Geneva, Switzerland— A new peer-reviewed study published in the International Journal of Angiology shows that a branded pine bark extract supplement may improve the appearance, swelling and discomfort of pregnancy-induced varicose veins and spider vein clusters.
133 women took part in this open-registry study at Chieti-Pescara University in Italy, all of which were recommended to wear compression stockings, the standard treatment for enlarged veins in pregnant women. 64 women from this group elected to take two 50 mg doses daily of the supplement, (Pycogenol, distributed by Horphag Research) along with wearing the stockings At the six- month mark, the women were evaluated using a variety of metrics, including visual recording of number and length of varicose veins and spider vein clusters; a visual analog line scale to measure heavier legs and ultrasound imaging to record points of major and minor venous incompetence.
The results were positive overall, with the extract group experiencing a significant reduction in varicose veins, visible spider cluster veins and leg cramps. Several other positive effects were recorded, including less pain after prolonged standing and significant reduction in swelling, with only one patient in the extract group reporting swelling versus more than 13% in the control group. The extract group also reported very high satisfaction and a 96% compliance rate. According to Steven Lamm, PhD, traditional compression stockings often have a low compliance rate due to patients finding them uncomfortable. A later evaluation at the 12-month mark showed no significant changes.
Lead researcher Gianni Belcaro, PhD, noted that “this study builds upon decades of research that shows Pycnogenol to be a safe, effective, natural solution for venous insufficiency and the associated problems.” He believes that these results stem from the extract’s ability to seal capillaries and stop the outflow of blood into tissue that causes swelling, along with supporting the production of endothelial nitric oxide to improve blood vessel function. Roughly 30% of women suffer from enlarged veins post-pregnancy.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, January 2015, (online 12/1/14)