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10 Proven Health Benefits of Pine Bark Extract

01-24-2019 Douglas Won, MD, Regenerative & Longevity Medicine Specialist

10 Proven Health Benefits of Pine Bark Extract

Pine bark extract produces many beneficial effects that help support the body. It can reduce the risks of developing chronic diseases, and it can also decrease pain and inflammation.

Pine bark extract, is said to be a very powerful antioxidant and it comes from Maritime pine tree. Some say it functions like vitamin C but 20x more powerful. It’s also said to be 50x more powerful than vitamin E.

Pine bark extract offer these top 10 health benefits.

#1 – Boosts nitric oxide levels


Nitric oxide is an important molecule that facilitates vasodilation of the blood vessels. Its dilating action on the vessel wall allows it to expand so blood can flow freely. Adequate blood flow means your cells are getting the nutrients and oxygen they need.

Now, one study showed that pine bark extract and Pycnogenol® enhance nitric oxide levels[i] in the body. With more nitric oxide circulating in the body, blood vessel problems are reduced. This effect could benefit patients diagnosed with endothelial dysfunction.

#2 – Reduces blood sugar levels


Pine bark extract reduces blood sugar levels[ii] to a significant degree. One clinical study done on 30 patients with diabetes showed that pine bark extract and Pycnogenol® administration decreased postprandial blood sugar levels as well as HbA1c levels.

The participants reported minor side effects like dizziness and headaches. However, these side effects were tolerable and went away after some time.

#3 – Acts as an antioxidant

Pine bark has long been used since the ancient times as a therapeutic agent. It’s a potent antioxidant[iii] that helps neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals. It gives some of its electrons to these uncharged molecules, deactivating them and rendering them less harmful.

As an antioxidant, pine bark extract are a potent agent against skin problems and skin wounds.

#4 – Improves erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is a common problem associated with aging. It affects about 40% of the male population aged 40 years and above.

The risk of developing erectile dysfunction increases as one gets older. According to statistics, 70% of the male population above 70 years of age suffers from erectile dysfunction.

Pine bark extract has a beneficial effect on erectile dysfunction[iv]. One interesting study, in particular, involved 50 male individuals with erectile dysfunction. They were placed on French maritime pine bark extract for about a month.  After the clinical trial, all reported significant improvement in their erectile dysfunction problems.

#5 – Promotes healthy heart


The therapeutic effects of pine bark and Pycnogenol® on blood sugar and nitric oxide levels protect the heart from diseases like hypertension and cardiovascular disease[v].

In a study, 48 participants with hypertension and diabetes were given pycnogenol. After the study, the participants showed an improvement in their hypertension and diabetes control.

#6 – Supports the immune system


Pine bark extract has the ability to boost the immune system. In fact, one study showed that taking pine bark extract at least a couple of months before allergy season helps reduce allergic rhinitis[vi].

Pine bark extract also helps the immune system fight common infections like cold and flu. This effect also benefits patients with autoimmune problems like lupus.

#7 – Promotes healthy brain


Pine bark extract and Pycnogenol® is known to protect the brain from age-related problems like memory problems, cognitive decline, and chronic stress. They can also benefit patients with chronic brain diseases.

One study showed that the administration of Pycnogenol®reduced low-grade brain inflammation associated with Parkinson’s disease[vii]. It was also able to protect the brain cells from toxicity and degeneration that worsen the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

#8 – Lowers cholesterol levels


Pine bark and Pycnogenol® have the ability to lower bad cholesterol levels[viii] and protect us from its complications like heart diseases and stroke.

In fact, one study revealed that oral supplementation of Pycnogenol® decreases LDL, bad cholesterol levels and increases HDL, good cholesterol levels.

#9 – Reduces pain and inflammation caused by arthritis


Arthritis is a common problem associated with aging. The joints lose cartilage and synovial fluid, resulting in joint pain, restricted range of motion, and joint stiffness. Left untreated, arthritis can cause joint deformities.

Pine bark and Pycnogenol® are known to reduce pain and inflammation caused by arthritis[ix]. Not only can it decrease pain and inflammation, but it can also help improve joint range of motion.

#10 – Promotes oral health


Bad breath or halitosis caused by bacterial buildup can be a cause for embarrassment. In fact, some people suffering from halitosis report feeling some symptoms of depression and anxiety because of their dental problem.

Now, studies reveal that pine bark and Pycnogenol® may benefit people with halitosis[x]. Its antibacterial property can reduce bacterial buildup in the mouth. It can also improve tongue coating and decrease its accumulation on the tongue.

Precautions in Using Pine Bark and Pycnogenol®

Pine bark and Pycnogenol®l may benefit patients with chronic medical problems. Individuals with the following medical problems should be cautious when taking pine bark and Pycnogenol®.

  • Bleeding disorders. High dosages of pine bark extract and Pycnogenol®  may cause increased bleeding. So if you have a bleeding disorder, it’s wise to talk with your physician first before using pine bark extract and Pycnogenol® supplements.
  • If you’re on anti-diabetes drugs, know that taking pine bark extract supplements can cause a drop in your blood sugar levels. Check your blood sugar level frequently to prevent sudden drop.

However, numerous studies also suggest that pine bark and Pycnogenol® supplements may be a great addition to your diet. They promote a healthier body and can help maintain overall wellbeing.

But to be on the safe side though, you should always consult with your physician before taking bark pine, pycnogenolor any other supplements.

Learn How To Get Pine Bark Extract

[i]Pycnogenol, French maritime pine bark extract, augments endothelium-dependent vasodilation in humans. Accessed: January 8, 2019.

[ii]French Maritime Pine Bark Extract Pycnogenol Dose-Dependently Lowers Glucose in Type 2 Diabetic Patients. Accessed: January 8, 2019.

[iii]In Vitro Study on the Antioxidant Activity of a Polyphenol-Rich Extract from Pinus brutia Bark and Its Fractions. Accessed: January 8, 2019.

[iv]Improvement of erectile function by a combination of French maritime pine bark and roburins with aminoacids. Accessed: January 8, 2019.

[v]Reduction of cardiovascular risk factors in subjects with type 2 diabetes by Pycnogenol supplementation. Accessed: January 8, 2019.

[vi]A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled exploratory study to evaluate the potential of pycnogenol for improving allergic rhinitis symptoms. Accessed: January 8, 2019.

[vii]Protection of MPTP-induced neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration by Pycnogenol. Accessed: January 8, 2019.

[viii]Supplementation with a pine bark extract rich in polyphenols increases plasma antioxidant capacity and alters the plasma lipoprotein profile. Accessed: January 8, 2019.

[ix]Treatment of osteoarthritis with Pycnogenol. The SVOS (San Valentino Osteo-arthrosis Study). Evaluation of signs, symptoms, physical performance and vascular aspects. Accessed: January 8, 2019.

[x]Effects of French Pine Bark Extract Chewing Gum on Oral Malodor and Salivary Bacteria. Accessed: January 8, 2019.

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