I learn something new about KAATSU seemingly almost every day. Someone asked me about the potential for blood clots with KAATSU. It turns out, KAATSU use seems to be fibrinolytic (i.e. non-clot forming). Who knew?
In case you’re wondering, fibrin is a major component of blood clots. Fibrin acts like a net that traps cells and platelets to make a blood clot more durable. There is a substance called tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) that activates plasminogen contained inside fibrin. tPA initiates reactions that break up fibrin, thus helping blood clots dissolve.
I didn’t know that a 2007 study (reference) had demonstrated that KAATSU use induced potentially favourable changes in fibrinolytic factors. KAATSU was tested in a hyperbaric chamber to simulate the pressure one is under on a commercial airline flight. Basic KAATSU exercises that one could do while sitting in economy class were performed and blood samples drawn to check levels of various compounds in the blood related to clotting.
Levels of tPA were increased when using KAATSU passively in the hyperbaric chamber, and then increased again immediately after low-intensity resistance exercises. Levels of PAI-1 (Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1) did not increase, which is good because it inhibits the activity of tPA. This study clearly demonstrated that KAATSU use did not contribute to fibrin formation and showed that it might be possible to help break up blood clots through the enhancement of tPA activity.
Wow. Just, wow. That such a simple device like KAATSU may be able to produce such beneficial changes in the body is incredible to me. It’s also amazing that this effect has been researched and has been known for close to 20 years. Just another example of how KAATSU has been ahead of its time.
Disclaimer: KAATSU protocols have not been evaluated by Health Canada. KAATSU is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and its use should be evaluated by your own physician before use.