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Benefits of Pycnogenol



Pycnogenol is made from the bark of a species of maritime pine tree (Pinus maritima) found in southwestern France.

How It Works

Pycnogenol contains flavonoids, a group of plant compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. These qualities are thought to alleviate some of the symptoms of CVI such as leg pain and swelling by improving circulation and strengthening capillaries in the legs. Flavonoids may also reduce the bronchial inflammation and swelling that trigger asthma.

Evidence

Several European studies have documented Pycnogenol's ability to alleviate the symptoms of CVI, including the swelling in the legs that leads to varicose veins. In a study published last year in Phytotherapy Research, 40 patients with CVI were treated daily with either 360 mg of Pycnogenol or 600 mg of horse chestnut seed extract (Aesculus hippocastanum), another herbal remedy commonly used to treat CVI. After four weeks, those taking Pycnogenol experienced a 50 percent decrease in leg pain and cramping and a 33 percent decrease in nighttime leg swelling. Patients taking horse chestnut seed extract experienced far less relief.

Similar results were found in a double-blind study published in an Italian journal in 2000. In the study, 40 patients with CVI took either 100 mg of Pycnogenol three times daily or a placebo. After 60 days, the Pycnogenol group reported 64 percent less leg swelling and leg pain. The placebo group experienced no significant reductions.

Research on Pycnogenol and asthma is limited, but a double-blind, placebo-controlled study presented at the annual American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology meeting in November 2002 suggested it may help. The study, led by Ronald Watson, Ph.D., of the College of Public Health at the University of Arizona at Tucson, showed that of the participants who took approximately 150 to 200 mg of Pycnogenol daily, 84 percent were able to breathe easier. Pycnogenol also significantly reduced patients' levels of serum leukotrienes, substances that promote asthma symptoms.

How to Take It

Pycnogenol is available in capsule or tablet form at many natural food stores and some pharmacies. It can be taken with food or on an empty stomach.

Although some researchers administer higher doses of Pycnogenol in clinical studies, you need to take only 1 mg per pound of body weight to treat CVI, says Richard Passwater, Ph.D., director of research at the Antioxidant Nutritional Research Center in Ocean Pines, Md. Take this dose for two weeks, and then drop to 1 mg per two pounds of body weight for four weeks. After that, take 20 to 50 mg per day to maintain any improvement.

To relieve asthma, take 1 mg of Pycnogenol for every pound of body weight, Watson says.

Caveats

Stomach upset occurs rarely when taking Pycnogenol. Don't take it if you're pregnant or nursing.

The Bottom Line

Studies show that Pycnogenol successfully reduces varicose veins and other CVI symptoms and may be effective in alleviating the symptoms of asthma.



 












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Supplement your nutrition and health knowledge with timely news and research Information to help you find the answers to address your immediate health concerns. Great Information about  herbs, and how they affect your health, and what diet herbal supplement is used for which ailment.



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Adopting sensible behaviors and sound eating habits that you can live with for a lifetime is weight control that works. You can still have the foods you love; just eat them in smaller portions, balance them with other foods, and eat a variety of nutritious foods each day. Snack on fruits and vegetables. We've tried to make the information about weight loss a little easier to understand by providing the latest weight loss and weight management news, tips in a clear and concise manner. The decision to take control of your weight is an important one: Make sure you have all the information you can trust at hand to make the correct choices. We provide a variety of natural products to help you with your weight-loss goals.

 


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