Initial research shows an improvement in pain-free walking distance for patients taking mesoglycan
Many patients correctly associate circulatory problems with either the heart (cardiac disease) or the brain (strokes). However, many may not realize that the source for these circulatory conditions can actually start at the extremities — specifically, the feet, ankles, and legs.
One of these types of circulatory conditions is peripheral arterial disease (PAD). If left untreated, peripheral arterial disease can quickly lead to a stroke or heart attack.1
Standard treatment for peripheral arterial disease may often include blood-thinning medications (anticoagulants). Unfortunately, some anticoagulants may increase their effect when combined with certain foods, particularly grapefruit. Coumadin (warfarin) is the best known anticoagulant to increase this risk for excessive bleeding.2
Given these risks, an option to anticoagulants would seem to present less of a potential for an adverse event. Recent research into the supplement mesoglycan has been promising in this regard, particularly combined with regular walking, dietary changes, and use of compression socks. How can mesoglycan help treat peripheral arterial disease, particularly in terms of improving patients’ ability to increase their symptom-free walking distance?
Understanding peripheral arterial disease
Peripheral arterial disease involves blockage of the arteries in the legs.1 If the arteries in the legs become clogged with fatty plaque, they can impede proper blood circulation, increasing the risk for a heart attack or stroke.
Peripheral arterial disease may not have any symptoms, or only show up as just pain or cramping, which is why the conditions is often just chalked-up to signs of aging. In fact, as many as one in 20 Americans over the age of 50 may have peripheral arterial disease, but do not necessarily know it.
High risk factors may include:
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- high cholesterol
- age 60 or older 1
Mesoglycan for peripheral arterial disease
Mesoglycan comes from either bovine lung or blood vessels, or pig intestines.1 It can be taken orally or as a topical agent. It works to improve blood circulation and reduce high triglycerides.
One recent research focus has been on the use of mesoglycan to improve walking for patients with a number of conditions that can affect the circulatory system, including peripheral arterial disease.
A 2017 article published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences examined the effect of mesoglycan upon the walking ability of patients with type 2 diabetes who also had peripheral arterial disease.3 A group of 64 patients were evaluated in terms of the progression of their peripheral arterial disease after six months of treatment with mesoglycan. The patients were randomized to receive either 50 mg of mesoglycan, twice a day, or a placebo.
Initial results showed an improvement in pain-free walking distance for 18 patients taking mesoglycan, as compared to both baseline and placebo.3 The researchers were encouraged by this finding and suggested that future, larger studies could confirm their result.
Regular exercise that stimulated blood circulation is a key component in both preventing and treating peripheral arterial disease. For older patients, walking is an optimal way to prevent plaque formation in the legs. Mesoglycan may be able help them get on track with their exercise program by letting them walk further without experiencing pain.
- Facts about peripheral arterial disease (PAD). https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_pad.htm National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. National Institutes of Health. Bethesda, MD.
- Sullivan DM, Ford MA, Boyden TW. Grapefruit juice and the response to warfarin. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. 1998 Aug 1;55(15):1581-1583.
- Derosa G, D’Angelo A, Romano D, Maffioli P. Evaluation of the effects of mesoglycan on some markers of endothelial damage and walking distance in diabetic patients with peripheral arterial disease. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2017;18(3):572.