(NaturalHealth365) Believe it or not, the simple act of sitting – for long periods of time – may be hazardous to your health. The American College of Cardiology reports that sitting at a desk for more than four hours a day increases the odds of deep vein thrombosis by a frightening 48 percent.
Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein located deep in the body. In a life-threatening complication, the clot may break loose and make its way to the lung, leading to a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism.
Fortunately, recent research shows that you can combat DVT – safely and effectively – with the help of two natural extracts.
Blood clots affect close to one million Americans
According to the CDC, as many as 900,000 Americans could be affected by venous thromboembolisms (blood clots) every year – with roughly 100,000 dying from them. In fact, the risks of prolonged sitting are so pronounced many are calling sitting “the new smoking.”
And mainstream medicine offers few real solutions. Anticoagulant medications prescribed by conventionally-trained doctors can feature serious side effects – along with the risk of hemorrhage, or uncontrolled bleeding.
But recent research shows that two natural substances, French maritime pine bark extract and nattokinase, can break down small clots before they grow – and even stop them from forming in the first place. Both can inhibit clotting, improve microcirculation in the legs, and increase the elasticity of blood vessel walls.
What are the symptoms and signs of a blood clot?
About half of the time, there are no apparent signs of deep vein thrombosis.
When symptoms do occur, they tend to develop suddenly – and can include swelling, fatigue, tenderness and pain in the affected leg. Reddened skin, skin that is otherwise discolored, and warm skin on one or both legs can be warning signs as well.
And, a previously invisible vein that suddenly becomes visible is also a red flag that may indicate a possible blood clot. If you notice any of these warning signs, call your doctor – especially if they develop suddenly.
Of course, aging can make you more susceptible to blood clots – especially when living a sedentary lifestyle. Being obese, smoking cigarettes, having surgery and taking oral contraceptives can also raise your risk.
French maritime pine bark extract: A powerful natural vasodilator
Pine bark extract, also known as pycnogenol, is rich in beneficial polyphenols, including procyanidins and phenolic acids. With potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, pine bark extract dilates blood vessels and reduces the “stickiness” of blood platelets – making them less likely to form into clots.
French maritime pine bark extract also increases the activity of an enzyme that generates beneficial nitric oxide in blood vessels. Several studies have demonstrated that pine bark extract is especially effective in preventing blood clots from forming after prolonged sitting.
French maritime pine bark extract has also been shown to help reduce post-thrombotic syndrome, a common DVT complication in which blood collects in the affected leg and causes swelling, discoloration and leg ulcers.
In a year-long 2011 study, French maritime pine bark extract was found to be at least as effective as compression stockings in treating post-thrombotic syndrome. Not only did no new cases occur in the participants who took pine bark extract, but leg and ankle swelling was significantly decreased when compared to the compression stockings group. Researchers concluded that pine bark extract may have significant long-term protective effects following a thrombotic event.
Another plus for French maritime pine bark extract is the fact that compliance was better in the pine bark group. Researchers noted that taking the extract was not as “bothersome” to the participants as wearing the compression stockings, especially in warm weather.
Nattokinase: A potent protector made from soy
Nattokinase is a proteolytic enzyme made from soybeans that have been fermented with a specific bacterium, Bacillus subtilis. It helps to prevent clotting by breaking down fibrin – the main protein found in clots – and also breaks down fibrinogen, the precursor to fibrin. And, it achieves this without causing side effects or undesirable bleeding.
Nattokinase, combined with pine bark extract, has produced impressive results in studies.
In a randomized, placebo-controlled human trial published in 2003 in Angiology, passengers on a lengthy overseas flight were given either placebo or a nattokinase and pine bark extract combination.
The combination prevented each and every passenger who took it from experiencing DVTs.
While there were zero DVTs in the supplement group, 5.4 percent of the passengers in the placebo group did experience DVTs. In contrast to the supplement group, passengers in the placebo group experienced a 12 percent increase in leg swelling during the flight – while supplemented passengers actually enjoyed a 15 percent reduction.
The conclusion is that nattokinase and French maritime pine bark extract helped to prevent deep vein thrombosis in people who spent long periods sitting – thereby reducing the threat of sudden death from pulmonary embolism.
If you are required to sit at a desk for prolonged periods of time, experts recommend getting up every hour and walking around for at least five to ten minutes to prevent blood from pooling in your legs.
Naturally, if interested, we suggest you talk about nattokinase and pine bark extract supplementation with your healthcare provider. And, if they don’t know about these substances – find a doctor that understands the value of natural remedies. (it could save your life)