Blood Pressure - Phytosterols and Pycnogenol help control blood pressure

Understanding blood pressure

The two numbers in a blood pressure (BP) test measure the pressure against artery walls first when the heart contracts to pump blood (systolic), then when the heart relaxes between contractions (diastolic). Normal BP is less than 120/80 mmHg, and high BP, or hypertension, begins at 130/80.

Phytosterols help control BP

Phytosterols are plant-based antioxidants that previous studies revealed had circulatory benefits. In this review of 19 placebo-controlled clinical trials, doctors saw significant improvements in systolic BP as the doses of phytosterols increased.

Overall, for all studies, those taking phytosterols saw average decreases in systolic BP of 1.55 mmHg, and decreases of 0.84 mmHg in diastolic BP. The systolic and diastolic benefits began to appear in studies lasting less than 12 weeks. Doctors also found the most significant effects for systolic BP when phytosterol doses reached at least 2,000 mg per day, while the most significant effects for diastolic BP came at doses below 2,000 mg of phytosterols per day.

Reference: Clinical Nutrition Journal; 2019, S0261-5614, Published Online

Pycnogenol reduced BP

Pycnogenol® is an antioxidant compound found in French maritime pine bark. In this review of 12 placebo-controlled clinical trials covering 922 participants with or without high BP, overall, Pycnogenol reduced systolic BP by an average of 3.22 mmHg, and reduced diastolic BP by an average of 1.91 mmHg.

The benefits were magnified in studies that gave participants Pycnogenol along with standard medical treatments for hypertension. And, Pycnogenol had a greater effect on reducing diastolic BP in studies lasting more than 12 weeks.

Reference: Phytotherapy Research; October, 2019, Volume 34, No. 1, ptr.6515

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