Pine bark extract comes from the bark of the French maritime pine (Pinus pinaster or Pinus maritima). The extract contains a group of compounds with proanthocyanidins, which are found in many plants such as cocoa, grape seed, grape skin, bilberry, and cranberries. They are believed to act as one of the most powerful antioxidants.
Proponents claim that pine bark extract protects against arthritis, cancer, heart disease, retinopathy, caricose veins, and diabetes-related complications. Of these conditions, current research suggest that pine bark extract may be useful in decreasing blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels while also improving circulation. This, in essence, will help decrease edema in the legs for those who suffer from such a condition.(1) Stanford University researchers are currently recruiting subjects for a randomized, double-blind prevention trial that aims to investigate the efficacy of Flavangenol, a brand of pine bark extract, in lowering blood pressure and improving glycemic control and plasma lipoprotein profiles. Lester Packer and colleagues at the University of California Berkeley agree that pine bark extract, marketed as Pycnogenol, is one of the most potent antioxidants they have researched to date.(2)
I recommed a powerful antioxidant called OPC-3. This particular supplement is Isotonic, which means “same pressure,” and bears the same chemical resemblance of the body’s blood, plasma and tears. Isotonix dietary supplements are delivered in an isotonic solution. This means that the body has less work to do in obtaining maximum absorption. The isotonic state of the suspension allows nutrients to pass directly into the small intestine and to be rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. OPC-3 contains the following: Red Wine Extract: 25 mg; Grape Seed Extract: 25 mg; Bilberry Extract: 25 mg; Citrus Extract (Bioflavonoids): 25 mg; and Pine Bark Extract (Pycnogenol®).
1. Stafford RS, Stanford University UPBEAT research team. Understanding pine bark extract as an alternative treatment (UPBEAT): Orientation for antioxidant study. Available at: http://ppop.stanford.edu/documents/antioxidant-presentation.pdf.
2. Sanders R. Pine bark extract as a potent antioxidant, and may help boost the effects of vitamin C and other antioxidants, UC Berkeley scientists report. February 5, 1998. Available at: http://berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/98legacy/02_05_98a.html.