Pycnogenol is a product which is extracted from the bark of European coastal pine, growing in southwestern France (Pinus maritime or Pinus pinaster) and is prepared by a patented process.
The pine extract contains a complex of biologically active substances belonging to the group of bioflavonoids.
From this group over 4000 representatives with strong antioxidant properties have been identified.
Table of Contents
What Is Pycnogenol?
As a matter, Pycnogenol is a natural substance found in the 16th century.
The first evidence of its effects is linked to the sailors from the crew of Captain Jacques Cartier, who suffered from scurvy and the long sailing threatened them with certain death.
On the advice of a physician, they were cured with the help of a potion from the bark of the native trees. Today, Pycnogenol (Pycnogenol®) is a trademark of the British company Horphag Research, Ltd.
It is a product which is extracted from the bark of European coastal pine, growing in southwestern France (Pinus maritime or Pinus pinaster) and is prepared by a patented process.
The pine extract contains a complex of biologically active substances belonging to the group of bioflavonoids. From this group over 4000 representatives with strong antioxidant properties have been identified.
The chemical composition of Pycnogenol is well understood, it includes: 80-85% proanthocyanidins, 5% of the monomers catechin and taxifolin, and the residue is partitioned between some phenolic acids (ferulic and caffeine acid) and water.
The main action mechanism of Pycnogenol is through its ability to increase the levels of nitric oxide in the blood.
On the one hand, the increase in the corresponding concentration is obtained by reducing the conversion of nitric oxide to superoxide, which prolongs its half-life.
On the other hand, it is obtained through direct stimulation of the enzyme Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS).
Pycnogenol has a place in dozens, even hundreds of scientific studies with different purposes.
1) Erectile dysfunction
One of the main directions in the study of Pycnogenol is the erectile dysfunction. One of the studies has been conducted in men with confirmed organic erectile dysfunction.
In the course of one month, men have been taking 3g arginyl aspartate (dipeptide composed of 1.7 g of arginine and aspartate). After this month respectively 40mg and 120 mg of Pycnogenol have been added.
The results are impressive. Upon reception of pure arginine, without pycnogenol, only 5% of men have received a normal erection. With the addition of 40 mg of Pycnogenol, this percentage is 80%, and with 120 mg Pycnogenol - 92.5%.
Similar results have been observed with the intake of the nutritional supplement Prelox, which contains precisely extract from the pine bark and l-arginine aspartate.
2) Circulation and vasorelaxation
In people with coronary artery disease, 200 mg of Pycnogenol a day for eight weeks, along with standard therapy, has been able to improve the blood circulation by 32%, while the placebo group has stayed unchanged.
A similar result was observed for the dose of 100 mg daily for eight weeks by people with high blood pressure, as well as with 180 mg daily by healthy people.
3) Coagulation and thrombosis
Several studies distinguish pycnogenol as a great preventive measure against thrombosis. This property of Pycnogenol is studied in smokers and nonsmokers, as the increased risk of thrombosis in smokers has repeatedly been demonstrated.
Dose between 100 and 200 mg of Pycnogenol has a significantly positive effect in both groups. Its effectiveness is comparable to the dose of 500 mg of aspirin with the difference that Pycnogenol does not carry the risks of the prolonged intake of aspirin.
4) Joint problems
Several scientific studies have shown impressive results with the intake of Pycnogenol by people with osteoarthritis.
Divided into three doses, the daily dose of 150 mg of Pycnogenol taken for the period of 90 days has been able to reduce the severity of the symptoms of the disease.
Complaints about pain have decreased by 43%, for stiffness – by 35% and there’s been 52% improvement in motion.
Pycnogenol shows significant results in diseases such as asthma.
Several studies indicate that the prolonged intake of a daily dose of between 100 and 200 mg of Pycnogenol significantly reduces the symptoms of the disease.
In the majority of the studied subjects, the need for additional medication and inhalers has decreased significantly.
Pycnogenol has a place also in the studies of many other diseases and problems, including hyperactivity and attention deficit, skin problems, bad lipid profile, obesity, menopausal symptoms and others, but these data are still controversial.
Recommended Dose and Method of Intake:
The exact dosage varies among different studies, but the optimum one is in the range of 100 to 200 mg daily.
The daily dose can be divided into several doses during the day, or it can be taken at once.
The intake during meals is recommended, but not mandatory.
Side Effects and Contraindications
The extract of pine bark shows no side effects in the studied doses up to 300 mg daily for three months.
The safety of the higher dose is not yet clear.
Pycnogenol is a very powerful antioxidant, and as such, it may be useful for the prevention and prevention of various health problems.
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