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Pine-bark extract alternative to aspirin

If your doctor recommends aspirin therapy but aspirin bothers your stomach, here's good news. A nutritional supplement called Pycnogenol may be a good alternative, especially if you're a smoker.

A recent study found that Pycnogenol, which is made from a certain type of pine tree found only in France, may work like aspirin to reduce the "stickiness" of blood cells.

Smoking and stress can trigger the release of adrenaline, a stress hormone, which causes platelets in your blood to become stickier. This can lead to the formation of blood clots that could cause a heart attack or stroke.

Researchers gave smokers aspirin or Pycnogenol, and then tested their blood two hours after they had smoked a cigarette. Both aspirin and Pycnogenol reduced smoke-induced platelet stickiness, but Pycnogenol did not increase bleeding time, like aspirin. And here's another benefit -- a smaller dose was required to achieve the same effects.

You can find Pycnogenol at most health food stores, but check with your doctor before taking any supplement, especially if you have heart disease, or if you're taking any medication.

     
     

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