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Pycnogenol Overview

Pycnogenol is the trademarked name for the antioxidant from the French Maritime Pine tree. But it is basically the same anthocyanin compound found in grape seed extract. Pycnogenol, like grape seed extract, is a water-soluble flavonoid, or polyphenol, complex with powerful antioxidant properties and ability to reduce blood clotting. As an antioxidant, pycnogenol is thought to offer cardioprotection (reduces risk of atherosclerosis); reduce cancer risk; improve vascular strength (stronger blood vessels); reduce edema (both inflammation and swelling); promote eye health (reduces risk of macular degeneration and cataracts). Research shows that antioxidants like pycnogenol, grape seed, and green tea are generally 10-100 times more powerful than common nutrient antioxidants such as vitamins C and E.

Specific research shows that pycnogenol may be effective in reducing damage to skin caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun; may be helpful in reducing cancer cell growth and in modulating chronic inflammation as shown in cell culture. In human studies, pycnogenol prevents excessive platelet aggregation (blood clotting) caused by cigarette smoking and stress. In one study, 100 mg of pycnogenol was as effective as 500 mg of aspirin for reducing platelet aggregation. But pycnogenol does not prolong bleeding time like aspirin.

Dosage: 100-200 mg of pycnogenol per day is recommended as a general antioxidant.

Side Effects: No significant side effects are expected at recommended intake levels – but intakes of over 600mg per day could increase bleeding time.


Research Overview

Research on Pycnogenol shows the following effects:
1. Improves sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction
2. Reduces blood glucose levels
3. Effectively manages chronic asthma
4. Is a free radical scavenger
5. Is an antioxidant
6. Is an antiinflammatory
7. Stops mast cells from releasing histamine
8. Reduces gingival bleeding when utilized in chewing gum
9. Improves capillary resistance
10. Reduces reactive oxygen species apoptosis
11. Reduces retina leakage
12. Protects and regenerates vitamins C and E
13. Protects against UV radiation
14. Effective in treating inflammation in lupus
15. Reduces platelet aggregation in smokers
16. Is a mild antihypertensive
17. Relieves cramping in PMS
18. Improves cognitive function in ADHD

Pycnogenol Abstracts (35)