Pycnogenol® and Centella Asiatica for preventing asymptomatic atherosclerosis progression into clinical events.
Minerva Cardioangiol. 2015 Oct 27. Epub 2015 Oct 27. PMID: 26505327
: The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of the nutritional supplements Pycnogenol and Centella Asiatica (CA) on atherosclerosis progression in low-risk, asymptomatic subjects with carotid or femoral stenosing plaques.
METHODS: The study included subjects aged 45-60 with stenosing atherosclerotic plaques (>50- 60%) in at least one carotid or common femoral bifurcation. Subjects were allocated into 3 groups: Group 1 (controls): management was based on education, exercise, diet and lifestyle changes. This same management plan was used in all other groups; Group 2 used Pycnogenol (100 mg/day); Group 3 used Pycnogenol 100 mg/day plus CA, 100 mg/day. The follow-up lasted 4 years. Plaque progression was assessed using the ultrasonic arterial score based on arterial wall morphology, considering plaque characteristics and the number of subjects that had cardiovascular events. Oxidative stress was also evaluated.
RESULTS: Of the 413 individuals that were admitted, 391 individuals completed 4 years. Group distribution was comparable. The ultrasonic score increased significantly less in the two supplement groups (p<0.05) in comparison with controls suggesting a beneficial effect of Pycnogenol with a significant difference in favor of the combination (p<0.05). There was a reduction in plaques progression in the supplement groups with the best effects obtained by the combination, considering maximum plaque thickness and length and the grey scale median (p<0.05). Plaques became generally dense (more echogenic) achieving a mixed echogenicity. There was a reduction of anginal events to less than 3% in the two supplement groups (in comparison with 6.25% in controls)(p<0.05) with the best results obtained by the combination (p<005). The reduction in myocardial infarctions was significantly in favor of the combination (p<0.05). Minor TIAs and strokes and signs of peripheral vascular disease were also less with the supplements with the best results observed with the combination (p<0.05). Events in controls - requiring hospital admission - were globally seen in 16-4% of subjects (minor events) in comparison with 8-9% of subjects using Pycnogenol and only 3.3% of patients using the combination. At 4 years oxidative stress in the supplement groups was lower than in controls (p<0.05, with no significant difference between group 2 and 3).
CONCLUSION: Pycnogenol and the combination Pycnogenol+CA reduce the progression of arterial plaques and the progression to clinical stages. The reduction in plaques and clinical progression was associated with a reduction in oxidative stress. The results justify a larger study to define the efficacy of the combination Pycnogenol+CA as a prophylaxis in preclinical atherosclerosis.