Health Benefits of Pycnogenol
Happy Blood Vessels and Well-Supported Peripheral Circulation
The circulation in the lower limbs can be effected over time as a result of free radical damage to the walls and valves of healthy arteries and veins. This may result in inefficient flow through these vessels back to the heart and throughout the body. The supply of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues may be disrupted and affecting the body’s natural healing abilities.
Pycnogenol’s antioxidants absorb and quench free radical electrons with great efficiency and can vastly maintain the resistance of small blood vessels and capillaries throughout the body to oxidative damage. The results of human clinical trials published recently in Angiology4 and Clinical Applications in Thrombosis and Hemostasis5 showed clear improvements in the ability of veins to expand and dilate, and blood flow and nutrient delivery to the lower legs with the consumption of 50 mg of Pycnogenol three times daily for 4 to 6 weeks.
Further research shows that dietary supplementation with 150 mg of Pycnogenol daily promotes optimal microcirculation in capillary networks of the lower legs in men and women.6 A recently published study also found that taking 200 mg of Pycnogenol daily was effective for reducing muscle cramps in healthy adults who experienced occasional cramps while consuming placebo.7 These researchers yet again confirmed previous findings that consuming Pycnogenol daily facilitates healthy blood flow and nutrient supply throughout the body.
Stay Healthy in the Air
Prolonged air travel has been associated with cardiovascular issues caused by inactivity (sitting in one place for extended periods of time) and dehydration.8 Compression of veins by the edge of a seat could contribute to slowing of venous return of blood to the heart and pooling of fluid in the lower legs. Dehydration in an aircraft cabin also can cause some swelling in the lower legs. The inability to move freely combined with the subnormal air pressure and oxygen content within an airplane can also interfere with healthy circulation. Long airplane flights are especially concerning because of their prolonged nature and potential to have a greater impact on cardiovascular health.
Effective preventive measures while traveling include standing and stretching exercises, drinking copious amounts of water, and avoidance of tightly-fitting clothes, salty foods and alcoholic beverages.
Dietary supplementation with Pycnogenol, which is rich in veno-supportive nutrients, can be highly beneficial. The results of a placebo-controlled clinical trial published recently in Clinical Applications in Thrombosis and Hemostasis suggest that every traveler should add Pycnogenol to their travel preparations. In this study, 200 mg of Pycnogenol or of placebo were consumed 2 to 3 hours before take-off and again after 6 hours in the air.8 As opposed to the placebo, Pycnogenol was found to be highly supportive of venous circulation during the flights – an indication that Pycnogenol promoted circulation while supporting healthy vascular function within the adverse environment of an aircraft at high altitude for many hours.
Pay Attention, Please!
Several studies in recent years have looked at Pycnogenol’s ability to support cognitive function, mood, and attention and concentration. A double-blind, placebo controlled pilot study was conducted in which 61 children aged six to fourteen years were given a daily dosage of 1 mg of Pycnogenol per kilogram body weight or a placebo for four weeks.9 The researchers found that Pycnogenol intake for one month significantly enhanced concentration and attentiveness in these children. Scientists have suggested that these effects may be due to the antioxidant activity of Pycnogenol and may also be a result of Pycnogenol’s ability to enhance the production of nitric oxide, a molecule that supports increased circulation through arteries and veins, thus making it easier for nutrients to reach organs and systems, including brain tissue. In fact, further research on Pycnogenol in children found that the same dose (1 mg per kilogram body weight) given over a one-month period increased total antioxidant status and was able to induce a highly significant increase in the level of reduced to oxidized glutathione in the blood.10 As is widely known, glutathione is one of the most abundant antioxidants in cells throughout the body. What is interesting is that research shows that the lower the intracellular glutathione concentrations go, the faster cells (and hence tissues!) age. Glutathione is the key antioxidant protector of proteins, fats and DNA in cells. Maintaining glutathione concentrations in cells is critical for healthy aging. Even more important is ensuring that there is a healthy balance of the reduced glutathione to oxidized glutathione. The reduced form is crucial for glutathione’s free-radical scavenging capability. Pycnogenol recycles glutathione and keeps more of it in the free-radical attacking reduced form.
