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Pine Bark Extract
Pine Bark Extract (PBE) comes from the bark of the maritime pine tree (Pinus pinaster) found on the coast of southwest France in Les Landes de Gascoigne. Its antioxidant effects were known dating back to Hippocrates and have a long history in traditional medicine or ethnomedicine. They have been validated by modern medical research. An extract has been patented by a French researcher under the trade name Pycnogenol®. Pycnogenol consists of a variety of bioflavonoids, including catechins, epicatechin, oligomeric procyanidnins, and fruit acids.
Pine bark extract has been reorted to have the following properties.
- contains a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from free radical damage
- increases the effectiveness of vitamin C.
- helps lower cholesterol
- decreases the risk and severity of atherosclerosis, or damage to the arteries
- demonstrated to help strengthen and repair tissues made of collagen, a protein that builds blood vessels, skin, and connective tissue
- helps reduce swelling and inflammation
- decreases the symptoms of erectile dysfunction
- reduces the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause
- anti-inflammatory activity can help reduce muscle soreness and joint pain
- helps with rheumatoid arthritis
- relieves ADHD symptoms in boys but nor girls
- could benefit specific conditions such as allergies, asthma, and diabetes
- in conjunction with evening primrose oil and vitamins C and E it reduces wrinkles
- in conjunction with vitamin C it was effective in treating pateints with migraine
In a study conducted with older adults (60-85 years), investigators at Swinburne University in Australia tested the impact of 150 mg of pine bark extract daily on memory. Results of the three-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed “significantly improved” scores on memory tests among the participants.
Researchers at Italy’s Pescara University recruited 108 healthy students (ages 18 to 27 years) who were randomly assigned to take either 100 mg pine bark extract or placebo daily for 8 weeks.
The investigators used computer-assisted methods to test all the students on mental performance. They found a statistically significant improvement among students who took pine bark extract when compared with those who did not. Overall, the controls failed 9 out of 84 tests (10.71%) compared with 7 out of 112 (6.25%) in the pine bark extract group. Students in the pine bark group also showed a 17% reduction in anxiety compared with the controls.
Belcaro G et al. Panminerva Medica 2010 Jun; 52(2 Suppl 1): 21-25
Luzzi R et al. Panminerva Medica 2011; 53(1-3): 75-82
Ryan J et al. Journal of Psychopharmacology 2008; 22(5): 553-62
Wilson D et al. Phytotherapy Research 2010 Aug; 24(8): 1115-19
Some very interesting data on Pycogenol from a doctor in this video: