A clinical study found participants who supplemented with Pycnogenol (a patented pine bark extract) on long-haul airline flights (7-12 hours) were significantly protected from thrombotic (blood clotting) events or complications from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and superficial vein thrombosis (SVT), conditions associated with prolonged air travel. DVT is caused by a blood clot that partially or completely blocks blood flow in the vein. This condition is frequently caused by a pooling of blood in the area, often due to immobility. Long, cramped flights create an optimal environment for DVT and SVT to take place. Observational studies have suggested that on long-haul flights, up to 10% of passengers may be affected.
The double-blind, placebo-controlled study, published in Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis, looked at 198 subjects who supplemented with 200 mg of Pycnogenol two to three hours before the flight, 200 mg six hours later in mid-flight and 100 mg the day after flying. Researchers concluded that Pycnogenol treatment was effective in protecting against DVT and SVT in moderate-to-high risk subjects during long-haul flights as compared to the placebo group, in which there were five thrombotic events.
“This research is encouraging news for moderate to high-risk travelers. Travel-related DVT and SVT are preventable conditions. Pycnogenol is one of the most powerful antioxidants available today and has the ability to control the permeability of capillary walls, preventing edema, inhibiting platelet aggregation and ultimately reducing thrombotic events,” said Peter Rohdewald, Ph.D., Institute of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Muenster and one of the authors of the study. “The effectiveness of Pycnogenol as a preventative measure as demonstrated by this study makes it a key factor in promoting safe and healthy travel.”
Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis 10(4):373-377, 2004