New supplement targets traveller's thrombosis

Related tags Deep vein thrombosis Vein

A Swiss company has developed a food supplement designed to reduce
the risk of deep vein thrombosis for passengers on long-haul

The formula, containing high doses of the pine bark extract Pycnogenol and standardized ginger extract, was launched in the UK last week and is endorsed by leading vascular surgeon Dr John Scurr, an expert on travel-related deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Dr Scurr's Zinopin is thought to be one of the first natural products marketed solely to reduce risk of this condition, the threat of which is growing as more and more people travel.

A recently completed study by the Wellington Medical Research Institute, based on 1000 airline passengers, has shown that the risk of deep vein thrombosis to air travellers is far greater than previously thought.

More commonly known as 'Economy Class Syndrome', DVT is a potentially fatal circulatory condition that affects over 2 million Americans a year, 60,000 of whom die, according to figures quoted by the manufacturer of Zinopin, Pynogin.

DVT is caused when a blood clot forms in veins where blood flow is sluggish or has been disturbed, hence the increased risk with immobility caused by long distance travel. The potentially lethal risk with DVT is that a blood clot will break away from its site of formation, and travel to the lung arteries, plugging them and causing a pulmonary embolism.

Technical and marketing director of Pynogin, Mike Lehman, was orginally approached by a major airline to develop a drink that could be handed out to passengers and help reduce the risk of DVT. However after September 11, and concerns that the airline would be liable for the product's effects, Lehman decided to develop a food supplement through a third party. Pynogin was set up specifically to bring the product to market.

"The product is a high strength formulation of both Pycnogenol (100mg) and ginger. We don't know of any other company using these amounts,"​ he told

"We also have a unique posology,"​ he said.

The supplement is taken a day before departure, on the day of departure and for two days after arrival. It acts like a 'biochemical compression stocking', according to Lehman.

"There is a lot of synergy between Pycnogenol and ginger. Both have anti-platelet and anti-inflammatory activity, although they act on different areas."

Ginger is also widely used for motion sickness and for morning sickness by pregnant mothers, while numerous studies on Pycnogenol, the brand name for the Maritime pine bark extract marketed by Horphag Research, have associated its procyanidins and bioflavonoids with numerous heart health benefits, including lower LDL cholesterol, a reduction in platelet activity, relaxed artery constriction and improvements in circulation.

The product is currently being tested in a 200-patient pilot clinical trial being carried out by Dr Scurr at University College London. Results so far are 'excellent', according to Lehman.

A review on Zinopin will also be published later this year by Dr Scurr, who is a member of the WHO committee investigating travel-related DVT.

The supplement will be distributed in the Lloyds pharmacy chain in the UK and Pynogin has also seen significant interest from Asia and other parts of Europe.

Pynogin is a sister company to NNP, a manufacturer of the Revolution brand products, sold in Switzerland and other European markets.

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