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Pine Bark Shown to Provide Benefits for Tinnitus Sufferers

Researchers at Chieti-Pescara University in Italy have published a study in the October 2010 issue of the journal Panminerva Medica which found that pycnogenol (pine bark extract) may ease tinnititus. Tinnitus is a relatively common condition in which the sufferer hears sounds, such as ear ringing, when there is actually no external source of sound.

Currently 15 million Americans suffer from “serious” tinnitus and more than 50 million Americans are expected to experience some form of tinnitus in their lifetime.

82 participants between 35 and 55 years of age were recruited for this study. They were all classified as having mild to moderate tinnitus in only one ear. The participants were randomly assigned to receive 100-150mg of pycnogenol or a placebo daily for 4 weeks.

One of the main causes of tinnitus is inhibited blood flow in the inner ear and the researchers found that just 4 weeks of intervention with the pine bark extract significantly improved blood flow.

They also used a scale called the Subjective Tinnitus Scale to measure symptoms of tinnitus and found an impressive reduction in tinnitus symptoms among participants given the pine bark extract. Specifically, those who received the pine bark saw a reduction from an average of 8.8 to 5.2 and 3.3 in the low and high dose groups, respectively.

There are currently not many effective treatments for tinnitus and the researchers are hopeful that further studies will show that pycnogenol is an effective and safe therapeutic option for tinnitus sufferers.

Pycnogenol has also been linked to a number of other health benefits such as reducing the risk of arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis and high blood pressure. Many of these benefits are likely due to the very high anti-inflammatory properties of pycnogenol.

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