Oligopin®, our OPC-rich Landes maritime pine bark extract, demonstrates its efficacy against high cholesterol in a scientific study published in the highly prestigious journal Phytomedicine.
A perfect opportunity to set off to discover this plant-based active ingredient belonging to the great line of the polyphenols.
1. An overview of the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in the world
Cardiovascular diseases are currently responsible for more than 17 million deaths per year worldwide, representing nearly 30% of global mortality. This mortality rate is directly proportional to the quality of life in a country, as almost 80% of deaths stemming from cardiovascular disease occur in low and middle income countries (particularly in Africa and Central Asia) (1).
Europe, despite having access to more preventative and curative means, is not immune to this scourge. In fact, cardiovascular conditions are responsible for 45% of deaths in this part of the world (2).
Preventing and controlling various risk factors remains the best way of limiting this endemic disease. High cholesterol, responsible for more than half of cardiovascular disease worldwide, constitutes a major risk factor(1).
Let’s set off today to discover the secrets of cholesterol, this famous yet often poorly understood lipid.
2. LDL, HDL: keep calm and be an expert
Cholesterol is constantly moving throughout the body via the blood stream. To travel in the blood, cholesterol needs transporters: it therefore travels on lipoproteins, moving from one organ to the next.
LDLs (Low-Density Lipoproteins) transport cholesterol from the liver towards the cells where it is needed. HDLs (High-Density Lipoproteins) are responsible for transporting unused cholesterol from the cells back to the liver to be either eliminated or diverted and made available again.
When the quantity of cholesterol transported by the LDLs is too high it disrupts the cholesterol cycle, which relies on a delicate balance between LDL and HDL. When the cells can no longer store cholesterol, it remains in the circulation, stagnates and gradually deposits itself on the inner walls of arteries. This is how plaques of atheroma come about.
Furthermore, LDLs are primary targets for oxidative attacks: the LDLs then transform into oxidized LDLs and are no longer recognised by the appropriate receptors, but rather by receptors present on the surface of macrophages (a variety of white blood cell able to absorb particles). These macrophages endlessly consume oxidized LDL – an accumulation which leads to the formation of foam cells (LDL-laden macrophages) which are themselves also a cause of atheroma plaques.
3. The virtues of Oligopin® on HDL and LDL
A five-week exploratory journey with Oligopin® was enough to bring its virtues into the limelight. A randomised, double-blind, crossover, placebo-controlled study of 24 stage 1 hypertensive subjects (i.e. with a systolic blood pressure between 140 and 159 mm of mercury (mmHg)) was conducted.
The five weeks of supplementation at two capsules of Oligopin® per day proved to be conclusive. Here, where other solutions stop at lowering LDL levels, Oligopin® goes one step further by also raising HDL levels.
In addition to a 6% decrease in LDL levels between the start and the end of the experiment, the maritime pine bark extract also induced a 14% increase in the HDL level between the patients receiving the Oligopin® supplement and those receiving placebo. Observations like this are rare in the world of ingredients that act on cholesterol.
Researchers also discovered that five weeks of Oligopin® supplementation led to an increase in HDL levels twice that of three years of treatment with atorvastatin (a lipid-lowering drug)(3). So the natural power of the maritime pine bark seems greater than that of chemistry in the treatment against cholesterol!
What is more, a 29% decrease in the level of oxidized lipids was identified for the population taking Oligopin®. This observation testifies to the antioxidative power of this extract, which protects LDLs from oxidative attacks.
For complete action on the risk factors of cardiovascular disease, Oligopin® also decreases systolic blood pressure. A decrease of approximately 6.36 mmHg was observed, similar to that induced by a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet(4).
Oligopin®, in addition to its virtues for the cardiovascular system, also acts on microcirculation and male well-being.The richness of Oligopin® is due to its content of low molecular-mass OPCs which are highly bioavailable to the body, obtained thanks to a unique extraction method using water – a secret known only by the Purextract explorers.
(1) WHO, 2012
(2) Nick Townsend, Lauren Wilson, Prachi Bhatnagar, Kremlin Wickramasinghe, Mike Rayner, Melanie Nichols. Cardiovascular disease in Europe: epidemiological update. 2016
(3) Athyros VG et al. The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in Greece: the MetS-Greece Multicentre Study. 2005
(4) Saneei P et al. Infulence of Dietary Approches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis on randomized controlled trials. 2014