Pycnogenol® is the extract of the bark of the French pine tree (Pinus pinaster). It is a strong antioxidant and a potent free-radical scavenger. Pycnogenol contains approximately 85% proanthocyanidins (OPC’s). Oligomeric Proanthocyanidin is the major active ingredient in Pycnogenol and Grape seed extract. In vitro and animal-based studies demonstrate that pycnogenol has antioxidant, immunostimulant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective activities.
Pycnogenol Antioxidant Benefits
Pycnogenol is a unmatched blend of bioflavonoids not found in any other supplement. It has been found to be much more powerful than vitamin C and E, grape seed extract, Coenzyme Q10 and lipoic acid. Pycnogenol decreases free radical production, enhances cells’ natural antioxidant systems, and scavenges free radicals, preventing the development of oxidant-related diseases. Pycnogenol decreases DNA damage by its antioxidant activity and probably other mechanisms.
Antioxidants are substances that protect cells from oxidative damage caused by molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that attack normal cells and damage membranes. Cell death caused by free radicals contributes to a variety of diseases, including heart disease, some forms of cancer and nervous system disorders such as Alzheimer’s. Elevated antioxidant amounts in the body may protect against damage to cells and cellular components, thus helping to reduce the risk of many chronic degenerative diseases. Pycnogenol is a powerful antioxidant which consists of a highly bioavailable flavonoid called proanthocyanidin. Pycnogenol, acts as an antioxidant by scavenging reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and suppressing production of peroxides. It increases the activities of antioxidant enzymes by increasing the intracellular glutathione amount. Pycnogenol also, it recycles vitamin C, regenerates vitamin E and increases the endogenous antioxidant enzyme system.
Pycnogenol may guard against the formation of tumors or another cell mutations caused by free radicals and may help protect against degenerative diseases like cancer. Pycnogenol has been recognized as an anti-oxidant and for its ability to prevent activation of NFkappaB, a transcription factor that is generally overactive in cancer cells. New research by Dr. Stewart Brown of the “University of Nottingham” shows that its radical scavenging effect slows cancer mutagenesis. Dr. D. White of the University of Nottingham explained that it inhibits the enzyme monooxygenase, thereby preventing the formation of highly carcinogenic diole epoxide of benzopyrene.
Pyncogenol gets quickly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract due to its excellent water solubility. The compound fixes rapidly to cell membranes in veins and capillaries and connective tissue where it exerts a stabilizing effect on cellular membranes of all types. Outside and inside the membranes it counteracts destructive oxidation by free radicals from this solubility property. This super antioxidant; It can be retained for as 72 hours while it neutralizes free radicals and prevents oxidation. An in vivo study showed a 40 percent increase in antioxidant potency in blood following 3 weeks supplementation with 150 mg pycnogenol a day.
Experiment has showed that Pycnogenol flavonoids exhibited an anti-enzyme property which prevented the breakdown of collagen and elastin, the very compounds which keep skin firm and inhibit the formation of wrinkles. Also, pycnogenol lightens up dark spots on the skin that are due to over-pigmentation.
Pycnogenol helps to protect capillaries by binding to blood vessels walls and reducing permeability. Pine Bark Extract contains substances that might improve blood flow. Has been shown to improve endothelial function and blood flow. Pycnogenol, inhibits superoxide radical in blood flow, and protects blood vessel walls. Double blind placebo controlled studies have indicated that participants suffering from circulatory insufficiencies and diseases of the lymph system demonstrated important improvement in pain control and vessel elasticity after taking these flavonoids.