We all know the power of antioxidants to improve health and antioxidant-rich foods that we should eat regularly. But did you know that pine bark extract, like pine oil, is one of nature’s super antioxidants? It is true. What gives pine bark extract its notoriety as a powerful ingredient and super antioxidant is that it is loaded with oligomeric proanthocyanidin compounds, OPCs for short? The same ingredient is found in grape seeds, peanut skin and witch hazel bark. But what makes this miraculous ingredient so amazing?
6 Benefits of Pine Bark Extract:
While the OPCs found in this extract are known primarily for their antioxidant benefits, these amazing compounds distill antibacterial, antiviral, anti-cancer, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties. Pine bark extract can help reduce muscle pain and can help improve conditions related to poor circulation, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, diabetes, ADHD, female reproductive problems, skin, dysfunction Erectile, eye diseases and sports endurance. It seems to be quite amazing, but let’s look more closely. The list goes a little further, since the OPCs of this extract can “inhibit lipid peroxidation, platelet aggregation, capillary permeability and fragility, and affect enzyme systems,” which basically means that it can be a Natural treatment for many serious health conditions, such as stroke and heart disease.
1. Decreases Glucose Levels, Improving the Symptoms of Diabetes:
Pine bark extract has been studied for its ability to help diabetic patients. Guang an Men Hospital of the China Medical Sciences Research Institute conducted a study with 77 patients with type II diabetes to determine if the French maritime pine bark extract had antidiabetic effects. Patients were given 100 milligrams of Pycnogenola branded version of pine bark extract, for 12 weeks, with continuous antidiabetic treatment. The effects of pine bark extract showed significantly lower blood glucose levels and better endothelial function compared to placebo, concluding that Pycnogenol supplementation for the treatment of conventional diabetes may be beneficial.
2. Helps Prevent Hearing Loss and Balance:
Ototoxicity is ear poisoning and can occur when exposed to certain drugs or chemicals, such as cisplatin, that damage the inner ear or the vestibulocochlear nerve. This nerve affects our balance and hearing by sending signals to the brain. This condition may be temporary or permanent – however, some studies have indicated that pine bark extract may help relieve these symptoms due to its high presence of antioxidants. Therefore, this powerful extract works as a natural remedy for ear infections, while improving balance and preventing hearing loss.
3. Avoid Infections:
Studies have been conducted to review the effects of pine bark extract on infectious wounds of pseudomonas. These wounds occur more frequently in hospitals or in those with weakened immune systems, such as after surgery. However, healthy people are not immune and may also develop mild infections, particularly after being in hot tubs or pools with inadequate chlorine. In a particular study published in Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences, researchers investigated the antibacterial activity of the essential oil of pine bark extract in staphylococcus, E. coli and pseudomonas infections. The antibacterial activity was evaluated indicating that the essential oil of pine bark, specifically proanthocyanidins, was effective against P. aeruginosa, significantly inhibiting its growth.
“In addition, the results showed that the extract has a significant “antipseudomonas activity”, which makes it a potential natural remedy and a possible preventive measure for infections”.
4. Protects the Skin from Exposure to Ultraviolet Rays:
Who doesn’t want amazing skin? There is a seemingly growing problem with the skin’s exposure to ultraviolet radiation and the confusion of how to get vitamin D from the sun while avoiding these harmful rays to the skin. A review of the French maritime pine bark extract was performed, specifically using the nutritional supplement Pycnogenol. The study provided clear evidence that Pycnogenol offers, in fact, photoprotection – however, it came out even better than expected, showing that it can be used to reduce hyperpigmentation of human skin while improving the ‘skin barrier function. And homeostasis of the extracellular matrix ».
5. Reduce Inflammation:
As I mentioned, pine bark extract is superior when it comes to antioxidants. These antioxidants eliminate harmful free radicals in an effort to eliminate them and ultimately prevent disease. Studies were conducted in Turkey on subjects who underwent abdominal surgery to determine if pine bark extract could help reduce inflammation. They were given Pycnogenol for a period of 10 days. The result showed a significant cure compared to subjects who were not given any drug or remedy, concluding that Pycnogenol may be an effective remedy for the healing of surgery-related injuries.
