Pycnogenol strong antioxidant benefits and effects
Research in progress
Pycnogenol is the trademark name given to a product derived from the pine bark of the Pinus pinaster tree that contains numerous unique health benefits. It has been used since the 1500s for the treatment of scurvy caused by a lack of vitamin C during the French sailing voyages from France to the New World. Even today, it is known that the best source of pine bark comes from the south-west forest of France.
Pycnogenol is one of the most researched natural ingredients currently in the market. It is a great source of vitamin C as well as a host of phytochemicals – natural compounds from plants that have many health benefits. The powerful ingredient contained in Pycnogenol is known as oligomeric proanthocyanidin compounds (OPCs). This active ingredient of pycnogenol can also be obtained from peanut skin, witch hazel bark and grape seed. However, that from the French pine bark is preferred.
Important effects of Pycnogenol
Pycnogenol is uniquely known for its antioxidant properties. During the normal cellular process, your body produces free radicals as a by-product. These, if left to accumulate in your body can lead to serious health problems such as neurodegenerative diseases and cancers. Antioxidants freely and safely interact with these free radicals to destroy the chain reaction they cause in advance before they damage essential molecules. Pycnogenol works both to prevent and minimise the oxidation damage from free radicals. Antioxidants are naturally found in fruits and vegetables and diets that are rich in these are encouraged. Green tea and coffee are also great sources of antioxidants.
Other than its antioxidant properties, Pycnogenol has several other benefits to the human body. These are:
- Lowers levels of glucose – A study conducted with 77 diabetic patients that added Pycnogenol to their prescription drugs found greater improvement in blood sugar control and cardiovascular health also.
- Prevents hearing loss and imbalance – Ear poisoning (Ototoxicity) is a condition that occurs when certain drugs or chemicals damage the vestibulocochlear nerve in the inner ear. This nerve affects both hearing and balance. Pycnogenol has been found to alleviate symptoms of this condition due to its antioxidant properties.
- Protects the skin from UV radiation – Pycnogenol has been found to offer photoprotection. When studies were conducted on its effect on the skin, it was found that not only does it protect against the harmful rays of the sun but it also reduces hyperpigmentation of the skin.
- For erectile dysfunction – Pycnogenol has been found to have a significant impact on nitric oxide(NO) levels in the body. NO is responsible for the vasodilation of blood vessels and improving blood flow. Research shows that a combination of Pycnogenol and arginine were effective in improving moderate erectile dysfunction.
- Boosts brain function – Sometimes, a decline in cognitive activity and alertness may be the cause of accumulation of free radicals in the brain. Pycnogenol, containing antioxidant properties has been found to alleviate degeneration of brain cells by reducing oxidative stress.
Pycnogenol has been found to have other numerous benefits like reducing inflammation and would make a great addition to your nutrition to fight off diseases and infections.