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French Maritime Bark May Improve Brain Function and Mood

A recent study suggests that taking a daily supplement of the French maritime pine bark extract Pycnogenol® may improve cognitive functioning and mood in otherwise healthy professional adults.

Participants in the study included 59 people between the ages of 35 and 55.  For twelve weeks, half of them took 150 mg of pine bark extract daily in conjunction with a controlled health plan while the other half just followed the health plan. The health plan included sleeping regularly, eating balanced meals, and exercising daily.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted a 16% increase in mood in the Pycnogenol® group, while the control group had a 2.1% decrease.  The Pycnogenol® group also had a 30.4% decrease in oxidative stress, compared to no change in the control group.

In addition, the researchers also noted an 8.9% increase in mental performance in the Pycnogenol® group, compared with only 3.1% in the control group. Finally, sustained attention and memory increased in the Pycnogenol® group by 13.4% and 3.6%, respectively.

The researchers believe that these positive effects may be related to the fact that Pycnogenol® is known to enhance the production of nitric oxide in cells. Nitric oxide dilates blood vessels and improves circulation and also acts as a neurotransmitter. These things in combination could result in improved cognitive function and mood.

Researchers from Chieti-Pescara University in Italy conducted the study. It was published in the December 2014 issue of the Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences.

Pycnogenol® has been shown to help with high blood pressure, muscle soreness, osteoarthritis, diabetes, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, endometriosis, menopausal symptoms, ringing in the ears, erectile dysfunction and retinopathy.


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