News & tips on health, fitness and nutrition

Monday, September 24, 2012

Health benefits of Pycnogenol


Pycnogenol is the trademarked name of a natural plant extract from the bark of the maritime pine tree which grows exclusively along the coast of southwest France in Les Landes de Gascogne. (The botanical name of this tree is Pinus pinaster.)



This unspoiled and natural forest environment is the unique source of Pycnogenol. Pycnogenol represents a natural combination of genetically programmed constant proportions of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids.

As a source of flavonoids, Pycnogenol is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that protects the body from harmful free radicals, helps boost the immune system and strengthens blood vessel walls and capillaries.

Maritime Pine

Pinus pinaster

What can Pycnogenol do for women? 
First of all, women are exposed to stress in the same way as men. Therefore, protection of arteries against blood clotting and constriction is also important for women to reduce the risk of heart infarction or stroke. Many women suffer from problems related to bad circulation: Swelling of the lower legscold hands and tendency to easy bruising for example. By sealing the capillaries and enhancing the microcirculation Pycnogenol will be a relief. Another point of great interest for women is the protection of the skin against photo-ageing. Intake of Pycnogenol reduces the risks of UV-radiation and oxidative stress for the skin. Finally, Pycnogenol® soothes menstrual disorders like cramps and pain.
It seems that nature has combined the constituents of the pine bark in a way to improve quality of life especially for women.

How does Pycnogenol affect the beauty of my skin? 
Pycnogenol® binds and protects collagen, the protein that keeps the skin tight and smooth. Enzymes and free radicals can no longer break down collagen and elastin fibers, the process enabling development of wrinkles. Pycnogenol defies the accelerated ageing of the skin due to exposure to sunlight (photo-ageing). Pycnogenol helps to lighten-up disturbing dark spots of the skin resulting from over-pigmentation. Pycnogenol restores a good blood circulation in tiny capillaries of the skin. With abundance of water and oxygen and removal of waste products the skin is replenished with moisture, looking young and fresh.

How does Pycnogenol® benefit stressed business people?
Stress means your adrenaline is flowing during traffic jam, demanding phone calls and loads of bad news, that you smoke too much, if you are a smoker. Pycnogenol® counteracts the increase in blood pressure caused by stress and it helps to prevent the clotting of blood, which may occur in case of stress and smoking. Business people have to work in a sitting position and have to travel a lot. Pycnogenol® helps against swollen feet and reduced circulation caused by that immobile life style. Intake of Pycnogenol® may increase cognitive function, reduce the risks of stress and will prevent consequences of immobility.

What about diabetes and Pycnogenol®?
Diabetes produces oxidative stress and continuously damages blood vessels. The protective action of Pycnogenol® for blood vessels and capillaries helps to keep blood vessels in diabetes well functioning. Of course, a strict normalization of blood glucose is the best way to prevent these damages. Often a retinopathy is observed in diabetics. Without protection diabetics often develop retinopathy: Tiny capillaries nourishing the retina of the eye spill blood onto the retina causing vision loss. Intake of Pycnogenol® has been found to reduce the micro bleedings in the retina and to improve eyesight.


Summary of Pycnogenol's Benefits:
  • Extremely potent anti-oxidant (50-100 times more powerful than vitamin E) that protects against cell damage
  • Recycles Vitamin C and E, thereby prolongs their effectiveness
  • It can lower blood pressure by increasing nitric oxide production
  • Reduces the risks of blood clots
  • Protects and strengthens blood vessels and capillaries
  • Can lower cholesterol and control blood sugar levels
  • May increase fat breakdown whilst decreasing fat storage
  • May improve lung function
  • Reduce inflammatory diseases like psoriasis
  • May protect skin against sunburn and reduce risk of some cancers
  • May reduce menstrual cramps
  • Improves sperm quality and function
  • May enhance exercise performance
  • May increase human growth hormone levels
  • Appears to be safe and non toxic

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