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The discussion on the benefits of Pycnogenol® is an evolving topic, as continued research tests the efficacy of this extract from the bark of the French Maritime Pine. Presently, there are many claimed benefits, but some claims are dubious because they have little research accompanying them. There are some benefits of Pycnogenol® that have been studied more thoroughly which are increasingly credible. For the most part, simply generating a list of benefits is difficult because continuing research might change such a list. It is possible to evaluate those claims that are most supported by research, and to mention those purported benefits that require additional study.
Some of the most encouraging studies on Pycnogenol® that have been duplicated and researched numerous times include ones on its treatment for chronic venous insufficiency. This condition can cause pain in the legs, significant water retention, and increase in development of varicose veins. Multiple clinical studies suggest one of the benefits of Pycnogenol® is that it helps to reduce water retention and discomfort associated with this condition. While more research is still needed, use of this extract for chronic venous insufficiency is becoming more widely accepted.
Another of the more researched benefits of Pycnogenol® concerns the treatment of asthma. While use of this extract is not yet a standard, recommended treatment for asthma by the mainstream medical community, a number of studies have shown it to improve asthma symptoms. This does not mean Pycnogenol® is a substitute for other asthma medicines, but many people with challenging asthma symptoms are turning to this extract as an adjunct therapy. Again, additional research is needed to fully prove benefits of Pycnogenol® in this respect.
Other benefits of Pycnogenol® that are promising in more than one study include its ability to enhance the performance of athletes to a small degree. It’s also been shown to minimally lower blood pressure and to possibly improve conditions like retinopathy, which can cause serious damage to the retinas over time. In this last use, the extract appears to slow down the damage that can accrue.
In addition to these more proven benefits of Pycnogenol® which still need further study, a number of small and unduplicated studies suggest other possible uses for the extract. This small amount of research is, in no way, proof of efficacy, and sometimes results of the research are inconclusive. Nevertheless, the extract is being considered for treatment, particularly in complementary medicine, for conditions like lupus, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), melasma, infertility in men, pain during menstruation, bleeding of the gums, erectile dysfunction, diabetes, deep vein thrombosis, blood clot prevention, and high cholesterol.
Though one of the benefits of Pycnogenol® is low incidence of side effects, it should be understand as real medicine that may conflict with other medical treatments or conditions. People should discuss use with their doctors. Pycnogenol® shouldn’t replace medically accepted therapies, since its benefits are unproven and the extract may not adequately address serious medical problems.
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