French Maritime Pine Bark Extract, also simply known as pine bark extract and marketed under the trade name Pycnogenol, is a medicinal substance derived from the Pinus pinaster tree. Pine bark extract contains a class of compounds called proanthocyanidins, which may have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This herbal treatment may also help boost the activity of your immune system and even reduce symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, additional research is needed to validate these purported health claims. Talk with your doctor about pine bark extract side effects before you begin using this herbal treatment.
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Mood-related changes, such as increased irritability, may occur following treatment with pine bark extract. Unusual mood changes may negatively affect your interactions with family, friends or colleagues. Seek care from a doctor if irritability persists or significantly interferes with your ability to interact with other people.
Headache or Dizziness
French Maritime Pine Bark Extract may cause headache pain or dizziness. Head pain can be disruptive and may make it difficult for you to concentrate during your normal daily activities. Sensations of dizziness may be most apparent when you stand up and may cause instability while standing or walking. Though headache and dizziness are usually temporary, consult your doctor if such symptoms do not subside or become severe.
You may experience mild to moderate stomach upset after taking a dose of pine bark extract. Stomach irritation may lead to nausea, diminished appetite or bowel movement changes. Additionally, pine bark extract may cause oral ulcers, which can be painful and may exacerbate appetite loss.
While taking pine bark extract, you may experience a reduction in your normal energy levels. Lethargy or fatigue may make it difficult for you to remain active or attentive during your daily activities. If such side effects become bothersome or disruptive, consult your physician.
Interactions with Medications
Pine bark extract may negatively interact with certain medications. Do not take French Maritime Pine Bark Extract in conjunction with immunosuppressant drugs, including cyclosporine, sirolimus, prednisone, basiliximab and tacrolimus. Pine bark extract may enhance the activity of your immune system, which may counteract the effects of immunosuppressive therapy. As an antioxidant, pine bark extract may also reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs. In addition, avoid taking this supplement in conjunction with anticoagulant medications, because pine bark extract may increase your risk of developing bleeding complications.