Archive for the 'pycnogenol' Category

Nutritional Support for Eye Health

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each week, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Eye Health – Seeing is Believing

Vision and eyesight often receive little attention when it comes to nutrition. The vast majority of people are unaware that there are foods and nutritional support ingredients that can promote healthy vision as they get older. Whether you prefer to add selected fruits and vegetables to your diet, supplement your diet with an appropriate high-quality formula, or both, the foundation of eye health is the combination of several ingredients that prevent free radical destruction of eye tissue over the long run to maintain healthy visual function with age. These include basic antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, ß-carotene, and the mineral zinc (balanced with copper); two vastly underappreciated phytonutrients – lutein and zeaxanthin; the extract of French maritime pine bark – Pycnogenol – and potentially the structural-support nutrient hyaluronic acid. These powerful nutritional support champions form the basis of every healthy vision regimen.

Antioxidants ß-Carotene, vitamins C, E and Zinc

The AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease Study) trial was conducted several years ago under the sponsorship of the National Eye Institute, which is a part of the National Institutes of Health. The trial was conducted to evaluate the effect of supplementation with antioxidant vitamins and the mineral zinc in supporting eye health in aging individuals. The AREDS study involved 4,757 participants aged between 55 and 80 years old. The results of the study were released in October 2001. The study participants supplemented with either antioxidants alone, zinc alone, or the combination of antioxidants plus zinc for an average of 6.3 years. The group supplementing with the combination had the best outcomes with statistically significant results in maintaining normal visual acuity over that period of time.1

The formula used in the study included 500 mg of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, 15 mg of ß-carotene, 80 mg of zinc and 2 mg of copper supplemented on a daily basis. This study was integral in showing that a relatively high dose of antioxidant nutrients was able to help promote healthy vision in elderly individuals, and suggests the benefits of antioxidant supplementation to eye health.

The human retina contains the photoreceptor cells that convert light into vision. A healthy retina is absolutely vital to good vision. Oxidative damage to the eye is the most common cause of vision problems and loss in adulthood.2 Preventing oxidative damage before it happens is the best protection you can give your eyes.

Lutein, Zeaxanthin and the Retina

Fortunately, the retina contains lutein and zeaxanthin, the carotenoid cousins of ß-carotene. Lutein and zeaxanthin absorb ultraviolet light – a powerful antioxidant effect that protects the retina from oxidative damage. The absorption of ultraviolet light before it reaches the photoreceptors also helps to keep the visual image clear and distortion-free. By absorbing ultraviolet light, lutein and zeaxanthin contribute to visual acuity.

Smoke in Your Eyes (a bad thing)

Smoking has detrimental effects all around. Several tissues can suffer oxidative damage as a result of exposure to several of the compounds present in cigarette smoke. Direct exposure to cigarette smoke causes oxidation in the eye and its internal structures, and can double the retina’s need for the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

Age-Related Changes in Vision

Age also increases the retinal requirement for lutein and zeaxanthin, which approximately doubles between the ages of 20 and 80 years.3 Elderly men and women with low amounts of retinal lutein and zeaxanthin experience a decline in visual acuity and are much more likely to suffer age-related visual stress. Daily dietary supplementation with as little as 6 mg of lutein is a powerful promoter of visual acuity and eye health.4,5

Of course, “age-related” refers less to the fact that an individual is getting older and more to the fact that there is oxidative damage to eye tissue, which can occur at any age and in any individual. Thus, ensuring adequate lutein intake can be beneficial for everyone.

Lutein, Zeaxanthin and the Lens

Oxidative damage to the structure of the eye known as the lens is also common. Lutein and zeaxanthin filter high-energy blue light and function as antioxidants in the lens – functions which can protect this essential eye structure from being damaged. Researchers found that women aged 53 to 73 years with daily lutein plus zeaxanthin intakes of at least 2.4 mg nearly doubled their chances of having optimally-functioning lenses.6 Yet another reason for supplementing with these beneficial carotenoids.

Lutein, Zeaxanthin and the Optic Nerve

Making sure that your eyes contain enough of the natural antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, can ensure continued support for optic nerve health. The optic nerve transmits visual information from retinal tissue to the brain. Thus, damage to the optic nerve can severely affect visual acuity. Ensuring adequate lutein and zeaxanthin intake can protect the optic nerve from free radical damage.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin – Where Do They Come From?