Pycnogenol also has shown the ability to support memory function in the elderly. A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology highlighted research looking into the effects of Pycnogenol supplementation over a three-month period on cognitive function and memory.11 In this placebo-controlled trial, healthy elderly individuals were asked to take Pycnogenol at a daily dose of 150 mg per day or placebo. The results of the trial showed significant benefits in memory function in the Pycnogenol group after 3 months, indicating Pycnogenol’s beneficial effect on cognitive function. Once again, researchers attribute this benefit of Pycnogenol to its powerful antioxidant functions and its ability to protect brain cells from free radical damage.
Tree Bark and Human Health – Strong Links
Pycnogenol – the unique water extract from the French maritime pine tree – has numerous tonic effects for the human body. This well-researched product deserves to be included as a core component of everyone’s health and wellness armamentarium. Pycnogenol reinforces the establishment of a healthy balance between oxidative stress and antioxidant capacity throughout the body. By doing so, Pycnogenol is a strong and potent ally of visual health, vascular health, immune wellness and in the management of the inflammatory response, cognitive function and memory, and as a key nutrient for Healthy Aging.
4. Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Errichi BM, Ledda A, Di Renzo A, Stuard S, Dugall M, Pellegrini L, Rohdewald P, Ippolito E, Ricci A, Cacchio M, Ruffini I, Fano F, Hosoi M. Venous ulcers: Microcirculatory improvement and faster healing with local use of Pycnogenol. Angiology 2005;56:699-705.
5. Cesarone MR, Belcaro G, Rohdewald P, Pellegrini L, Ledda A, Vinciguerra G, Ricci A, Gizzi G, Ippolito E, Fano F, Dugall M, Acerbi G, Cacchio M, Di Renzo A, Hosoi M, Stuard S, Corsi M. Comparison of Pycnogenol and Daflon in treating chronic venous insufficiency: A prospective, controlled study. Clin Appl Thromb Hemost 2006;12:205- 212.
6. G. Belcaro, M. R. Cesarone, B. M. Errichi, A. Ledda, A. Di Renzo, S. Stuard, M. Dugall, L. Pellegrini, G. Gizzi, P. Rohdewald, E. Ippolito, A. Ricci, M. Cacchio, G. Cipollone, I. Ruffini, F. Fano, M. Hosoi. Diabetic ulcers: Microcirculatory improvement and faster healing with Pycnogenol. Clin Appl Thromb Hem 2006;12:318-323.
7. Vinciguerra G, Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Rohdewald P, Stuard S, Ricci A, Di Renzo A, Hosoi M, Dugall M, Ledda A, Cacchio M, Acerbi G, Fano F. Cramps and muscular pain: Prevention with pycnogenol in normal subjects, venous patients, athletes, claudicants and in diabetic microangiopathy. Angiology 2006;57:331-339.
8. Cesarone MR, Belcaro G, Rohdewald P, Pellegrini L, Ippolito E, Scoccianti M, Ricci A, Dugall M, Cacchio M, Ruffini I, Fano F, Acerbi G, Vinciguerra MG, Bavera P, Di Renzo A, Errichi BM, Mucci F. Prevention of edema in long flights with Pycnogenol. Clin Appl Thromb Hemost 2005;11:289-294.
9. Trebatická J, Kopasová S, Hradecná Z, Cinovský K, Skodácek I, Suba J, Muchová J, Zitnanová I, Waczulíková I, Rohdewald P, Duracková Z. Treatment of ADHD with French maritime pine bark extract, Pycnogenol. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2006;15(6):329-35.
10. Dvoráková M, Sivonová M, Trebatická J, Skodácek I, Waczuliková I, Muchová J, Duracková Z. The effect of polyphenolic extract from pine bark, Pycnogenol on the level of glutathione in children suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).Redox Rep. 2006;11(4):163-72.
11. Ryan J, Croft K, Mori T, Wesnes K, Spong J, Downey L, Kure C, Lloyd J, Stough C. An examination of the effects of the antioxidant Pycnogenol on cognitive performance, serum lipid profile, endocrinological and oxidative stress biomarkers in an elderly population. J Psychopharmacol. 2008;22(5):553-62.