Raena Morgan: Doctor Pescatore, let's talk about cardiovascular health and pycnogenol. It's a big, big issue and can it affect cholesterol, for example?
Dr. Fred Pescatore: Uh, pycnogenol? Absolutely. There's a few research studies, multiple research studies that look at the effect of pycnogenol on lowering LDL cholesterol, which is the so called bad cholesterol, and raising the HDL cholesterol, which is the good cholesterol. So there are studies that support that. Um, heart disease is a big issue.
Morgan: Right, we could talk all day.
Pescatore: Yeah, absolutely. But the beauty of pycnogenol is that it works multiple ways in the cardiovascular system. Pycnogenol affects collagen and elastin. What a lot of people don't realize is that collagen and elastin lines our arterial blood vessel walls.
Morgan: No, most people wouldn't know that.
Pescatore: So collagen and elastin start to break down when we age. And that's why we get wrinkles in our face and that's the most obvious sign...
Morgan: That, yes, the cosmitic side effect..
Pescatore: Right, that's the most obvious sign. But it's also happening in our blood vessels. So pycnogenol can keep that healthy. So when you keep the blood vessels healthy, you actually are able to get them to open and close the way they're supposed to do that. And that's really a main issue in cardiovascular disease, is because.. you have to think of our cardiovascular system as plumbing. It's really plumbing, it's a bunch of pipes with blood flowing through it instead of water. That's really what it is. And when there's s clog, it's harder for the blood to go through. When it's a harder, more constricted blood vessel, it's harder for the blood to go through. So that's when you get high blood pressure, you know that's what leads to high blood pressure. That's when you get decreased profusion, where you don't get enough blood flow to certain areas of the heart. You don't get enough blood flow to the brain. And pycnogenol works on the capillary level. So, those are the small blood vessels, and those are the important blood vessels, because those are ones that close off the quickest, because they're the smallest. And the larger arteries can stay open for a longer period of time.
The reason why pycnogenol works in cholesterol is because it reduces oxidative stress. And what people don't understand is, is that oxidative stress is when you get cholesterol plaque formation. Cholesterol is just the body's natural anti-inflammatory agent.
Morgan: That's right, yes.
Pescatore: When you have a problem, when there's oxidative stress, the body produces cholesterol, because 80 percent of all the cholesterol in our blood stream is produced by our liver every day...
Morgan: And we need it!
Pescatore: Absolutely... cholesterol is a very imporatant part of our bodies. You can't be healthy without cholesterol. So what happens is, the body will send cholesterol out and say 'oh, there's oxidative stress going on, let's... kind of like... fix it'. That's when it sends cholesterol out. And what pycnogenol does in times of oxidative stress is go and help make sure it's the HDL cholesterol and removes the LDL, which is the oxidized cholesterol.
Morgan: It does? So that's going to raise your HDL?
Pescatore: Right, it's going to raise your HDL level, but really more on a molecular level what's happening is it's sort of getting rid of oxidized LDL, so that the plaque doesn't get laid down. So it just does its job, reduces the inflammatory stress, reduces the oxidative stress in the body. So it's really quite fascinating. And, here's I think a point, especially for me because I'm such a big fan of nutrition, Is that, the way oxidative stress is really, forms the largest in the body, is when you eat a meal that's high in sugar. High glycemic load meals...
Morgan: Really? Because...
Pescatore: cause oxidative stress.
Morgan: The big low fat thing, the craze...
Pescatore: The dark ages of nutritional medicine as I call it.
Morgan: um hmmm... very much so. It ruined my mother's personality, I mean she couldn't have fat anymore. And she became a bitter person, and she had high cholesterol. But she had plenty of sugar!
Pescatore: Yeah, of course, I mean because that's... people don't put the correlation together and the message that was sent out to the...
Morgan: It was wrong? It was wrong?
Pescatore: It was just wrong. Yeah, that's a great way of putting it. I would've been nicer but... wrong is the answer.
Morgan: The dark ages as you said, so...
Pescatore: That's what I call it.
Morgan: And so that's just what's... that sent us down an incorrect path to healing...
Pescatore: Without a doubt. When you've got sugar... I mean, what's triglycerides? Three sugar molecules put together. So if you've got, I mean the body, when the average American consumes 35 teaspoons of sugar every day, what's the body going to do with this? It's overwhelmed by this, it wasn't meant to eat that much sugar. So it just causes oxidative stress in the body. And they've done these studies on rats where they actually will feed them high glycemic loaded foods, and they look at their blood vessels and you can see the oxidative stress happening right before your very eyes. It's fascinating.
Morgan: And pycnogenol can correct that situation?
Pescatore: Pycnogenol is one of those few nutritional supplements that can actually go in and help to correct the oxidative stress and that's why it works in so many different areas of our health.
Morgan: Well, that's very encouraging news, thank you so much.
Pescatore: Thank you.
Dr. Fred Pescatore explains how pycnogenol helps keep blood vessels healthy in the body, which in turn, will promote cardiovascular health. He also looks at cholesterol, particularly HDL and LDL levels, and how pycnogenol helps keep them in a healthy range.
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