Super antioxidant Pycnogenol: The real deal?


By pH health care professionals

You recently may have heard about Pycnogenol® on television, where it was touted for its anti-aging benefits. It’s been hailed as “nature’s super antioxidant,” and has been studied for its wide-ranging health benefits. Lately, it seems there’s nothing this supplement can’t do.

What is Pycnogenol?

Pycnogenol is an extract of French maritime pine bark, which grows in coastal southwest France. Medicinal uses for pine bark can be traced back hundreds of years.

In 1535, in what is now Quebec, French explorer Jacques Cartier’s men became ill with scurvy, a disease resulting from vitamin C deficiency. They were saved when a Native American told them how to prepare a tea made from pine bark. Cartier’s writings attributed the miraculous recovery to the tea. It is believed the bark’s high vitamin C content cured the men.

Over 400 years later, having read Cartier’s writings, Dr. Jacques Masquelier became intrigued by the medicinal power of pine bark. While walking through the French pine forests, he was impressed by the way the thick bark protected the trees from sun, wind and salt. He later developed an extraction process from these French maritime pines, and called the extract Pycnogenol.

What does it do?

Pycnogenol may improve blood flow, boost the immune system and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

What does this mean?

Pycnogenol is shown to help treat the following diseases:

  • Psoriasis
  • Depression (tested in mice)
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Brain trauma (tested in mice)
  • Aging of the skin

It also may help with:

  • Brain functions like memory and concentration issues
  • Tinnitus (ear ringing)
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Allergic asthma
  • Menopause
  • Metabolic recovery during athletic training
  • Reducing risk of cataracts
  • Chemotherapy side effects
  • Circulation problems
  • Endurance in athletes
  • Varicose veins
  • High blood pressure

Because of its antioxidant properties, Pycnogenol might also be good for preventing or treating cancer or heart disease. But it is a relatively new supplement, and more research needs to be done to prove that it helps these diseases.

Are there side effects?

Side effects may include headache, mouth ulcers, dizziness or abdominal discomfort. People who have autoimmune diseases should avoid taking Pycnogenol, because it stimulates the immune system. It is unknown if it is safe in pregnancy or breastfeeding.

All in all, Pycnogenol is the real deal. It has many health benefits to help you live a happier, healthier life.

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.


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