Pycnogenol a Natural Anti-Inflammatory and Free-Radical Fighter

PycnogenolI became interested in this product after hearing about it from the Dr. Oz Show so I did some research:

Pycnogenol — What Is It?

Pycnogenol is the brand name for a premium herbal supplement extracted from the bark of the French maritime pine tree. That special pine bark is loaded with a concentrate of active bioflavonoids, which are also found in fresh fruits and vegetables. The extract from that bark is a potent blend of active compounds.

Where does it come from?

The source of Pycnogenol is a large forest of millions of acres in South-West France near the famous Bordeaux region. That forest is a plantation of French maritime pine trees. The pine trees are cultivated over a period of 30-50 years. Neither pesticides nor herbicides are used in that forest.

How does Pycnogenol work for your health?

As one of the most potent natural scavenger of free radicals, Pycnogenol mops-up all kinds of aggressive radicals, before they cause any damage by oxidative stress. Pycnogenol boosts the immune system and it strengthens blood vessel walls and capillaries. It supports a better circulation by preventing stress-induced constriction of arteries and blood clotting. Additionally the extract contains substances, which act against cramps.

Free radicals — why fight them?

In every day life our body generates free radicals, especially in case of stress. These chemically unbalanced radicals cause damage to our cells by oxidizing them, in the same way as metal becomes rusty and destroyed. Hence, free radicals are dangerous and scientists believe that the continuous exposure to free radicals is the major cause of aging and also of many degenerative diseases. As a super-antioxidant, Pycnogenol counteracts that danger in two ways: It stimulates our cells to double their antioxidative power and it catches free radicals in the blood stream. That double defense makes Pycnogenol unique.

What can it do for women?

First of all, women are exposed to stress in the same way as men. Therefore, protection of arteries against blood clotting and constriction is also important for women to reduce the risk of heart infarction or stroke. Many women suffer from problems related to bad circulation: Swelling of the lower legs, cold hands and tendency to easy bruising for example. By sealing the capillaries and enhancing the microcirculation Pycnogenol will be a relief. Another point of great interest for women is the protection of the skin against photo-ageing. Intake of Pycnogenol reduces the risks of UV-radiation and oxidative stress for the skin. Finally, Pycnogenol soothes menstrual disorders like cramps and pain.

It seems that nature has combined the constituents of the pine bark in a way to improve quality of life especially for women.

Pycnogenol affects the beauty of my skin

Pycnogenol binds and protects collagen, the protein that keeps the skin tight and smooth. Enzymes and free radicals can no longer break down collagen and elastin fibers, the process enabling development of wrinkles. Pycnogenol defies the accelerated aging of the skin due to exposure to sunlight (photo-ageing). Pycnogenol helps to lighten-up disturbing dark spots of the skin resulting from over-pigmentation. Pycnogenol restores a good blood circulation in tiny capillaries of the skin. With abundance of water and oxygen and removal of waste products the skin is replenished with moisture, looking young and fresh.

How does Pycnogenol benefit stressed business people?

Stress means your adrenaline is flowing during traffic jam, demanding phone calls and loads of bad news, that you smoke too much, if you are a smoker. Pycnogenol counteracts the increase in blood pressure caused by stress and it helps to prevent the clotting of blood, which may occur in case of stress and smoking. Business people have to work in a sitting position and have to travel a lot. Pycnogenol helps against swollen feet and reduced circulation caused by that immobile life style. Intake of Pycnogenol® may increase cognitive function, reduce the risks of stress and will prevent consequences of immobility.

Diabetes and Pycnogenol?

Diabetes produces oxidative stress and continuously damages blood vessels. The protective action of Pycnogenol for blood vessels and capillaries helps to keep blood vessels in diabetes well functioning. Of course, a strict normalization of blood glucose is the best way to prevent these damages. Often a retinopathy is observed in diabetics. Without protection diabetics often develop retinopathy: Tiny capillaries nourishing the retina of the eye spill blood onto the retina causing vision loss. Intake of Pycnogenol has been found to reduce the micro bleedings in the retina and to improve eyesight.

Is Pycnogenol helpful for smokers?

For smokers, unable to quit smoking, Pycnogenol gives a protection against the cardio-vascular risks by preventing the clotting of blood platelets, caused by smoking. Furthermore Pycnogenol inhibits the nicotine-induced constriction of blood vessels. Both effects together help to reduce the risk of clogged arteries and veins, the primary cause of heart infarction and stroke.

Chronic bronchitis and asthma?

Asthma and chronic bronchitis are both caused by chronic inflammation of lung tissue. Intake of Pycnogenol decreases the amount of circulating inflammatory substances in the blood stream and has been shown to improve asthma symptoms and the lung function. It inhibits additionally those enzymes responsible for the destruction of lung tissue in chronic bronchitis.

Does it help with sport activities?

Sports always create oxidative stress, as the metabolism rises, reflected by a 10-20 fold increase of inhaled oxygen. Trained athletes cope with oxidative stress by an increased production of anti-oxidative enzymes, protecting their cells against the burst of free radicals. That’s exactly what Pycnogenol does: It stimulates the cells to produce more anti-oxidative enzymes and free radical scavengers. An investigation with recreational athletes on a treadmill has shown that Pycnogenol increased endurance. Pycnogenol protects against the overload of free radicals and allows a better performance.

Will I feel any difference when I take Pycnogenol?

Not all people are alike. Sensitive persons feel revitalized, some even experience difficulties to fall asleep at night when taking Pycnogenol in the evening. Many ailments you suffer from may be relieved after prolonged usage of Pycnogenol. However, the main reason to take Pycnogenol is to stay healthy and keep optimal body functions.

How much Pycnogenol should you take?

For general use as a supplement, a typical daily dosage would be 1 mg per kilogram of body weight, or follow the directions on the packaging. Please consult your physician or naturopath if you are taking Pycnogenol for a specific condition.

Are there any side effects?

Because of its astringent taste, which occasionally causes minor stomach discomfort it is best to take Pycnogenol with or after meals. To date, no serious adverse effects have been reported.

Is Pycnogenol safe?

Pycnogenol is one of the best-researched food supplements and it has passed extensive safety tests. Toxicity tests have demonstrated a very low toxicity. No serious adverse event had been observed in clinical trials. Mild side effects as gastro-intestinal discomfort, headache, nausea and dizziness were seldomly reported.

Should pregnant women and small children take Pycnogenol?

As a general precaution, pregnant women should not take Pycnogenol within the first 3 months of pregnancy. Because there is no experience with small children, children under the age of 6 should not take Pycnogenol. That precaution measure is given beside the fact that no adverse effects had been observed in test series.

Information taken from:

Courtesy of Natural Nutrition Advisor.

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  1. Linda; this is a wonderful article! I am well awarethat pycnogenol is used in skin care as an antioxidant and de-ager, but I never knew of these other benefits. I am allergic to pine trees; I wonder if that would make me allergic to this.

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