Pine bark extract

Pine bark extract comes from the bark of the maritime pine tree. The maritime pine tree lives in the western Mediterranean and can be found throughout parts of Spain, Italy, France, Morocco and Portugal. Discovered many years ago, in the 1500’s by a French explorer, the bark has helped many people over the last 450 years. Although the reasons for why the pine bark helped many people was not really known, in the 1950’s a man named Jacques Masquelier began to do a more thorough investigation on the beneficial properties of the ingredients found in the bark. This is when the antioxidant properties were discovered. The bark of the maritime pine tree contains chemicals called proanthocyanidins. This is turned into an extract that has antioxidant properties that people can use to benefit their health.

The pine bark extract is typically sold as the brand Pycnogenol. This is not the only form of the extract sold but is becoming one of the most popular. Proanthocyanidins are also found in other sources, including other plants as well as in grape seeds. There is much research being done to determine just how beneficial the antioxidants found in the pine bark extract are to human health. It is well known that antioxidants are wonderful for the human body, however determining how strong the antioxidant properties are in the pine bark extract and how well they work inside the human body is a continued study. Since antioxidants are used to rid the body of free radicals that attack the cell membranes and cause aging and damage to the cells, having as many sources of antioxidants as possible in the diet is important.

Many studies have been conducted on the use and benefits of pine bark extract and some of the studies have shown that it has proven beneficial in lowering blood sugar levels in patients suffering from diabetes. It may also help reduce swelling in those suffering from a condition called chronic venous insufficiency. Many people believe that the antioxidant components of the pine bark extract offer many other benefits as well. Protection against arthritis, protection against heart disease, cancers, and diabetes are all on the list of positives. Also preventing circulatory and swelling problems may be helped by taking pine bark extract. Some people have reported feeling less stressed, having a better memory, feeling less inflammation in their joints and having better flexibility due to taking the pine bark extract. The antioxidant qualities of the pine bark extract may also be the key to lowering cholesterol. Studies have shown that people who consume antioxidants on a regular basis have lower cholesterol levels than those who consume less antioxidants in their diet. Therefore if we begin taking supplements that contain high antioxidant levels, we may be able to ward off high cholesterol and lessen the risk of blocked arteries and heart disease.

You can find pine bark extract in varying strengths and forms. Most vitamin shops will carry the pine bark extract in either a capsule or a tablet form. Make sure that you take the appropriate dosage listed on the label or discuss the appropriate amount you should take with a doctor or pharmacist. Depending on the person’s size, age and needs for the extract, dosages may vary from person to person.

Although pine bark extract may not have been heard of by many, it is growing in popularity and demand. The more scientific studies that are being done with pine bark extract are showing that there may be more and more benefits of this interesting ingredient. Over time we will continue to hear of more reasons why we should begin including this extract into our diets.

Last updated on Jan 27th, 2010 and filed under Alternative Medicine. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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