High blood pressure affects around a third of adults in the UK, although many don’t realise they have it because symptoms are rarely noticeable. Th
High blood pressure affects around a third of adults in the UK, although many don’t realise they have it because symptoms are rarely noticeable. The best way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have your reading regularly checked, either by your GP or using a blood pressure monitor at home.
High blood pressure puts extra strain on a person’s blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes, increasing the risk of life-threatening health conditions like heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.
So what can you do to keep your reading in check?
Dr Fred Pescatore, a natural physician in the US and a New York Times Best Selling author, has worked alongside the late Dr Atkins (founder of the Atkins Diet) and is the brains behind the Hamptons Diet – a low-carb, low-calorie regimen.
He explained the link between ageing and high blood pressure: “Many clients turn to me and say ‘I’m looking so much older’ and just want to take care of that, forgetting that they are actually aging internally, which is the cause of external changes like wrinkles but also increases risk of conditions like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure too.
READ MORE: Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine banned in South Africa: Experts calm fears over efficacy
With previous clients including Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Hudson and Rennee Zellweger, Dr Pescatore recommends pine bark as his go-to natural remedy.
“I always advise my clients to take a CoQ10, Fish Oil and Pycnogenol® supplement everyday as it’s hard to get these nutrients from diet alone.
“In particular, Pycnogenol® as it contains a whole host of anti-aging properties. It increases the microcirculation in the skin which creates a healthy glow, improves overall appearance and has been scientifically proven to decrease the number of wrinkles as it helps with the production of collagen and elastin.
“But in addition, Pycnogenol® helps with the internal ageing of our organs and blood vessels thanks to its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.”
Pycnogenol®, a natural plant extract originating from the bark of the maritime pine tree that grows along the coast of southwest France.
Researchers have revealed Pycnogenol® supplementation over a period of eight weeks significantly lowered blood systolic blood pressure as compared to placebo.
“The innermost layer of our blood vessels are lined with collagen and elastin which help our veins to expand and contract in response to blood flow and keep our blood pressure within a normal range,” he continued.
“But, just as it is visible externally by the appearance of wrinkles and thinning skin, both collagen and elastin break down as we age resulting in weakened blood vessels.
“French maritime pine bark extract has been shown in multiple studies to support the production of collagen and elastin in the body which results in stronger blood vessels and therefore improved circulation which contributes to a healthy blood pressure.”
A healthy cardiovascular system is key for maintaining good vitality, physical strength, mental health and for general well being.
There are a number of risk factors related to vascular function problems, such as cigarette smoking, obesity, sedentary life-style as well as hypertension, high levels of cholesterol or high blood sugar.
Pycnogenol® French maritime pine bark extract may significantly contribute to the improvement of some risk factors, with the normalisation of blood pressure and platelet function, improvement of blood lipids as well as blood sugar values.
An important number of clinical studies demonstrate the efficacy of Pycnogenol® for keeping cardiovascular health problems at bay. Pycnogenol® was investigated in healthy people, individuals with borderline high risk factors but also as an adjunct in people taking prescription medicine for cardiovascular health issues.
Research has found that Pycnogenol® helps individuals maintain healthy circulation by increasing vasodilation of blood vessels, thus improving blood flow. Pycnogenol® helps make blood platelets less ‘sticky’, helping to reduce blood clots.
Studies have also shown that Pycnogenol® enhances the body’s own response to counteract blood vessel constriction. Normalising blood vessel diameter naturally helps maintain blood pressure that is already in the normal range.
Finally, studies demonstrate that Pycnogenol® is a natural option for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. In clinical trials, supplementing with Pycnogenol® was found to lower the ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol while increasing the ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol.
Pycnogenol® can be bought in supplement form from health shops such as Holland & Barrett.