Adding a combination of three natural extracts to standard pharmacological treatments could help to fight hypertension, improving cardiovascular function especially in those patients whose blood pressure remains not well controlled. These are the conclusions of a study conducted by the Vascular Pathophysiology Laboratory of I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed in Pozzilli, in collaboration with the Medical University of Salerno, Federico II University in Naples, I.R.C.C.S. Multimedica in Milan, and Sapienza University of Rome. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Extracts used in this nutraceutical formulation come from Bacopa Monnieri, Ginko biloba and green tea leaves, complexed with phosphatidylcholine, a natural phospholipid. Researchers evaluated its effects on a group of hypertensive patients, all of them receiving standard therapies. The main characteristic of the selected patients was that, despite pharmacological treatments, their blood pressure remained not well controlled.
"In a percentage of patients - explains Professor Carmine Vecchione, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Salerno University, director of the Unit of Cardiology at Ruggi D'Aragona Hospital in Salerno and Head of the Vascular Pathophysiology laboratory at I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed - blood pressure control, despite treatments, remains unsatisfactory. We also know that hypertensive state reduces tolerance to physical exercise, a parameter recognized as a valid indicator of the cardiovascular situation".
In order to overcome this situation, researchers aimed to find an additional weapon in nutraceuticals. Selected patients, all of them receiving standard drug treatment, were divided into groups in order to test the efficacy of the plant extracts mix compared to placebo. Furthermore, experiments have been conducted, both on cellular and animal models, to highlight the biochemical mechanisms involved.
"We saw - says Dr. Albino Carrizzo, first author of the publication, researcher at I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed - that patients treated with this nutraceutical showed an improvement in crucial parameters such as oxygen consumption, strength, endurance to physical exercise. These are indicators of a more efficient endothelial function. Furthermore, cellular and animal models demonstrated that this effect is due to an increase of nitric oxide in the blood, an important element in vessels health. Finally, an interesting observation emerging from our research is that the four substances composing the mix have a hemodynamic action only when combined together, while they are ineffective when used individually. It is a real synergistic action".
It is important to highlight that these results should not be seen as an alternative to standard therapies. "Hypertension is a very serious problem - concludes Vecchione - involving a growing part of the population and leading to serious pathologies. Patients must be aware that pharmacological treatments play a fundamental role in the management of the problem. If future researches will confirm our results, this new nutraceutical formulation will be a new weapon, accompanying standard therapies without replacing them".
The I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed
The Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Health Care (I.R.C.C.S.) Neuromed in Pozzilli (Italy) is a landmark, at Italian and international level, for research and therapy in the field of neurological and cardiovascular diseases. A centre in which doctors, researchers, staff and the patients themselves form an alliance aimed at ensuring the best level of service and cutting-edge treatments, guided by the most advanced scientific developments.