Pycnogenol is an extract from the Maritine French Pine's bark that is reported to increase healthy nitric oxide availability while reducing nitric oxide related oxidisive stress.
it has been reported to be beneficial in CFS - anyone got any experiences?
Being as I am a tree-lover, I'm not real thrilled with anything that requires killing trees wholesale to extract. My understanding is its action is very similar to grape seed extract, having many of the same ingredients - there's an article about that here. Since grape seeds are quite renewable, in fact are around in quantity every year and would be a waste product otherwise, that's what I'd look into, although I'm not sure if either grape seed extract or pycnogenol are radically different from other antioxidants such as alpha lipoic acid and resveratrol. There seems to be a sort of style element in which antioxidants are currently considered coolest, but I'm not sure that means much for us.
I did find a couple of non-commerical articles on grape seed extract and CFIDS by googling. Here's one on using grape seed extract for pain in CFIDS. I found another one listing it in nutrients recommended for FM, but it didn't give any details. Here is a web site by someone who has CFIDS and uses grape seed extract for increasing platelet activity safely, i.e. getting the blood "unsticky" so it circulates to where it's supposed to circulate to. There's also a lot of interesting info on their health worker's theories about some of the CFS mechanisms. He had very liberal health insurance from Microsoft, so he, his wife, and kid all got extensive testing and could experiment with a lot of things.
There seems to be some well-found pickiness in choosing a Grape Seed Extract supplement, looking for a high percentage of Oligomeric Procyanidins. I ended up getting Olympian Labs Grape Seed Extract - looking at Vitacsost for the info and Amazon for further description and feedback (for what it is worth).
My Integrative Internist suggested I get some NEO40 given I had a small speck of plaque in a heart vessel (not sure which one). I had told him I was taking the Grape Seed Extract and he said it was optional.
The Neogenis site has some good information on NO - research, videos, foods that boost NO, books, clinical trial info, etc. Here is an FAQ on NO. In PEAK TESTOSTERONE: An Interview with Dr. Nathan Bryan about Neo40, there is a question about using NEO40 in conjunction with Pycnogenol, where it is suggests there may be some synergism, as well with other supplements.
As an aside there is some debate about the best Pycnogenol brand and percentages of PCO/OPC. I ended up ordering Source Naturals Pycnogenol 50mg from Amazon.com.
There are also a lot of articles on PuMed discussing Gape Seed Extract, Pycnogenol, and Nitric Oxide (in individual and combined searches). Also two there that include NEO40. Neogenis also has a slew of Published Scientific Research for NO.
I was able to reduce my oxidative stress marker 'isoprostane' from very high levels down to the normal range using:
- tocotrienols and tocopherols
- grapeseed extract or pycnogenol (50mg)
- acai powder
- liposomal glutathione
Unfortunately, my CFS symptoms did not improve. I was going to read Dr Pall's book but since I'm essentially normal now, I'm not going to bother. Something else is going one.
Membrane function: Pycnogenol® promotes the integrity and normal characteristics of cell membranes.1-4
DNA function: Pycnogenol® helps support normal DNA function through antioxidant activity and possibly other mechanisms.5-8
Easing inflammation: Pycnogenol® helps ease inflammation by normal modulation of inflammatory cytokine molecules.9-13
Oxidative stress: Pycnogenol® supports the normal functioning of healthy antioxidant systems to help suppress free radicals and protect DNA.14-19
Glycation: Pycnogenol® supports cellular metabolism of sugar, healthy fasting, and post-meal blood sugar levels already within normal range, and normal sugar absorption in the intestine.20-25
http://www.lef.org/abstracts/codex/pycnogenol_index.htm Pycnogenol is the trademarked name for the antioxidant from the French Maritime Pine tree. But it is basically the same anthocyanin compound found in grape seed extract. Pycnogenol, like grape seed extract, is a water-soluble flavonoid, or polyphenol, complex with powerful antioxidant properties and ability to reduce blood clotting. As an antioxidant, pycnogenol is thought to offer cardioprotection (reduces risk of atherosclerosis); reduce cancer risk; improve vascular strength (stronger blood vessels); reduce edema (both inflammation and swelling); promote eye health (reduces risk of macular degeneration and cataracts). Research shows that antioxidants like pycnogenol, grape seed, and green tea are generally 10-100 times more powerful than common nutrient antioxidants such as vitamins C and E.
Specific research shows that pycnogenol may be effective in reducing damage to skin caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun; may be helpful in reducing cancer cell growth and in modulating chronic inflammation as shown in cell culture. In human studies, pycnogenol prevents excessive platelet aggregation (blood clotting) caused by cigarette smoking and stress. In one study, 100 mg of pycnogenol was as effective as 500 mg of aspirin for reducing platelet aggregation. But pycnogenol does not prolong bleeding time like aspirin.
Dosage: 100-200 mg of pycnogenol per day is recommended as a general antioxidant. Side Effects: No significant side effects are expected at recommended intake levels – but intakes of over 600mg per day could increase bleeding time. (Source: www.supplementwatch.com) Research Overview Research on Pycnogenol shows the following effects: 1. Improves sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction 2. Reduces blood glucose levels 3. Effectively manages chronic asthma 4. Is a free radical scavenger 5. Is an antioxidant 6. Is an antiinflammatory 7. Stops mast cells from releasing histamine 8. Reduces gingival bleeding when utilized in chewing gum 9. Improves capillary resistance 10. Reduces reactive oxygen species apoptosis 11. Reduces retina leakage 12. Protects and regenerates vitamins C and E 13. Protects against UV radiation 14. Effective in treating inflammation in lupus 15. Reduces platelet aggregation in smokers 16. Is a mild antihypertensive 17. Relieves cramping in PMS 18. Improves cognitive function in ADHD