Pinokinase, a blend of pycnogenol and nattokinase, has been shown to prevent deep vein thrombosis and edema during long-haul flights. It is estimated that as many as 5-7% of high-risk individuals experience vein thrombosis during a long airline flight. High-risk individuals are those who have experienced a previous episode of vein thrombosis or suffer from coagulation disorders, cancer, cardiovascular disease, varicose veins, severe obesity or limitation of mobility due to bone or joint problems. Thrombosis of the deep veins in the legs can lead to pulmonary embolism that can be fatal. A group of British and Italian researchers now report that Flite Tabs (Aidan, Tempe, AZ, USA), a proprietary blend of nattokinase and pycnogenol, are effective in preventing edema and deep vein thrombosis during long-haul flights. Nattokinase is a fibrinolytic enzyme purified from the fermented soybean food Natto. Research has shown it to be highly effective in preventing the formation of blood clots and in rapidly dissolving existing clots. Pycnogenol is a water extract from the bark of the French maritime pine and has been found effective in controlling edema. It is a strong antioxidant, has significant anti- inflammatory effects, and increases capillary wall resistance. Flite Tabs contain 150 mg of a mixture of nattokinase and pycnogenol.
The clinical trial involved 204 high-risk airline passengers travelling between London and New York (a 7-8 hour flight). Half the passengers were randomized to receive 2 capsules of Flite Tabs 2 hours prior to the flight with 250 ml of water and another 2 capsules 6 hours later, also with 250 ml of water. The other half of the experimental group received placebo capsules in a similar fashion. The presence of blood clots in the veins of the leg was determined with ultrasound scanning within 90 minutes of the beginning and completion of the flight. The degree of edema experienced during the flight was determined through a combined edema score including ankle circumference, discomfort, subjective swelling, and a standard edema test. All passengers were given suggestions as to how to avoid vein thrombosis. These suggestions included mild isometric exercise including standing and moving the legs for 5 to 10 minutes every hour, avoiding baggage under the seat, and drinking water regularly (100-150 ml every hour).
The researchers observed no thrombotic events in the Flite Tabs group, but discovered 5 cases of
deep vein thrombosis and 2 cases of superficial thrombosis in the control group. Thus the total incidence of
venous thrombosis was 7.6% in the control group versus 0% in the Flite Tabs group. The average edema
score increased by 12% in the control group after the flight, but decreased by 15% in the Flite Tabs
group. The researchers conclude that Flite Tabs are effective in controlling edema and reducing
thrombotic events in high-risk airline passengers during long-haul flights.