The powerful antioxidant pycnogenol can indeed significantly help in improving heart health, researchers found in a recent study.
The extract, which comes from the bark of a coastal European pine tree, has been shown in other studies to be effective in treating symptoms of menopause, high cholesterol, and damage to the heart from high blood pressure. In according to this, several health benefits with diabetes has also been proven. It is proven that blood sugar levels can be decreased with this methods.
But Swiss researchers wanted to look more closely at the extent of pycnogenol’s healing properties. What they found was a 32% improvement in blood flow in the patients they tested who had heart disease. The indicators that showed oxidative stress and free radical damage were lower when those patients took 200 mg of pycnogenol a day.
Studies had already shown that this powerful compound had the protective antioxidants that fought against oxidation in the body and free radical cells. In the Swiss study, the researchers randomly assigned 23 patients with heart disease either 200 mg daily of pycnogenol or a placebo for 8 weeks. After a two-week period of taking neither, the patients switched what they were taking for another 8 weeks and were tested again at the end.
The new research confirmed and extended previous studies that showed that pycnogenol worked very well. One study showed participants’ levels of “bad” cholesterol dropped by 10% after taking pycnogenol. Yet another showed the compound reducing damage to the heart caused by high blood pressure.
As we reported on our sister site MyHealingKitchen.com, sailors knew 400 years ago that drinking tea made from the bark containing pycnogenol helped them recover from scurvy, a vitamin C deficiency. The extract has been used in more modern times to cool off menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia.
Pycnogenol is full of anti-oxidants and proanthocyanidins, the agents best known in red wine and grape juice as protectors against heart disease.