Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
Pycnogenol® is the registered trademark for the anti-oxidant dietary supplement made from the bark of the maritime pine tree known as Pinus pinaster. Pycnogenol® is said to be among the most researched natural health product on the market. It may be used to help fight aging, diabetes, cholesterol, arthritis, retinal disease, and to strengthen the immune system. Recommended dosage vary. Although rare, Pycnogenol® may have unpleasant side effects, and it is not known if it is safe to take during pregnancy.
Over 230 clinical trials and scientific articles have been published about the safety and benefits of Pycnogenol®. Research tends to show that Pycnogenol® supplements may help the cardiovascular system, arthritis, asthma, and allergies. The main compounds in Pycnogenol® are procyanidins, bioflavinoids, and organic acids. These compounds act as free radical scavengers, reducing inflammation, binding to collagen and elastin, as well as increasing the production of endothelial nitric oxide, which promotes circulation.
A study published in the Journal of Ocular Pharmacological Therapy showed that Pycnogenol® supplements improved the vision of diabetics who had early diabetic retinopathy. A study on diabetics revealed that Pycnogenol® improved blood sugar control, lowered cardiovascular risk factors, and reduced the amount of high blood pressure medicine needed. When people with mild-to-moderate arthritis took 150 mg of Pycnogenol® over the course of three months, they had less pain. The subjects did not need to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for their arthritis pain during this time.
There is no recommended daily average of Pycnogenol® supplementation, but studies have shown that up to 450 mg per day is safe. The most common doses range between 1 mg per pound of body weight for children with asthma, up to 360 mg per day for people with poor circulation. Pycnogenol® supplements are usually available at local markets or health food stores and from online retailers. They generally come in bottles of 30 mg, 50 mg, or 100 mg capsules and tablets.
Although rare, users have sometimes reported dizziness, digestive problems, headaches, and mouth ulcers after taking Pycnogenol® supplements. Those with an autoimmune disease, such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis should avoid Pycnogenol® supplements because immune system activity increases when it is taken. The effectiveness of immunosuppressive medication could also be thwarted and cause a rise in the symptoms of the auto-immune diseases.
Initial research into the safety of Pycnogenol® supplementation during pregnancy shows that it may be safe to take during late pregnancy. Since this is only initial research, doctors advise pregnant women, women who might become pregnant, or women who are breastfeeding to avoid it. In addition, the makers of Pycnogenol® recommend that children under six years old do not take the supplement since no research has been done with Pycnogenol® and young children. If you are considering Pycnogenol®, it is probably best to speak with a qualified healthcare professional first.
A good way to see if Pycnogenol really works for problems like high blood pressure and arthritis is to get an evaluation from your doctor before you start taking it. Make sure he or she agrees that it is a safe health supplement to take, and start with a low dose.
After you have gradually increased your dose of Pycnogenol over several months, follow up with your doctor in about 6 months to determine if he or she thinks that your conditions have improved. At this time you can decide together if it worth it to continuing taking this supplement, or to stop if it isn't doing you much good.
Sometimes I think that the benefits of health supplements like Pycnogenol are exaggerated because everybody would be taking them if they really worked. Though this supplement sounds promising, I would take it with a bit of caution and few expectations before I got my hopes up too much.
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!