin flux. Three different clinical scores were used to assess the symptoms of CVI and it was shown that Pycnogenol ® significantly relieves the severity of CVI and the disability associated with it. In another similar study, Pycnogenol ® was shown to be more effective than compression stockings, decreasing edema by 35 %, whereas compression stockings lowered swelling by only 13 % in a comparable control group (9). Several other comparative investigations demonstrated that Pycnogenol ® is more efficacious on symptoms of CVI than other pro ducts or potentiates the efficacy in combination with them (10-13). 96 % of CVI patients taking Pycnogenol ® in addition to the flavonoid troxerutin, were symptom-free after 60 days of supplementation, compared to 80 % in the control-troxerutin-only group (10). In another 4-week study, Pycnogenol ® was shown to be significantly more effective for lowering leg swelling than a horse chestnut seed extract (Venostasin ® ) which showed non-significant edema relief (11). Compared to a combination of diosmin and hesperidin (Daflon ® ), supplementation with Pycnogenol ® was shown to be more effective on the reduction of ankle swelling and edema with a total symptom reduction of –60% with Pycnogenol ® and –36 % with Daflon ® after 8 weeks (12). No. 3 November/December 2021 17

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