Today I would like to introduce an ingredient called Pycnogenol. Although it is an unfamiliar ingredient to many people, it is already a highly popular ingredient overseas. It can be said that what ginseng is to Korea is to pycnogenol in the West. Pycnogenol is an ingredient extracted from pine bark on the southwest coast of France and contains various flavonoids, including procyanidin, which is known to inhibit oxidation in the body. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety also recognized the functionality of Pycnogenol, which “can help remove free radicals, inhibit platelet aggregation, and help improve the health of menopausal women.”
Now, let's look at the benefits you can get from consuming Pycnogenol through research papers
1. Improves Menopausal Symptoms
Pycnogenol stimulates the synthesis of eNOS (endothelial nitric oxide synthase), which lowers blood pressure, improves cerebral microcirculation, and increases neurotransmitter production. This positive effect on the vascular and nervous systems is also known to improve menopausal symptoms.
In relation to this, a paper published in Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica in 2007 revealed that in an experiment targeting menopausal women suffering from discomfort such as fatigue, headache, and anxiety, menopausal symptoms were improved when consuming pycnogenol.
"During the treatment period, women in the Pycnogenol group reported rapid improvement in symptoms (higher scores) after 1 month. All symptoms on the WHQ (survey to assess the severity of menopausal symptoms and discomfort) were statistically significantly improved compared to the start of treatment. “It has improved.”
Reference : Yang, H. M., Liao, M. F., Zhu, S. Y., Liao, M. N., & Rohdewald, P. (2007). A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial on the effect of Pycnogenol on the climacteric syndrome in peri-menopausal women. Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica, 86(8), 978–985
2. Improves Vascular Endothelial Function
The vascular endothelium is an epithelial tissue that comes in contact with the lumen of the blood vessel. It normally maintains blood flow by preventing blood clots from forming, but when the blood vessel is injured, it triggers a coagulation process. It also plays an immune surveillance role, recognizing pathogens and foreign substances circulating in the blood. Pycnogenol activates eNOS (endothelial nitric oxide synthase), which promotes the production of NO (nitric oxide), which facilitates blood flow through vasodilation and lowers blood pressure. Therefore, when consuming Pycnogenol, the function of the endothelial cells of blood vessels improves.
In relation to this, a paper was published in the European Heart Journal in 2012 showing that vascular endothelial function was improved when Pycnogenol was consumed in patients with coronary artery disease.
“This study shows improvement in endothelial function after 8 weeks of treatment with the flavonoid extract Pycnogenol at a dose of 200 mg q.d. compared to placebo in stable coronary artery disease (CAD).”
Reference : Enseleit, F., Sudano, I., Périat, D., Winnik, S., Wolfrum, M., Flammer, A. J., Fröhlich, G. M., Kaiser, P., Hirt, A., Haile, S. R., Krasniqi, N., Matter, C. M., Uhlenhut, K., Högger, P., Neidhart, M., Lüscher, T. F., Ruschitzka, F., & Noll, G. (2012). Effects of Pycnogenol on endothelial function in patients with stable coronary artery disease: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over study. European heart journal, 33(13), 1589–1597.
3. Inhibits Platelet Aggregation
When endothelial function is impaired and the formation of nitric oxide (NO) is reduced, platelet activity increases, increasing the risk of blood clots. If a blood clot occurs in the coronary artery of the heart, a myocardial infarction occurs, and if a blood clot occurs in the brain, a cerebral thrombosis occurs. Due to the previously mentioned effect of pycnogenol that promotes the production of nitric oxide, consuming pycnogenol is known to help normalize platelet activity.
In this regard, a paper published in Thrombosis research in 1999 reported that platelet aggregation activated by smoking was inhibited by Pycnogenol intake.
“Oral administration of 100 mg of Pycnogenol significantly inhibits platelet activation caused by smoking.”
Reference : Pütter, M., Grotemeyer, K. H., Würthwein, G., Araghi-Niknam, M., Watson, R. R., Hosseini, S., & Rohdewald, P. (1999). Inhibition of smoking-induced platelet aggregation by aspirin and pycnogenol. Thrombosis research, 95(4), 155–161..
Today, we looked at the benefits of consuming Pycnogenol through research papers. Pycnogenol has been studied for a relatively long time and is therefore considered safe. However, if you are taking anti-thrombotic or anti-coagulant medications, you should be careful because the bleeding tendency may increase. Also, taking Pycnogenol on an empty stomach may cause some stomach discomfort, so we recommend taking Pycnogenol after a meal.
I hope you have a healthy day both physically and mentally. This was Jinny.