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 phosphatidylserine, 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,” said Dr. Carrizzo.
Why is this novel nutraceutical signifiant?
- This is the first demonstration that supplementation with a novel nutraceutical combination can improve functional capacity and cardiovascular protection in uncontrolled hypertensive patients on antihypertensive medication.
- AkP05 has a direct effect on blood pressure, endothelial function, circulating nitric oxide levels, and exercise tolerance in humans.
- The single components of AkP05 exert synergistic effects in maintenance of the redox axis for nitric oxide bioavailability, modulating oxidative stress status and enzyme activity.
What Are the Clinical Implications?
- This novel nutraceutical combination is able to contribute to the reduction of blood pressure levels and to the improvement of endothelial function and exercise effort beyond classical pharmacological therapy.
- The characterization of the beneficial cardiovascular properties of a combination of multiple naturally derived compounds, named AkP05, may lay the foundation for the development of new, natural adjunct therapies aimed at improving cardiovascular protection and contributing to the achievement of target blood pressure levels.
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”.
Conclusion/ “Although more studies are needed to completely characterize the cardiovascular effects of AkP05, the blood pressure–lowering effect and increased effort tolerance evoked suggest that it could be used in cardiovascular disease prevention. Moreover, the identification of a novel nutraceutical combination ability to improve NO production and bioavailability in the hypertensive condition may extend the clinician’s armamentarium of approaches for better control of BP.”