6. Help Increase Athletic Performance:
Pine bark extract has been studied in terms of its relationship to exercise performance, oxidative stress and inflammation of the body that has been imposed by exercise. Research indicates that Pycnogenol provides an increase in endurance performance of trained athletes. This is achieved by improving the time it takes for the body to reach a state of fatigue through the increase in serum NAD + levels. In addition, athletes have endured less cramping and muscle pain when using the extract. It is likely that the muscle recovery time has also improved due to the high antioxidants contained in pine bark extract.
History and Interesting Facts of Pine Bark Extract:
Pine bark extract comes from the inner bark of pine pinaster, more common in Europe. A popular variety is maritime pine or maritime pine that grows exclusively along the southwest coast of France. This bark extract has been around for about 450 years. In 1534, a French ship led by the famous explorer Jacques Cartier was stranded on the ice near Quebec, Canada. The crew fell extremely sick of scurvy, an extreme lack of vitamin C. Cartier’s crew crossed paths with a Quebec Indian who encouraged them to drink tea made from pine bark and needles. Four hundred years later, a French researcher named Jacques Masquelier did some studies to understand why this natural remedy was so effective. He learned about the seemingly omnipotent antioxidant it contains and how those antioxidants increase vitamin C absorption. Continuous research showed that pine bark contained flavonols and bioflavonoids, which have tissue repair properties. Masquelier was able to easily create an extract of pine bark from materials that were also known as waste.
Pine Bark Extract vs. Aspirin:
1. Pine Bark Inhibits Coagulation Better Than Aspirin
A surprising study found that pine bark extract was much better than aspirin to “inhibit smoking-induced clotting,” using lower amounts without the bleeding that is often found when using aspirin.
2. Aspirin Can Cause Gastrointestinal Bleeding:
A 15-year-old Dutch study was published indicating that 27,939 healthy women were given aspirin or a placebo over a period of time. Although aspirin reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer, among other cancers, the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding outweighed those benefits, creating more risks for the body.
3. Both Aspirin and Pine Bark Extract Eliminate Pain:
Although both eliminate pain, pine bark extract is a much better option. As noted, aspirin can cause serious gastrointestinal problems. It has not been found that picnogenol causes these problems; however, it may take a little longer to feel pain relief than aspirin. However, a natural option is available and worth waiting for.
Some Ways to Use Pine Bark Extract
Here Are Some Basic Guidelines as Reported by Webmd:
- For allergies: 50 milligrams twice a day.
- For asthma in children: 1 milligram per pound of body weight administered in two divided doses.
- By poor circulation: 45-360 milligrams daily or 50-100 milligrams three times a day.
- For retinal diseases, including those related to diabetes: 50 milligrams three times a day.
- For mild high blood pressure: 200 milligrams daily.
- To improve the exercise capacity of athletes: 200 milligrams daily.
Risks of Pine Bark Extract:
- Although most studies do not indicate significant side effects, pine bark extract can cause irritability and fatigue, and could interact with other medications. Be sure to consult your doctor before using pine bark extract or brand name, Pycnogenol.
- If you are taking blood thinners, do not take pine bark extract or Pycnogenol unless your doctor approves it. It has been observed that taking OPC and vitamin C supplements at the same time could increase blood pressure if you have hypertension.
Final Thoughts on Pine Bark Extract:
- Pine bark extract offers some amazing benefits since it is so high in powerful antioxidants. From diabetes and sexual function to athletic performance and skin beauty, pine bark extract may be worth exploring to provide the results you are looking to achieve.
- Consider pine bark extract through a conversation with your doctor or a functional medicine doctor. You can start slowly, taking smaller amounts, to make sure your body works well with the OPCs found in pine bark extract. Once you are sure that you have no negative reaction, you may be able to increase your dose according to the label.