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Wide-Ranging Longevity Benefits Of Pycnogenol

June 2014

By Sarah Brighton

Emerging Roles For Pycnogenol
Emerging Roles For Pycnogenol

As we continue to learn about the essential role of oxidative damage in so many disease processes, we discover the multiple procyanidins in Pycnogenol offer outstanding antioxidant support in a growing number of disorders. Here are a few to watch for in the coming years:

  • Skin Health: Animal studies reveal that when Pycnogenol is applied topically, it can protect skin from the inflammation, immune suppression, and cancer risk caused by ultraviolet radiation.36 A recent human study demonstrated that oral Pycnogenol supplementation improved skin hydration and elasticity in post-menopausal women, with the most prominent effect seen in those with dry skin conditions.37
  • Pain: Pycnogenol supplements prevent cramps, muscle pain at rest, and pain during and after exercise in normal individuals, in athletes, in those with venous disease and claudication, and in diabetics with microangiopathy (small vessel disease).38 In addition, women with endometriosis achieved significantly more pain relief when Pycnogenol was added to their oral contraceptive, compared with the contraceptive alone.39
  • Traumatic Brain Injury: This type of injury is increasingly common, occurring not only in active young people and military personnel, but also in older adults who suffer from falls. Brain damage following trauma results in massive oxidative damage as blood flows to the injured area. Animal studies show that Pycnogenol, even administered up to four hours after a brain injury, significantly reduces oxidative stress and damage to proteins in the delicate synapses, where nerve cells communicate with one another. This is accompanied by a similarly marked reduction in inflammatory markers in brain areas vital for memory and cognition.40,41
  • Tinnitus : Tinnitus is a maddening, distressing, and distracting condition in which continuous sound is perceived in one or both ears, without any actual sound being present. It has multiple causes, including poor blood flow and high oxidative stress,42 but no convincing cure has yet been discovered. Risk factors for developing tinnitus include exposure to loud noise, obesity, smoking, excess alcohol consumption, previous head injuries, history of arthritis, and hypertension.43 In a study of 82 patients with mild-to-moderate tinnitus who had decreased blood flow in the cochlea (sound-sensing portion of the ear), Pycnogenol at both 100 and 150 mg/day improved blood flow velocity in the cochlea, with significant relief of symptoms in an average of 34 days.44

Pycnogenol Offers Neuroprotection

Human studies have not yet been conducted, but exciting basic science is being done in laboratories around the world on the potential for Pycnogenol to improve some of the most heartbreaking diseases of aging, the neurodegenerative conditions that include Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Studies are showing that Pycnogenol’s powerful antioxidant properties can intercept ongoing oxidant damage that leads to these disorders.

Studies reveal sharp drops in markers of both oxidation and inflammation when Pycnogenol is provided in animal models of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as of diabetes, which is a leading cause of neurodegeneration.31-33 Pycnogenol protects brain cells and their supporting structures from premature cell death, and mitigates the decline in cognitive performance seen in an animal model of Alzheimer’s.31,33,34 Pycnogenol also boosts brain cells’ own natural cellular antioxidant systems, helping them resist chronic damage.35


Pycnogenol, a standardized mixture of pine bark-derived flavonoids, has long been used in Europe to treat cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and neurodegenerative conditions.

Emerging research reveals that Pycnogenol is valuable in skin inflammation, the management of pain, traumatic brain injury, and tinnitus.36-40

It’s regrettable that so few physicians in the United States recommend Pycnogenol considering its clinical utility has been demonstrated in over 300 scientific publications.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.


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