Anyone tried Pycnogenol?

ramakentesh

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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?
 

Sunday

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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.
 

AFCFS

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I like the grape seed extract This article does not specifically address the "nitric oxide related oxidisive stress," it does show it to be a great antioxidant. Here is a PubMed article on it: Free radicals and grape seed proanthocyanidin extract: importance in human health and disease prevention.

The comparative protective effects of GSPE, vitamins C and E were examined on tobacco-induced oxidative stress and apoptotic cell death in human oral keratinocytes. Oxidative tissue damage was determined by lipid peroxidation and DNA fragmentation, while apoptotic cell death was assessed by flow cytometry. GSPE provided significantly better protection as compared to vitamins C and E, singly and in combination. GSPE also demonstrated excellent protection against acetaminophen overdose-induced liver and kidney damage by regulating bcl-X(L) gene, DNA damage and presumably by reducing oxidative stress.

Grape Seed Extract Offers Many Benefits is a less scientific but also informative article.

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).
 

AFCFS

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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.

Given that Neogenis has Nitric Oxide Diagnostics™ Test Strips, I would like to see how NO is affcted by NEO40, Grape Seed Extract, Pycnogenol, and diet. PEAK TESTOSTERONE: Nitric Oxide Test has an intersting Q&A on the test strips.

supplementfacts.com All About Bioflavonoids (continued) has this to say in there Q&A:

Q. Do I need to take grape-seed extract if I'm already taking Pycnogenol or vice versa?

A. The research on Pycnogenol and grape-seed extract have yielded similar results, which is due to the high concentrations of proanthocyanidins and other substances contained in both. At this time, there are no noteworthy clinical studies comparing the biological effects of these two different sources. If you are looking for general dietary health benefits, either bioflavonoid source or a combination of the two will be sufficient. However, if you are looking for specific therapeutic results, choose the product that has clinical research supporting the desired effects.

In the January/February 1995 issue of American Journal of Natural Medicine, Dr. Michael T. Murray, a famous naturopathic doctor, reviewed this very issue in his article, "PCO sources: Grape seed vs. pine bark." (PCO stands for proanthocyanidins. The term OPC-oligometeric proanthocyanidin complexes-refers to the same thing.) Dr. Murray concluded that both grape-seed extract and Pycnogenol are well-defined chemically and both are excellent sources of PCOs. However, he points out that over the past twenty years, grape-seed extract has undergone more clinical and experimental research, and that grape-seed extract may be a more potent and effective antioxidant due to its other free-radical scavenging components. Finally, grape-seed extract products tend to be cheaper than Pycnogenol or other pine-bark extracts due to the annual crop of grape seeds that are available from the grape juice and wine industries. In the end, it's most important to include one or both of these bioflavonoid products in your dietary regimen in order to reduce your risk of disease, such as cardiovascular disease, while improving your overall health and well-being.

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.
 

globalpilot

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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.
 

Jenny

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I took this at a highish dose a couple of years ago (can't remember exactly what the dose was.) Took it for 3 months, but no change.

Jenny
 

Lotus97

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Rich recommended Pycnogenol for excitotoxicity. I've heard one person here saying they found it beneficial, but I don't remember what she said it helped her with specifically.

According to Life Extension (who's selling it I hasten to add) Pycnogenol has the following benefits: (both links list references/abstracts. I assume research studies)
http://www.lef.org/Vitamins-Supplements/Item01637/Pycnogenol.html
  • 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