Blood Clots

There are still many people (including medical professionals) who believe that taking a daily aspirin helps prevent blood clots that form in the blood vessels. However, last month the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued its final recommendations on aspirin which included a recommendation against the use of aspirin for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in persons age 60 and older. The study also determined that the effect of aspirin use in adults aged 40-59 years who have a 10% or greater risk of developing heart disease in the next 10 years is small.

Blood clots are essential for stopping bleeding and repairing blood vessels in the first place! Normally, blood clots  should spontaneously dissolve and dislodge through the action of plasmin (an enzyme that dissolves blood clots and thrombus in the blood).   However it is said that disordered eating habits and lifestyle have strengthened the action of the coagulation system and weakened that of the fibrinolytic system. In other words, modern people have a constitution that makes it easier for blood clots to form and harder for them to dissolve. If the blood clot forms in a blood vessel in the brain, the result is a cerebral infarction; if the clot forms in the blood vessel near the heart, the result is a myocardial infarction.

If the bodily functions that were originally working normally have been degraded due to a disorder in diet and lifestyle, then the best way to prevent cerebral and myocardial infarction is to improve diet and lifestyle. Aspirin and warfarin as antiplatelet agents are associated with side effects, and it is questionable whether the benefits really outweigh the side effects, as shown in the aspirin study above. 

Next let’s look into dietary supplements. As for supplements, Pycnogenol has been shown in intercomparison studies to be as effective as aspirin in preventing blood coagulation, but at lower doses and with superior safety.  Also this year, Italian researchers compared the use of Pycnogenol versus aspirin in preventing recurrence after a first episode of retinal vein thrombosis. Retinal vein thrombosis is considered a relatively common condition that is closely associated with other diseases afflicting the vascular system, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, and diabetes. The study found that the recurrence rate of retinal vein thrombosis was about five times higher in the aspirin group than in the Pycnogenol group, and visual acuity and retinal swelling (edema) were definitely lower in the Pycnogenol group. 

Pycnogenol is said to have few side effects, but it would be wise to consult with your doctor before taking it.  And its always better to start improving your diet and lifestyle first.


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