The lutein and zeaxanthin of the macular pigment are entirely of dietary origin (and therefore lutein and zeaxanthin are essential nutrients).2 Lutein and zeaxanthin are found naturally in corn, broccoli, green beans, green peas, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, collard greens, spinach, lettuce, kiwi, honey dew, nettles, algae, the petals of many yellow flowers, the yolks of eggs laid by hens fed marigolds and high-quality dietary supplements. The results of a study published recently in the Journal of Nutrition indicate that more of the lutein (and probably zeaxanthin) that you consume can be absorbed if you add a little avocado.7

Recent studies have also confirmed that the more lutein and zeaxanthin one consumes, the more it can benefit eye health. Studies suggest that dietary intake of both carotenoids causes an increase in the amount of carotenoids reaching the eyes and thus able to confer protection from free radical damage.8,9

Pycnogenol

As we know, the normal processes of vision and daily environmental exposures to eye tissue produce vast amounts of free radicals. Overload your eyes with these destructive byproducts of sight and you risk permanent damage to the retina, cornea and lens. Pycnogenol protects the structures of the eye – the cornea, lens and retina – from vision-destroying oxidation.10

Incorporating eye-friendly nutrients into your daily nutritional regimen increases your chances of enjoying worry-free visual function throughout life. Antioxidant nutrients such as ß-carotene, vitamins C and E, Zinc, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, Pycnogenol and hyaluronic acid can all play a part in ensuring you maintain healthy visual acuity and eye function by providing your visual organs with the nourishment and protection they desire.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Skin Health – Nourishing your Insides to Nourish your Outsides

References:
1. Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and zinc for age-related macular degeneration and vision loss. Arch Opthalmol 2001;119:1417-1436.
2. Beatty S, Boulton M, Henson D, Koh H-H, Murray IJ. Macular pigment and age related macular degeneration. Br J Ophthalmol 1999;83:867–877.
3. Beatty S, Murray IJ, Henson DB, Carden D, Koh H-H, Boulton ME. Macular pigment and risk for age-related macular degeneration in subjects from a Northern European population. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2001;42:439-446.
4. Richer S, Stiles W, Statkute L, Pulido J, Frankowski J, Rudy D, Pei K, Tsipursky M, Nyland J. Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-related macular degeneration: The Veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry 2004;75:216-230.
5. Seddon JM, Ajani UA, Sperduto RD, Hiller R, Blair N, Burton TC, Farber MD, Gragoudas ES, Haller J, Miller DT, et al. (1994) Dietary carotenoids, vitamins A, C, and E, and advanced age-related macular degeneration. Eye Disease Case-Control Study Group. JAMA 1994;272:1413-1420.
6. Jacques PF, Chylack LT Jr, Hankinson SE, Khu PM, Rogers G, Friend J, Tung W, Wolfe JK, Padhye N, Willett WC, Taylor A. Long-term nutrient intake and early age-related nuclear lens opacities. Arch Ophthalmol 2001;119:1009-1019.
7. Unlu NZ, Bohn T, Clinton SK, Schwartz SJ. Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of avocado or avocado oil. J Nutr 2005;135:431-436.
8. Burke JD, Curran-Celentano J, Wenzel AJ. Diet and serum carotenoid concentrations affect macular pigment optical density in adults 45 years and older. J Nutr 2005;135:1208-1214.
9. Rodriguez-Carmona M, Kvansakul J, Harlow JA, Kopcke W, Schalch W, Barbur JL. The effects of supplementation with lutein and/or zeaxanthin on human macular pigment density and colour vision. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt 2006;26:137-147.
10. Dene BA, Maritim AC, Sanders RA, Watkins JB 3rd. Effects of antioxidant treatment on normal and diabetic rat retinal enzyme activities. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther 2005;21:28-35.
11. Aragona P, Papa V, Micali A, Santocono M, Milazzo G. Long term treatment with sodium hyaluronate-containing artificial tears reduces ocular surface damage in patients with dry eye. Br J Ophthalmol 2002;86:181-184.
12. Debbasch C, De La Salle SB, Brignole F, Rat P, Warnet JM, Baudouin C. Cytoprotective effects of hyaluronic acid and Carbomer 934P in ocular surface epithelial cells. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2002;43:3409- 3415.

