For Healthier Aging, Consider Pycnogenol

Pycnogenol1By Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Pycnogenol® is a registered trademark name for a proprietary extract made from the bark of the French maritime pine tree grown exclusively in the natural, unspoiled Les Landes de Gascogne forest in southwest France.  Millions of acres of these pine trees, grown without pesticides or herbicides, are cultivated over a period of 30 – 50 years.  This special pine bark extract contains concentrated active procyanidins, bioflavonoid compounds and organic acids.  Pycnogenol®, with its unique blend of active compounds, has four basic properties.  It’s a powerful antioxidant, it has natural anti-inflammatory properties, it stimulates the generation of collagen and hyaluronic acid and it aids in the production of endothelial nitric oxide, which supports the dilation of blood vessels and arterial health. 

Every day our bodies generate harmful free radicals as a result of normal cellular energy production, the presence of environmental toxic heavy metals, the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins, an unhealthy diet of processed or fried foods and oxidative stress.  Free radicals are also caused by external factors such as environmental pollution, cigarette smoke, ultraviolet rays, and chemicals, pesticides, and toxins in our everyday environment.  Free radicals weaken tissues and organs, leaving the body less able to defend itself against premature aging and degenerative diseases such as cancer and arteriosclerosis. 

Extensive research has shown that Pycnogenol® is a powerful and effective antioxidant.  Pycnogenol® is believed to counteract free radical damage by stimulating the cells to double their anti-oxidative power and by its ability to corral free radicals in the blood stream before they can cause damage.  The super-antioxidant ability of Pycnogenol® helps to boost the immune system and strengthen blood vessel walls and capillaries.  Better circulation is supported by the prevention of blood clotting and stress-induced constriction of the arteries. 

Visible signs of skin aging include wrinkles, loss of skin elasticity and collagen destruction.  Pycnogenol® binds and protects collagen and restores good blood circulation in tiny skin capillaries.  It helps to prevent inflammation by supporting healthy skin protein levels and by blocking UV light’s damaging effects.  Pycnogenol® has also shown to have favorable effects on uneven skin pigmentation, typically seen on facial areas with high sun exposure. 

Pycnogenol® is believed to help offset a stressful lifestyle by counteracting increased blood pressure.  For those who sit most of the time while working or traveling, it helps to reduce leg pain and heaviness as well as fluid retention by combating reduced circulation.  For those with diabetes, pycnogenol seems to improve eyesight, slow or prevent worsening of retinal disease, and reduce micro-bleeding in the retina. 

Pycnogenol is believed to protect against aging by combating the following contributors:

Oxidant stress – Oxidant stress contributes to neurocognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.  Pycnogenol reduces free radical production and scavenges free radicals, aiding in the prevention of oxidant-related diseases.

Membrane damage – Cell and mitochondrial membrane damage is implicated in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure.  Pycnogenol helps to stabilize membranes and protects against toxic injury, rupture and leakage.

DNA damage – DNA cell damage can result in cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and atherosclerosis.  Pycnogenol’s antioxidant powers help to reduce DNA cell damage.

Inflammation – Inflammation is involved in every chronic age-related disease including kidney disease, arthritis, cancer and osteoporosis.  Pycnogenol helps to fight inflammation by reducing the production of inflammatory cytokine molecules and switching off of a central inflammation-generating system. 

Glycation – Proteins and fats become glycated when sugar molecules bond to them, triggering abnormal function, oxidation and inflammation.  Glycation contributes to obesity, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and cancer.  Pycnogenol helps to prevent glycation by lowering blood sugar levels and preventing intestinal absorption of sugars. 

Over 40 years of extensive scientific research has been dedicated to substantiating the health benefits of Pycnogenol® and assuring its safety and efficacy.   As a science-based proprietary botanical extract, Pycnogenol® is protected by several U.S. and international patents. 

Some of the best selling Pycnogenol® supplements at Professional Supplement Center include:

Pcynogenol® 50 mg by Pure Encapsulations promotes vascular health and provides powerful antioxidant support.  Also available in 100 mg capsules. 

Pycnogenol® (7041) by Douglas Laboratories provides 25 mg of pure French maritime pine bark extract.  Also available in 50 mg tablet form.

Bio-Cyanidins by Biotics Research provides superior botanically based antioxidant support with Pycnogenol® and grape seed extract. 

O.P.C.-100 (100 mg pycnogenols) (SF745) by Thorne Research contains oligomeric proanthocyanidins from grape seed extract, providing health benefits for collagen fibers, reinforcement of vascular structure and support for retinal connective tissues. 

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