We interrupt the regularly scheduled Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging post to highlight the increasingly popular Pycnogenol. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Pycnogenol – Clinically Tested Breakthrough from France
The phytonutrients in pine bark have a long tradition of use in “folk medicine.” The French explorer Jacques Cartier was introduced to tea made from boiling pine bark when Native Americans saved most of his crew from death by scurvy during the winter of 1534. In particular, the bark of the French maritime pine tree contains a distinct group of potent health-enhancing phytonutrients. These beneficial compounds, which include procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids, are extracted from the bark by an automated, patented, multi-step procedure that avoids the use of potentially toxic solvents. The resulting water extract, patented and available as Pycnogenol, is pure and contains no additives. Because the bark is grown layer by layer over a period of more than 30 years before it is harvested, there are neither seasonal nor annual variations in the composition of its ingredients, in contrast to other herbal extracts. Its purity, potency and consistency is thus unmatched by other phytonutrient-rich extracts. Pycnogenol also has a tremendous amount of published research highlighting its many potential benefits.

The Link between Tree Bark and Human Health
The phytonutrients in Pycnogenol are absorbed into the human bloodstream very rapidly and once there act as a team of very efficient antioxidants. While certain compounds may be absorbed unmodified, several of these nutrients are acted upon by the beneficial bacterial population of the gut and are absorbed into circulation. The antioxidant prowess of Pycnogenol is evident from the fact that the consumption of as little as 50 mg of Pycnogenol three times daily substantially increases the total antioxidant capacity (oxygen radical absorbance capacity; ORAC) of the blood of healthy adults. The measurement of ORAC capacity in human serum is a good indicator of the ability of nutrients to perform antioxidant functions in living systems – meaning the antioxidants are likely to have an effect where they are intended. New research published in BMC Clinical Pharmacology shows that five days of dietary supplementation with 200 mg of Pycnogenol daily will stabilize elevated concentrations of antioxidants in the blood and that this increase in circulating antioxidant capacity can be maintained by continued supplementation with 200 mg daily.1 In addition, research findings published recently in Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy demonstrate that consuming 300 mg of Pycnogenol even once produces powerful inhibition of cyclooxygenase enzymes in humans2, supporting our normal inflammatory response and providing yet another explanation for the benefits of Pycnogenol.

Pycnogenol also recycles vitamin C and vitamin E after those vitamins have become loaded with stray electrons, preserving their essential antioxidant functions. Vitamin C is a major antioxidant inside and between cells and in the blood, and vitamin E is the single most important lipid-based antioxidant that is present in every membrane in every cell. The ability of Pycnogenol to recharge these antioxidant vitamins gives you a huge advantage in your battle to control and minimize the effects of free radicals. Research also shows that, in addition to replenishing vitamins C and E, Pycnogenol stimulates the production of antioxidant enzymes in cells themselves, which serves as an important first line of defense for them against free radical attack.

1. Grimm T, Skrabala R, Chovanova Z, Muchova J, Sumegova K, Liptakova A, Durackova Z, Hogger P. Single and multiple dose pharmacokinetics of maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol®) after oral administration to healthy volunteers. BMC Clin Pharmacol 2006;6(1):4. doi:10.1186/1472-6904-6-4 (http://www.

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One Comment

  1. lynette mayo

    l’m having a difficult time finding pycogenol, 75mg, NO ADDITIVES. Do you sell this? if not can you recommend someone who does?

    Thank You,
    Lynette Mayo

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