Diabetics should anyway pay much attention to protecting their microvascular system, but when viruses such as Covid go around, there’s extra reason to diminish the risk of vascular damage. The major complication in diabetes is that an excess of sugar in the blood causes damage to the hair vessels ‒ the capillaries ‒, especially in the extremities, such as feet, toes and eyes. The microvascular system is the prime target of viruses such as Covid-19 and Influenza. A combination of both factors, diabetic hyperglycaemia and Covid-19, can have serious consequences.
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The protective coating
The microvascular system consists of cells that are embedded in a “matrix” that keeps the cells in place. Other than this, the cells that constitute the endothelium of which the hair vessels are made, are protected by a thin coating that, simply put, is made of sugar and protein. It’s called ‘glycocalix’. One of the main reasons why hyperglycaemia, the increased level of sugar in the blood, causes damage to the microvascular system, is that it damages the glycocalix that protects the endothelial cells. Without the coating’s protection, the endothelium will have difficulty in functioning properly. This will lead to increased risk of blood clots, poor exchange between blood and tissues, inflammation and edema.
Nitric oxide controls blood clotting
Other than protecting the endothelial cells, the coating performs its own specific role in maintaining microvascular health. It facilitates the formation of a molecule called nitric oxide, which is abbreviated as NO. NO helps in preventing blood clots. When the glycocalix is damaged, less NO is produced and blood clotting is elevated. This is one of the reasons why Covid-patients show increased blood clotting activity and why their lungs show widespread vascular thrombosis. ([i]) This kind of thrombosis is not limited to the lungs. It disseminates through the entire circulatory system. Together with a ruined microvascular system, this causes occlusion of the capillaries in the air sacs or alveoli in the lungs. This blocks the uptake of oxygen by the blood and the secretion of carbon dioxide. It’s not difficult to understand why putting seriously ill Covid-patients on ventilators doesn’t help much unless it is accompanied by strong medicinal and nutritional support of the microvascular system.
Glycocalix, the miracle ‘film’
One doesn’t often read about the glycocalix, but it is a miracle ‘film’ that has yet another intruiging function. It also acts as a kind of sensor that is uniquely capable of transmitting to the endothelium and its ‘matrix’ mechanical forces, such as the shear stress (‘drag force’) induced by the blood that passes along the vascular wall. This transmission triggers an intricate signaling-system that is geared toward keeping the microvascular system in order and have it function to the best of its capacity. This dynamic ‘urge’ toward optimum health is called homeostasis. When the glycocalix is damaged, the transmission of the mechanical forces exerted by shear-stress is disabled and can no longer function in a correct and timely manner. The plug is pulled on the vascular system.
A disabled glycocalix causes havoc
When the sensoring of the blood’s shear stress is hampered, the microvascular signaling will fall in disarray and homeostasis cannot be sufficiently maintained. The endothelium can no longer maintain permeability, control the variations in blood flow by expanding or contracting the vascular system, and regulate the body’s inflammatory responses. Other than causing the blood clots observed in Covid-patients and the resulting suffocation of the lungs, this may eventually also lead to atherosclerotic plaque formation and cardiovascular failure. By the way, the debris caused by the disruption of the endothelial “matrix” is regarded as the early sign of the various microvascular problems that specifically plague Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics. Because the glycocalix is easily damaged by hyperglycaemia, maintaining its integrity is extremely relevant for diabetics.
How can OPCs help ?
In the many clinical and laboratory studies performed with Masquelier’s OPCs, they were shown to support microvascular homeostasis. As a result of this, Masquelier’s OPCs assist in maintaining or restoring venous tone, capillary resistance and capillary permeability. They do this by exerting manifold beneficial effects on the structural components of the microvascular homeostatic system and the exchange of information (chemical signals) between the various components. They protect collagen and elastin fibers against degradation and enhance the synthesis of collagen. These fibers form the flexible and resilient “skeleton” of the microvasculature. They help regulate the uptake and excretion of the substances that, like a “glue,” connect the fibers and the endothelial cells. They exhibit strong antioxidant activity and combat inflammation.
Generations of Masquelier’s OPCs’ users
Thus, OPCs keep the whole microvascular system flexible, resilient and capable of coping with the various physical, chemical and biological challenges it is constantly exposed to. Since the late 1940s, generations of consumers have used Masquelier’s OPCs for their unequivocal benefits in the field of microvascular health. Their side-effects are nil to negligeable. Their benefits are noticeable and manifold. They are relevant for all of us, now, more than ever.
[I] Pulmonary Vascular Endothelialitis, Thrombosis, and Angiogenesis in Covid-19; Maximilian Ackermann et al; The New England Journal of Medicine; Downloaded from nejm.org on June 7, 2020.