Managing the Inflammatory: Pycnogenol for Immune Support

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Tips for Promoting a Normal Healthy, Balanced Inflammatory Response: Pycnogenol for Immune Support

The powerful patented extract of French maritime pine tree bark, Pycnogenol, can also help your immune system maintain its balance. For example, in research published recently in Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy, dietary supplementation with Pycnogenol was shown to inhibit the effects of proinflammatory and pro-aging enzymes, thereby promoting a normal state of inflammatory activity.11

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Tips for Promoting a Normal Healthy, Balanced Inflammatory Response: Exercise and Physical Activities

References:
11. Schafer A, Chovanova Z, Muchova J, Sumegova K, Liptakova A, Durackova Z, Hogger P. Inhibition of COX-1 and COX-2 activity by plasma of human volunteers after ingestion of French maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol). Biomed Pharmacother 2006;60:5-9.

More Health Benefits of Pycnogenol

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
More on 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.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Phytosterols, Cholesterol and Healthy Hearts

References:
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.

Pycnogenol Maintains Strong Antioxidant Protection and Vision

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Pycnogenol Maintains Strong Antioxidant Protection and Vision

Enormous numbers of free radicals are produced within the eye (especially the retina) during the chemical conversion of light to sight. If free radical production remains unopposed, the normal processes of vision can lead to free radical overload, causing damage to the retina and cornea, which are particularly sensitive to oxidative damage. For this reason, structural components of the eyes are naturally rich in antioxidant nutrients. Often, these antioxidant stores may decline with normal aging, leading to changes in eye health. Pycnogenol’s antioxidant abilities serve as an important buttress by shielding the eyes from the effects of excessive oxidative stress.

In research published recently in the Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, supplemental Pycnogenol increased the activities of several antioxidant enzymes within the retinas of rats whose eyes were in a highly oxidizing environment.3 Since Pycnogenol was effective in animals. It is likely that Pycnogenol will also have protective properties in healthy humans. Previous research had shown that Pycnogenol protected fat molecules within the retina from oxidation by the free radicals produced during the visual cycle. By supporting retinal health, Pycnogenol® was shown to be a very powerful promoter of healthy eyes. In fact, research shows that dietary supplementation with 50 mg of Pycnogenol three times daily enhances retinal function and promotes visual acuity in the eyes of adult men and women, thus supporting healthy ocular function.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
More on Pycnogenol

References:
3. Dene BA, Maritim AC, Sanders RA, Watkins JB 3rd. Effects of antioxidant treatment on normal and diabetic rat retinal enzyme activities. J Ocul Pharmacol Ther 2005;21:28-35.

Pycnogenol

We interrupt the regularly scheduled Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging post to highlight the increasingly popular Pycnogenol. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Pycnogenol – Clinically Tested Breakthrough from France
The phytonutrients in pine bark have a long tradition of use in “folk medicine.” The French explorer Jacques Cartier was introduced to tea made from boiling pine bark when Native Americans saved most of his crew from death by scurvy during the winter of 1534. In particular, the bark of the French maritime pine tree contains a distinct group of potent health-enhancing phytonutrients. These beneficial compounds, which include procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids, are extracted from the bark by an automated, patented, multi-step procedure that avoids the use of potentially toxic solvents. The resulting water extract, patented and available as Pycnogenol, is pure and contains no additives. Because the bark is grown layer by layer over a period of more than 30 years before it is harvested, there are neither seasonal nor annual variations in the composition of its ingredients, in contrast to other herbal extracts. Its purity, potency and consistency is thus unmatched by other phytonutrient-rich extracts. Pycnogenol also has a tremendous amount of published research highlighting its many potential benefits.

