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Pycnogenol Review

Pycnogenol Review Research with 12 weeks of Pycnogenol resulted in improvements in mood, attention, increased cognitive performance based on results from Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences. It is also known as Pine Bark Extract, Pine Bark Procyanidins, Procyanidins.
Also Known Pine Bark Extract, Pine Bark Procyanidins, Procyanidins
Description Research with 12 weeks of Pycnogenol resulted in improvements in mood, attention, increased cognitive performance based on results from Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences.
Typical Dose 40-60mg

Benefits and Effectiveness

  • Attention - Increased [1]
  • Blood Flow - Increased [2]
  • Blood Pressure - Neutral [3]
  • Cognition - Increased [4]
  • Heart Rate - Neutral [5]
  • Inflammation - Neutral [6]
  • Pain - Decrease [7]

What is Pycnogenol?

Pine Bark also known as Pycnogenol is a pine, that is native to south western France along the western Mediterranean. The extract of which is rich in anti-oxidant properties that is used for the treatment of a variety of illnesses and conditions. (1)

The extract has been regarded as one of the best natural antioxidant at the present time and has very high potency. So, how does it work inside our body and deliver its antioxidant effects. As an antioxidant, Pine Bark Extract targets toxins and free radicals that may damage our bodies. And as we all know, free radicals refer to molecules that are unstable and highly reactive causing damage to cells. Free radicals may come from various sources such as pollution, stress, no exercise, poor diet, and radiation. Because of the damage that the free radicals bring, it may lead to a number of diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and age-related diseases (3). Antioxidants, like the extracts derived from Pine Bark, work by neutralizing these free radicals and oxidative stress thus, preventing the destructive processes that the latter may bring. It not only poses the properties to mitigate damage but helps in repairing any damage that has already occurred. Being an antioxidant, Pine Bark Extract will significantly boost our immune system in defending itself from diseases and infection. Because of this property that Pine Bark Extract possesses, it will promote a healthier body and brain, protecting and preventing us from accumulating diseases in the future.

On the other hand, the primary component through which Pine Bark Extract delivers its benefits is by the presence of the OPCs or the oligomeric proanthocyanidins. OPCs strictly refer to dimer and trimer polymerizations of catechins. They can be found in dietary sources such as in grape seeds and skin, nuts, blueberries, and among many others. According to researches, OPC shave high activity against urinary tract infections (4). In addition to that, it has also been found that OPCs support cardiovascular and brain health by strengthening blood vessels and improving blood flow. They also improve one’s blood pressure and improve the delivery of oxygen to cells.

Because of the activity of Pine Bark Extract’s components, it has been widely researched for possible uses in the medical field. In relation to that, researchers have found that the extract does have a variety of benefits to certain conditions. In the Journal of Phytotherapy Research, Pine Bark Extract has been shown to help manage chronic pain and reduce osteoarthritis. In comparison to the group who only received a placebo treatment, patients who received the extract with a daily dose of 100 mg, showed significant improvements. They experienced reduction of pain up to 56% in as little as 3 months. Pain relief was observed but also a reduction in joint stiffness by over 50%. There were also improvement in gastro intestinal issues by 63% and improvement in physical functioning by 57%. The overall improvement compared to the placebo controlled group was about 64%.

In addition to that, Pine Bark Extract has been regarded to be a successful treatment for individuals suffering from asthma. In a study conducted during 2005, results indicated that children which received the extract were capable enough to stop the use of inhalers due to significant improvements in their breathing patterns and overall condition as well. Combining the extract with Vitamin C and an enzyme can also reduce asthma symptoms.

Moreover, a study showed that Pycnogenol could effectively treat symptoms of ADHD and this effect may be attributed to the presence of taxifolin, catechin, possibly phenolic acids and procyanidins. Continous use after four weeks of daily administration, hyperactivity symptoms were significantly reduced. There was also improvement in attention span and coordination. As compared to ADHD medications, Pycnogenol results in much lower side effects.

Also, a study showed that Pine Bark extract can significantly impact health risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome. Administration of the extract at 150 mg, taken daily for six months, showed reduction in waist circumference, lowered blood pressure levels, LDL cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels.

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What should I consider before taking Pine Bark Extract?

1. Proper Pine Bark Extract dosage and frequency

As for any drug or supplement you are taking in, it very important to know the proper dosage, frequency and administration for you to attain the effects that you wanted. So as with Pine Bark Extract, how much of it does our body really need? Pycnogenol, a US registered trademark name for Pine Bark Extract, may be used in specific dosages depending on the purpose. For treating allergies, the dose would be 50 mg taken twice daily. For asthma in children, the dose would be 1 mg per pound of body weight given in two divided dosages. For treating conditions associated with poor circulation, the dose would be 45 mg to 350 mg daily or 50 mg to 100 mg taken three times daily. For mild high blood pressure, take 200 mg of Pycnogenol per day. For diseases of the retina including those associated with Diabetes, the dose would be 50 mg administered three times daily. (2)

When starting with any new drug or supplement, it would be best to start off with the lowest possible dose to see how you respond and then gradually increasing it over time. You might also want to consider consulting your doctor or healthcare provider first since a person’s condition and health status may play a role.

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2. Pine Bark Extract safety and side effects

The use of Pine Bark Extract can be considered safe when taken between doses of 50 mg to 450 mg daily. However, there have been a few reported mild side effects including dizziness, mouth ulcers, headaches and Gastro intestinal issues. (2)

3. Precautions and Contraindications to the use of Pine Bark Extract

Some people may not be suitable to use Pine Bark Extract since their condition may affect the efficacy of the supplement and may cause harm to them.

Pregnant and lactating mothers should not use Pine Bark Extract since there have not been any evidences to prove its safety among this specific population.

It is not recommended to take Pine Bark Extract if you are suffering from autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis since the extract can cause the immune system to become hyper active, thus results in worsening the symptoms of autoimmune diseases. (2)

In addition to that, people suffering from bleeding conditions should not use Pine Bark Extract as well since the extract may increase the risk of bleeding with the said population. This holds true with people suffering from Diabetes as well. This is because the extract may also decrease blood sugar too much in this population so it is best to avoid its use. For people undergoing surgery, the use of Pine Bark Extract is not recommended since it might slow blood clotting. It may also increase the chances of bleeding during or after surgery. Because of this, it would be best to stop using the extract at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery. (2)

4. Drug interactions to Pine Bark Extract use

It has been found that immunosuppressants may interact with Pine Bark Extract. Since the extract may increase the immune system, it may also decrease the effectiveness of immunosuppressants or those medications that work by decreasing the immune system. This include but are not limited to azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), and among many others. (2)

Before starting any new medication or supplement, it would be best to consult your doctor or healthcare provider first, especially when taking other present medications.

Where can I buy Pine Bark Extract?

You may purchase Pine Bark Extract online drug is available over the counter and thus does not need any prescription from your doctor to buy one. Buy Pine Bark Extract now and experience the benefits of one of the most potent natural antioxidants around.

Reviewer: Kathleen R. RN, PT
Wiki Last Updated: 2016-02-16

Pycnogenol Dosage


Side Effects

Pycnogenol has been well tolerated in clinical trials, with only occasional gastrointestinal complaints reported.50, 51

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