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Life Extension Magazine

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August 1998

New Therapy for Varicose Veins
Overseas studies reveal the venotonic properties of horse chestnut extract

Horse chestnut has demonstrated a variety of beneficial effects including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-edema, venotonic (helpful to veins) and vasoprotective (protective of vessels or ducts) actions. Published studies consistently show alleviation of subjective symptoms of venous insufficiency such as pain, tiredness, tension or heaviness in the legs.

Because most of these studies are written in German, American doctors have not been enlightened about this natural herbal remedy that is so frequently prescribed in other countries.

Chronic venous insufficiency cannot be deemed a minor health impairment. Those afflicted with venous disease may require hospital or nursing home treatment, including surgical treatment, and are often forced into retirement. The therapeutic objective in managing venous insufficiency is to treat it at an early stage in order to prevent dangerous and expensive complications.

As noted, leg edema is significantly reduced in response to horse chestnut extract and the improvement in circulation should prevent or delay ulceration.

A one-month supply of the European company's horse chestnut extract costs $22 in pharmacies. The Life Extension Buyers Club offers a one-month supply for only $14 to members who purchase four bottles. Life Extension's horse chestnut extract, Venotone, is pharmaceutically standardized to contain a minimum of 20 percent escin.

The German Health Ministry requires that horse chestnut drugs contain 16 to 20 percent escin. For women concerned with unsightly varicose veins, horse-chestnut extract may be the ultimate solution. To order Venotone, call toll-free 1-800-544-4440 or refer to the Herbs section of the order at the back of this magazine.

Further Reading

Weiss, Rudolf Fritz, Herbal Medicine, Beaconsfield Publishers, Beaconsfield, England. 1988
Facino RM, Carini, M., Aldini, G., et al., Proanthocyanidin A2: New Polyphenol, Cosmetics & Toiletries, 111(Aug.): p 49-50, 53-58, 1996.
Masaki, H., et al., Active Oxygen Scavenging Activity of Plant Extracts, Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1995, Vol 18, Iss 1, pp 162-166.
Bombardelli E., Griffini, A., Aesculus hippocastanum L., Fitoterapia, Vol 67, No. 6, 1996, page 483-511.
Arnould T, Janssens D, et al., Effect of aescine on hypoxia-induced activation of human endothelial cells, European Journal of Pharmacology, 1996, Vol 315, Iss 2, pp 227-233.

Low-Dose Melatonin for Sleep

Millions of Americans use melatonin every night to improve the quality of their sleep. Most people find that 3 mg of melatonin at night is the ideal dose. For some people however, this amount is too much, and causes excessive morning drowsiness or actually interferes with sleep.

Several years ago, the Life Extension Foundation introduced a 500-microgram (½ mg) melatonin capsule. A number of members have called to report that they sleep better when they take the 500 microgram-strength capsule, compared with higher doses of melatonin.

The published scientific literature shows that melatonin consistently improves sleep quality in doses ranging from 500 micrograms to 40 mg a night. Since melatonin is a hypnotic agent, the individual dose to provide optimal sleep varies widely. As many people know, the use of hypnotic drugs in high doses can interfere with sleep, so the proper individual dose of melatonin is essential.

The many disease-preventing effects of melatonin have caused many people to want to use high potencies every night. However, for those who find that high potencies are not improving sleep quality, we suggest that the 500-microgram dose of melatonin be considered.

For those suffering from insomnia, who have not found effective long-term relief with higher-dose melatonin supplements, or those who want to include low-dose melatonin as part of their life extension program, we suggest that the 500-microgram melatonin supplement be considered.

Unlike prescription and over-the-counter drugs designed to improve sleep, melatonin has been shown to provide numerous health benefits, even at lower doses. To order, call 1-800-544-4440.