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Pycnogenol® Shows Significant Heart Health Benefits

Pycnogenol® is an extract from French Maritime Pine bark that is taken in supplement form. Studies have shown it to have numerous health benefits, with the latest finding it may improve flow mediated dilation (FMD) in people with stable coronary artery disease.

FMD is a measure of a blood vessel's healthy ability to relax. People with stable coronary artery disease usually have a plaque that has become large enough to produce partial arterial obstruction. This prevents adequate blood flow to the heart.

The study was published online ahead of print on January 11, 2012, in the European Heart Journal.

For the study, 23 individuals with stable coronary artery disease consumed either 200 mg of Pycnogenol® daily for eight weeks or a placebo. In addition, they took their regular regimen of statins, anti-hypertensives and blood thinners. After a two week washout period, the participants switched interventions.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted a 32% improvement— from 5.3 to 7.0 - in flow mediated dilation in the supplement groups, but no change in the placebo groups. They also noted a reduction in the supplement group of an oxidative stress marker, known as plasma-8-isoprostanes, when compared to baseline and the placebo group.

Pycnogenol® has been shown in previous studies to help with menopausal symptoms, better skin, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), relief from hay fever, lowering the risk of vision loss and reducing the risk of kidney damage.

Pycnogenol® is water soluble, meaning it can be added to the production of many common foods. It is currently included in dietary supplements, cosmetic products, and a variety of foods and drinks.

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