Pycnogenol® is a patented form of a French maritime pine bark extract originally developed in the 1960s by Charles Haimoff in his Berlin-based laboratories. The use of pine bark dates back to the 4th century B.C. where Hippocrates mentioned its use as a means to relieve inflammation. Today, there are several viable forms of pinebark extract on the market.
Antioxidants: Why do free radicals matter?
Free radicals are molecules that disrupt the membranes of other molecules and cause DNA damage. This process is called ‘oxidation’ because these so-called free radicals steal an electron from nearby cells and cause disruption. It is important to understand the body has many systems in place that normally ‘quench’ this process- both vitamins and enzymes assist in this process.
The Major Benefits
They key health promoting plant compounds isolated in this extract include polyphenols and bioflavonoids. In the body these compound can assist the body to function optimally in a number of areas including:
- Cardiovascular: helps maintain healthy circulation by supporting relaxation of arteries, resulting in improved blood flow and lower blood pressure
- Protects skin against the free radicals produced by UV rays
- Anti-inflammatory– reduces muscle aches
- Eyes: strengthens retinal capillaries and helps maintaining healthy eyesight
What to look for in your Pine Bark Supplement?
Higher quality extracts are standardized to include minimum levels of key ingredients. In the case of pine bark, you are looking for an extract containing proanthocyanidins 37.5 mg. In my office I use a product called Vitanox made by MediHerb, which meets these requirements.
– Extract containing 65 to 130mg proanthocyanidins per day