The Link between Tree Bark and Human Health
The phytonutrients in Pycnogenol are absorbed into the human bloodstream very rapidly and once there act as a team of very efficient antioxidants. While certain compounds may be absorbed unmodified, several of these nutrients are acted upon by the beneficial bacterial population of the gut and are absorbed into circulation. The antioxidant prowess of Pycnogenol is evident from the fact that the consumption of as little as 50 mg of Pycnogenol three times daily substantially increases the total antioxidant capacity (oxygen radical absorbance capacity; ORAC) of the blood of healthy adults. The measurement of ORAC capacity in human serum is a good indicator of the ability of nutrients to perform antioxidant functions in living systems – meaning the antioxidants are likely to have an effect where they are intended. New research published in BMC Clinical Pharmacology shows that five days of dietary supplementation with 200 mg of Pycnogenol daily will stabilize elevated concentrations of antioxidants in the blood and that this increase in circulating antioxidant capacity can be maintained by continued supplementation with 200 mg daily.1 In addition, research findings published recently in Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy demonstrate that consuming 300 mg of Pycnogenol even once produces powerful inhibition of cyclooxygenase enzymes in humans2, supporting our normal inflammatory response and providing yet another explanation for the benefits of Pycnogenol.

Pycnogenol also recycles vitamin C and vitamin E after those vitamins have become loaded with stray electrons, preserving their essential antioxidant functions. Vitamin C is a major antioxidant inside and between cells and in the blood, and vitamin E is the single most important lipid-based antioxidant that is present in every membrane in every cell. The ability of Pycnogenol to recharge these antioxidant vitamins gives you a huge advantage in your battle to control and minimize the effects of free radicals. Research also shows that, in addition to replenishing vitamins C and E, Pycnogenol stimulates the production of antioxidant enzymes in cells themselves, which serves as an important first line of defense for them against free radical attack.

References:
1. Grimm T, Skrabala R, Chovanova Z, Muchova J, Sumegova K, Liptakova A, Durackova Z, Hogger P. Single and multiple dose pharmacokinetics of maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol®) after oral administration to healthy volunteers. BMC Clin Pharmacol 2006;6(1):4. doi:10.1186/1472-6904-6-4 (http://www. biomedcentral.com/1472-6904/6/4).

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Never Fails

Another round of holiday parties is here. At such get-togethers, it seems that new acquaintances, and sometimes old ones as well, at least the guys, once they’ve learned I work for a nutritional supplement company, invariably ask me the same question. “Do any of those herbal pills I see advertised on TV and in magazines, “for men”, really work?” (There’s also the typical addendum- “Not that I need it or anything…I’m just curious”)

This question is nearly always posed with a clear hint of skepticism. Of course, I can’t say I blame anyone for having doubts. It’s hard to deny that this is a product category rife with exaggerated claims and plenty of hype. And so I start by answering that in my view, most of the products are probably not quite as “potent” as the ads imply, at least the one’s that I’ve seen.

“I figured” is the typical response. Then I tell them there is a product that does have actual evidence to back its claims. It’s called Prelox® and it’s a product we distribute via a special arrangement we have with a terrific company called Natural Health Products, the same people who brought Pycnogenol® to the U.S. (For those unfamiliar, Pycnogenol, a pine bark extract, is one of the top evidence-based nutritional ingredients in the world, its efficacy in a wide range of areas backed by over 100 studies, and hugely popular worldwide where its been sold for over 30 years.)

It was their research on Pycnogenol’s mode of action that led them to surmise that there would likely be benefits for helping men maintain healthy sexual function. This ultimately led to the development of Prelox®, which is a patented formula that combines Pycnogenol with other ingredients like l-arginine, etc, and just like Pycnogenol, is sold all over the world. In their typical fashion, they have begun to build a portfolio of science and research around Prelox®, and last year published the results of a double-blinded, placebo-controlled study which yielded very positive results.

So as I go on, I tell these guys that Prelox® is NOT for erectile dysfunction, and that only a drug can claim to treat this condition. Rather, I tell them that Prelox® is something that a healthy man can use as a dietary supplement for helping them maintain their normal sexual health and performance as they age, helping them support something we’ve come to call “Erectile Quality, or EQ”.

This is when I pull out my famous baseball analogy. I say, “If you’re on the disabled list, Prelox cannot put you back on the field. However, If you are a good player, Prelox may be able to get you into the all-star game.”

The conversation always ends the same way- “Man, do you think you can get me a sample???”

-Jason Kam