Nature has managed to create a truly unique product that provides optimal cellular nutrition with a pronounced antioxidant, regenerative and broad-spectrum restorative effect.
Our immune system is our defense – over a trillion cells are on 24-hour fast, vigilantly eliminating viruses, yeast, bacteria, tumor cells and toxins. And our bodies are in a constant battle with the constant invasion of “silent” microbes and constantly mutating “superbugs” in the toxic environment around us.
Unfortunately, however, very often we are the losing side. And although modern medicine and pharmacy have reached a high level of development, science still does not know the human immune system well enough.
No doubt the question would then arise, “What can we do to increase our body’s resistance?” And the answer is absolutely logical – we can turn to nature and radically change our lifestyle.
It is well known that a healthy and varied diet consisting of plenty of fruits and vegetables is essential. It contains many different antioxidants that control the “invasion” of free radicals, which can lead to serious consequences for the body.
A diet that includes a rich array of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, essential fatty acids and antioxidants undoubtedly supports the body’s innate antioxidant defenses.
What is Pycnogenol?
As a substance, pycnogenol is an absolutely natural substance discovered in the 16th century. The first reports of its action relate to the sailors of Captain Jacques Cartier’s crew, who were suffering from scurvy, and prolonged sailing threatened them with certain death. On the advice of a healer, they were cured using a decoction of the bark of local trees.
Nowadays Pycnogenol® is a trademark of the British company Horphag Research, Ltd.
It is a product that is extracted from the bark of the European coastal pine growing in southwestern France(Pinus maritime or Pinus pinaster) and is prepared through a patented process.
Pinia extract contains a complex of biologically active substances belonging to the group of bioflavonoids. From this group, over 4 000 representatives with well pronounced antioxidant properties have been identified.
The chemical composition of pycnogenol is well studied, it includes: 80-85% proanthocyanides, 5% of the monomers catechin and taxifolin, and the remainder is distributed among some phenolic acids (ferulic and caffeic) and water.
Mechanism of action
The primary mechanism of action of pycnogenol is through its ability to increase nitric oxide levels in the blood.
On the one hand, the increase in concentration is obtained by reducing the conversion of nitric oxide to superoxide, which extends its half-life.
On the other hand, this is obtained by direct stimulation of the enzyme Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS).
Pycnogenol finds a place in dozens, even hundreds of scientific studies for a variety of purposes.
One of the main directions in the study of pycnogenol is in erectile dysfunction.
One of the studies was conducted in men with confirmed organic erectile dysfunction. 13
For one month, the men took 3 grams of arginyl aspartate (a dipeptide composed of 1.7 g of arginine and aspartate). After this month, 40 and 120 mg of pycnogenol were added to the protocol, respectively.
The results are impressive. When taking pure arginine, without additional pycnogenol, only 5% of men received normal erections. In the protocol with an additional 40 mg of pycnogenol, this percentage was 80%, and with 120 mg of pycnogenol – 92.5%.
Similar results have been observed when taking the dietary supplement Prelox, which contains specifically pine bark extract and l-arginine aspartate. 14,15
Blood circulation and vasorelaxation
In people with coronary artery disease, 200 mg of Pycnogenol daily for 8 weeks, along with standard therapy, was able to improve blood flow by 32%, while no change was seen in the placebo group. 1
A similar result was observed at a dose of 100 mg daily for 8 weeks in people with high blood pressure2, and at 180 mg daily in healthy people. 3
Blood clotting and thrombosis
Several studies have distinguished pycnogenol as a great preventive measure against thrombosis.
This property of pycnogenol has been studied in smokers and non-smokers, and the increased risk of thrombosis in smokers has been repeatedly demonstrated.
A dose between 100 and 200 mg of pycnogenol has a significant positive effect in both groups of people. Its effectiveness is comparable to a 500 mg dose of aspirin, with the difference that picnogenol does not carry the risks of prolonged aspirin intake.
Several scientific studies have shown impressive results when people with osteoarthritis take pycnogenol.
Divided into 3 intakes, a daily dose of 150 mg of Pycnogenol taken over a period of 90 days was able to reduce the severity of symptoms from the disease.
Complaints of pain were reduced by 43%, stiffness by 35% and 52% improvement in movement.
Pycnogenol also shows strong results in diseases such as asthma.
Several studies have shown that prolonged intake of a daily dose between 100 and 200 mg of pycnogenol significantly reduces symptoms from the disease. In a large proportion of the study subjects, the need to take additional medications and inhalers was significantly reduced.
Pycnogenol also finds a place in research for a number of other diseases and problems, including hyperactivity and attention deficit, skin problems, poor lipid profiles, obesity, menopausal symptoms, and others, but the data for these are still conflicting.
Recommended dosages and method of use
The exact dosage varies between studies, but the optimal one is in the range of 100 to 200 mg daily.
The daily dose can be divided into several intakes during the day or taken all at once.
Intake at mealtimes is recommended but not mandatory.
Side effects and contraindications
The pine bark extract did not show any side effects in the doses studied up to 300 mg daily for 3 months.
The safety of higher doses is not yet clear.
Pycnogenol is an extremely strong antioxidant and as such, it may be beneficial in the prevention and prevention of various health problems.
The extract has serious potential and in certain situations is worth trying as a natural and harmless alternative to modern medicine.