First, What Is Pycnogenol?
Seems silly that the pine trees in your backyard could have been curing your ailments all this time. Well that’s just it, Pyncogenol, as it was coined, is pine bark extract straight from pine trees.
Now, the trademarked Pycnogenol you see for sale isn’t from your backyard. (That’d be weird). There’s actually an area of France that produces pine bark with the highest concentrations of antioxidants – that’s where Pycnogenol comes from.
What is Pycnogenol? Pycnogenol is any group of flavonoids extracted from the bark of French Maritime Pine trees. It is included in more than 700 dietary supplements and food and beverages worldwide. It is more commonly called French Maritime Pine Bark Extract, Pycnogenol is the trademarked name for it.
The Main Benefit of Pycnogenol
The main benefit of Pycnogenol is the antioxidants inside. It’s the same heart healthy stuff you find in resveratrol, OPC’s, and the polyphenols. Now, they all help the body in different ways – but together they are unbelieveable.
The main benefit of Pycnogenol is that is has four basic properties – it’s a powerful antioxidant, acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, selectively binds to collagen and elastin, and finally, aids in the dialation of blood vessels.
Pine Bark Extract acts as one of the most potent scavengers of free radicals. Its antioxidant capabilities help boost the immune system while it strengthens blood vessel walls and capillaries.
It also supports better circulation by preventing constriction of arteries and blood clotting and it contains substances which act against cramps.
So how does this relate to Resveratrol?
Pycnogenol and Resveratrol – Are They Related?
Here’s another connection between the two. Jack Masquelier, the guy who first studied the health benefits of pine bark (he’d read that the indians used pine bark to cure ills), found out that the active ingredient in French Maritime Pine Bark is a compound called oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC’s).
These OPC’s are polyphenols that are also found in grapes, peanuts and teas. Along side these polyphenols in grapes and peanuts is a nonbioflavonoid called. . . .
Resveratrol. Voila! That’s the link.
Pycnogenol Reduces Jetlag
In a study conduced at the G. D’Annunzio University in Pescara, Italy, researchers discovered that energy is a main benefit of Pycnogenol.
133 people taking flights lasting from 7 to 9 hours in length were given Pycnogenol (pine bark extract) or a placebo a couple times per day three days before the flight, and the day of the flight. The group that took Pycnogenol has fewer symptoms of jetlag and the symptoms lasted much less than those not taking the supplement.
Dr. Belcaro of the study said “I’m encouraged by the results of the study as Pycnogenol was effective in preventing jetlag related effects with any side-effects.”
Pine Bark Extract (Pycnogenol) Reduces Knee Osteoarthritis
Dr. Peter Rohdewald and his research Team at Slovakia’s Comenius University School of Medicine conducted a 3-month study involving 100 patients with stage I or II osteoarthritis. The patients were supplemented with either 150 mg Pycnogenol or placebo every day.
The results were extraordinary with 20.9 percent of the group improving, relief that still persisted 4 weeks later. After the 3 month trial was complete, there was a 40% reduction in pain and the patients required significantly less analgesic medication compared to the placebo group.
Pycnogenol’s Side Effects
Pycnogenol is one of the most researched food supplements and has passed extensive safety tests. To date, no serious or adverse Pycnogenol side effects have been observed or reported in clinical trials.
Mild side effects such as headache, nausea and dizzyness were seldom reported in trials. Some people have reported an astringent taste so it is best to take it with or after meals.
One of the reasons we recommend OPC Factor on our resveratrol supplements page is because it contains a myriad of fantastic nutrients like French Maritime Pine Bark Extract. Please see our to learn more.
Pycnogenol and Diabetes
In the May 2008 edition of the Journal of Nutrition Research, a study conducted at the University of Arizona, Tucson, shows that French Maritime Pine Bark extract reduced the blood sugar in type II diabetes patients. The study showed that beyond lowering blood sugar, it simultaneously lowered LDL cholesterol and blood pressure in patients.
French Maritime Pine Bark Extract reduces sypmtoms of Endometriosis
Pelving pain, dysmenorrhea and pelvic indurations were reduced in women taking part in a pine bark extract study in Ishokawa, Japan. A study conducted by Keiju Medical Center in Nanao City and Kanasawa University School of Medicine in Ishokawa showed that French Maritime Pine Bark extract worked as well as Gn-RHa for women with symptoms of Endometriosis.
The benefit of Pycnogenol (Pine Bark Extract) was that the women’s menstrual cycles were not interrupted, ovulation occured and 5 women in the study actually got pregnant. A tremendous break-through from the side effects of Gn-RHa.