What is Pycnogenol, Definition and Benefits
Pycnogenol is the registered trademark name for a product that comes from the bark of the tree Pinus pinaster, it’s also known as pine bark extract. It contains natural chemicals known as proanthocyanidins, a type of flavonoids usually known as vitamin P. The flavonoids mainly consist of procyandins and phenolic acids. The ingredients of pycnogenol can also be derived from other sources such as peanut skin, witch hazel bark, and grape seed.
The liquid that comes from this pine tree is well-known for a variety of benefits and has been used for ages as an active ingredient in numerous vitamins, minerals, and dietary supplements. Research shows that pycnogenol is an antioxidant, has anti-inflammatory properties, and widens blood vessels.
Let’s check out its effects on various health issues:
• Heart health
Pycnogenol works as a preventive agent and has positive effects on the heart. A study published in 2005 in “Biomedical Reviews” explains its effects on heart, primarily it causes blood vessels to relax. This way blood flows easily through the blood vessels promoting good circulation and decreasing hypertension. It also increases LDL cholesterol which reduces the risk of heart disease.
• Fights aging
Pycnogenol seems to have great effects on the 5 key mechanisms responsible for aging which are oxidant stress, glycation, inflammation, DNA damage, and membrane damage. To better understand a study was conducted on mice, the researchers found that pycnogenol rejuvenated the experiment animals’ bodies better than any other drug or medicine. Researchers also found that mice supplemented with pycnogenol had significantly fewer wrinkles after they were exposed to UV rays. It acts as an internal sunscreen against UV rays and protects from sunburn. Pycnogenol also increases production of skin proteins and decreases degradation.
• Blood pressure
A 2001 study conducted by Dr. Hosseini and his team showed the effects of pycnogenol on blood pressure. They found that 200 mg of pycnogenol every day for 8 weeks decreases systolic blood pressure (the medical term for when your heart contracts) significantly. They explained that pycnogenol’s ability to increase nitric oxide levels explains its blood pressure lowering effects.
Another study found that 100 mg of pycnogenol daily improved blood sugar levels in 77 people with type 2 diabetes. Several studies support the theory that pycnogenol lowers glycated hemoglobin, which controls blood sugar over the long term.
Pycnogenol is known for treating asthma in children. The 2004 issue of, “Journal of Asthma,” published a study that explained the effects of pycnogenol on asthma after 3 months of supplementation. The participants had improvements in their asthmatic symptoms and reduction in the use of rescue inhalers. It is advised to consult your doctor before taking pycnogenol or any supplement.
• Menopause and peri-menopause
Doctor Han-Ming Yang of Ham-Ming Hospital in Taiwan says pycnogenol reduces symptoms of menopause including headache, fatigue, and vaginal dryness when taken regularly for several months. The study showed that 200 peri-menopausal women experienced improvement in antioxidative status and their LDL/HDL ratio was considerably altered. There were no adverse side effects noted. It also showed positive results with insomnia and proved effective for improving vasomotor problems.
Note: Always consult your physician before taking this, or any other supplement