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Pycnogenol® (Pine Bark Extract)

[Potent Antioxidant Protection from Nature - Pycnogenol | Better Health for an Active Life
[Pycnogenol As Effective As Aspirin | Healthy Capillaries Through Healthy Collagen]
[Antioxidants Neutralize Free Radicals | References]

Pycnogenol® is a breakthrough in antioxidant protection that demonstrates how important natural nutrition can be for your health.  In addition, Pycnogenol has been found to be as effective as aspirin in reducing the risk of platelet aggregation in the blood, a cause of heart attack and stroke.

Pycnogenol®, one of the most powerful antioxidants yet discovered.  Pycnogenol® is the proprietary name of a natural plant product made from the bark of the European coastal pine, Pinus maritime.  Pycnogenol® is 20 times more potent an antioxidant than Vitamin C, and Pycnogenol® is 50 times more so than Vitamin E. 

Potent Antioxidant Protection from Nature – Pycnogenol®

Originally discovered by renowned scientist Jacques Masquelier, Pycnogenol® is a natural 85% to 95% concentrate of proanthocyanidins extracted from the bark of the Maritime Pine. Proanthocyanidins are a special class of highly bioavailable, water-soluble bioflavonoids with unparalleled free radical scavenging activity. Pycnogenol® constituents readily cross the Blood-Brain Barrier to provide antioxidant protection to the central nervous system, and stay in the bloodstream for approximately 72 hours. Thirty years of sound European research shows that proanthocyanidins from Pycnogenol® are highly beneficial with no evidence of adverse effects, even after more than ten years of Pycnogenol® use. Proanthocyandins from Pycnogenol® also show no loss in potency after 12 years of storage.

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Better Health for an Active Life

As a potent antioxidant, Pycnogenol® is valuable for protecting the liver from free radical attack. The liver is the main detoxifying, nutrient-assimilating and energy-generating organ of the body.  Thus, Pycnogenol® may mean more potential for activity in your life. Pycnogenol® may also aid recovery for athletes on strenuous workout regimes and in competition. 

Pycnogenol® As Effective As Aspirin

Research presented at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Washington, DC, on May 19, 1998 showed that a single dose of the supplement Pycnogenol® was as effective as a dose of aspirin five times larger for reducing platelet aggregation. Platelet aggregation occurs when the smallest blood cells stick together and form clumps in the blood. A clump of cells in a narrowed artery feeding a region of the brain can produce a stroke, while aggregated platelets in blood vessels that feed the heart can lead to heart attacks. 

Study author Ronald Watson, PhD, Professor at the University of Arizona Medical School at Tucson, said the supplement Pycnogenol® produces benefits in minutes and could have enormous health implications for an aging population. The Pycnogenol® study was conducted with a group of 38 healthy smokers at the University of Munster, Germany and at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Volunteers for the Pycnogenol® study were given a single dose of 100 to 120 mg of Pycnogenol® or 500 mg of aspirin. The subjects then smoked cigarettes to increase platelet aggregation and blood clumping during the two hours prior to having their blood drawn. Two hours after smoking, participants were evaluated to measure the effects of Pycnogenol® or aspirin. Results showed that both Pycnogenol® and aspirin reduced platelet aggregation significantly. However, a smaller dose of Pycnogenol® was as effective as a dose of aspirin five times larger. Pycnogenol® did not increase bleeding, while aspirin did. Studies are now underway to assess the long-term effects of Pycnogenol® supplementation in non-smokers and smokers. 

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Healthy Capillaries Through Healthy Collagen

A major beneficiary of the protective actions of Pycnogenol® is collagen, the most abundant protein in the body. Collagen is responsible for maintaining the integrity of "ground substance," the basic materi­al in functional fluids, mucus linings, and connective tissue such as tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and most importantly, blood vessel lining. Collagen is highly vulner­able to free radical attack, and a number of discomforting and depreciating processes are associated with its destruction. There is evidence showing that Pycnogenol® can provide remarkable support for the prevention of collagen destruction, and Pycnogenol® has received much attention for its special affinity for cap­illaries, the smallest blood vessels.

Pycnogenol® helps strengthen capillary linings in three key ways. First, Pycnogenol® functions to scavenge the free radicals that may compromise the integrity of collagen. Second, Pycnogenol® contains catechin, which is thought to stabilize collagen by forming hydrogen bonds and cross-linking collagen. Third, Pycnogenol® is Vitamin C-sparing, meaning it can fill in for vitamin C in a number of functions; this frees some Vitamin C - required for the synthesis of hydroxproline, a major structural amino acid of col­lagen - for use in building collagen.

People who smoke and women who take oral contraceptives can reduce their heightened risk of Vitamin C depletion by taking advantage of Pycnogenol®'s Vitamin C-sparing activity.

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Antioxidants Neutralize Free Radicals

Antioxidants are a class of biological molecules that function to scavenge and neutralize free radicals.  Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons that cause damage at the cellular level, and which unfortunately are unavoidable.  Antioxidants – the most famous of which thus far have been Vitamin C and Vitamin E – work to protect living tissue by neutralizing free radicals, thereby interrupting many of their harmful activities. 

Uniquely vulnerable targets of free radical attack that require a regular supply of antioxidants just to maintain a basic level of function include fatty acids - especially those in cell membranes - and sulfhydral proteins, which form one of the most common types of chemical bonds found in biological organisms. They are critical components not only of tissues throughout the body, but most importantly, of the principal regulatory organs - the brain and liver - and every blood vessel.  Free radical attack on fatty acids - known as lipid peroxidation - and related destruction of sulfhy­dral proteins can lead to diminished function of cell membranes and whole organs. This, in turn, can con­tribute significantly to decreases in quality of life.

Free radicals are believed to be active in the development of cumulative damage to the system, as well as in many of the undesirable effects of aging. Free radicals are constantly being produced due to the natural intake of oxygen and generation of energy by the body's cells. However, their pro­duction is heightened by pollutants such as tobacco smoke, alcohol, solvents, and oxidized cholesterol from foods. Therefore, health scientists suggest we may need to increase our intake of antioxidants either from foods or from supplements - such as Vitamin A and Beta Carotene, Vitamins C and E, Selenium, Cysteine, and now, Pycnogenol®.

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• Hagerman, A. and L Butler. "The specificity of proanthocyanidin-protein interactions." Journal of Biological Chemistry 256 (1981): 4494-91.

• Kuttan, R., et al. "Collagen treated with catechin becomes resistant to the action of mammalian collagenase." Experienta. 37 (1981): 221-23.

• Masquelier, J. Natural Products as Medicinal Agents "Pycnogenol®s: Recent Advances in the Therapeutical Activity of Proanthocyanidins" (pp. 243-65). Stutgart, Germany: Hippokrates Verlag, 1981.

• Maunier, M.T, E. Duroux, and P Bastide. "Free-radical scavenger activ­ity of procyanidolic oligomers and anthocyanasides with respect to super­oxide anion and lipid peroxidation." Plantes Medicinales et Phytotherapie, 23.4 (1989): 267-74.


Pycnogenol® is a registered trademark of Horphag Research Limited, Protected by U.S. Patent #4,698,360.

Reprinted with exclusive permission of Source Naturals, Inc.

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