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Pine Bark Extract Benefits

author image William Gamonski
William Gamonski is a graduate of St. Francis College, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in health promotion and sciences. He was a dietetic intern at Rivington House and has been a personal trainer for the past two years. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in nutrition.
Pine Bark Extract Benefits
Pine bark extract enhances overall health. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/ Images

Pine bark extract, also known as Pycnogenol, is derived from the Pinus pinaster plant and contains potent antioxidants called proanthocyanidins, which are responsible for most of its effects. Research suggests that supplementing with pine bark extract can provide an abundance of benefits that enhance overall health. Consult your health care provider before taking any supplements.

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Boosts Kidney Function

Pine bark extract might improve kidney function and decrease the risk of kidney damage from hypertension, according to a study conducted by lead author Dr. Gianni Belcaro and fellow researchers from G D’Annunzio University in Italy. Their report, which was published in the March 2010 issue of the “Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics,” revealed that hypertensive subjects taking Pycnogenol for six months experienced decreases in blood pressure and improvements in kidney function from increased blood flow compared to those taking a placebo.

Treats Hemorrhoids

Pycnogenol might be effective for treating hemorrhoids, a condition that causes inflammation of the veins surrounding the anus. Dr. Gianni Belcaro led a team of researchers from G D’Annunzio University in Italy who investigated the impact of Pycnogenol on acute hemorrhoidal episodes. At the end of the treatment, which was reported in the March 2010 issue of the journal “Phytotherapy Research,” scientists observed that subjects ingesting Pycnogenol for seven days experienced reductions in intensity and duration of pain and bleeding around the anus compared to those receiving a placebo.

Improves Diabetic Retinopathy

Lead author Dr. Robert Steigerwalt and colleagues from G D’Annunzio University in Italy studied the effects of pine bark extract on diabetic retinopathy, which damages the retina of the eye and can often lead to blindness. Subjects with early stages of diabetic retinopathy were given Pycnogenol or a placebo for two months. In a study published in the December 2009 issue of “Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics,” researchers found that the Pycnogenol group increased their visual acuity, or the clearness of vision, compared to the placebo group.

Reduces Inflammation

Pycnogenol might reduce inflammation in osteoarthritis patients, according to a study conducted by researchers from Universitat Munster in Germany. They discovered that osteoarthritis patients taking Pycnogenol for three months experienced decreases in C-reactive protein and fibrinogen values, both indicators of inflammation, according to the 2008 issue of the journal “Redox Report.”

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