Introduction: Smoking is a major cardiovascular risk factor and is associated with vascular dysfunction. Natural Chios Mastic (NCM), a rich source of flavonoids, exerts numerous beneficial effects in patients with metabolic syndrome and dyslipidemia.
Hypothesis: Short-term NCM supplementation improves endothelial function and arterial stiffness in healthy young smokers.
Methods: We studied the effect of a 4-week treatment with NCM caps (2g per day) in 14 healthy young smokers (24±5 years) on two occasions (day 0: baseline and day 28) in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, cross-over design. Measurements were carried out before (pSm) and 20 minutes (Sm20) after cigarette smoking (standard cigarette: 1.1 mg nicotine, 12 mg tar). Endothelial function was evaluated by flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery. Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) was measured as an index of aortic stiffness.
Results: Cigarette smoking decreased pSm values of FMD and increased pSm values of PWV 20 minutes after cigarette smoking (Sm20) in both day 0 (FMD: from 5.95±4.11% pSm to 4.54±3.55% in Sm20, p=0.001; PWV: from 5.90±0.59m/sec pSm to 6.21±0.74m/sec in Sm20, p=0.05) and day 28 (FMD: from 7.78±3.53% pSm to 5.71±3.29% in Sm20, p=0.001; PWV: from 5.84±0.71m/sec pSm to 6.32±0.69m/sec in Sm20, p=0.005). Interestingly, NCM increased pSm values of FMD (Day 0: 5.95±4.11%, Day 28: 9.52±2.74%, p=0.04) and decreased pSm values of PWV (Day 0: 5.90±0.74m/sec to 5.70±0.64m/sec, p=0.03) (Figure). Finally, placebo administration did not affect pSm values of FMD and PWV (p=NS for both).
Conclusions: Short-term supplementation of NCM improved endothelial function and arterial stiffness in healthy young smokers. These findings suggest that NCM flavonoids may inhibit the detrimental effects of smoking on vascular endothelium and arterial wall and provide new means to restore arterial wall properties in high risk subjects.