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French Maritime Pine Bark | All the properties of Pycnogenol
French Maritime Pine Bark All the properties of Pycnogenol

French Maritime Pine Bark
All the properties of Pycnogenol

Date: November 02, 2021

Among the nutraceuticals that are attracting more and more the attention of researchers is the picnogenolo, a polyphenol obtained from the bark of the French maritime pine ( Pinus maritima ) and represents one of the most powerful antioxidant complexes in nature.

What is Pycnogenol?

pino marittimo francese ricco di picnogenolo

Pycnogenol is found under the bark of a particular pine that grows on the French coast of the Bay of Biscay, on the Atlantic Ocean, between the Iberian Peninsula and France.

This substance consists of a complex mixture of pro-anthocyanidins (oligomeric and polymeric), whose chemical composition highlights the presence of different polyphenols , in particular bioflavonoids such as procyanidins, and phenolic acids, such as caffeic and ferulic, which act in synergistic way in its antioxidant activity.

The Pycnogenol® patent

Much research has been conducted on pycnogenol over the past few years. In particular on the patent of Horphag Research Ltd, Pycnogenol®. From these researches it emerged that its activity does not only concern its antioxidant activity but also demonstrates adjuvant properties such as anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant and antithrombotic.

The antioxidant action of pycnogenol

The antioxidant function of pycnogenol is the result of a multifactorial mechanism given by the remarkable ability to inhibit, not competitively, the xanthine-oxidase enzyme, promoter of the formation of the "superoxide" anion. The oligomeric proanthocyanidins that contains this extraordinary mixture of bioactive elements have proved to be 30 times more effective than vitamin E and even 20 times higher than that of vitamin C .

These "classic antioxidant vitamins" were found to be very effective both in the induction phase and in the propagation phase of lipid peroxidation. The anti-enzymatic action is tested in vitro on various enzymes, including elastase, collagenase, hyaluronidase, beta-glucoronidase (involved in the replacement of the main components of the extravascular matrix: elastin, collagen, hyaluronic acid) and xanthine oxidase (involved in the formation of the anion superoxide). Furthermore, it has been shown that alpha-1-antitrypsin, an inhibitor of proteolytic enzymes, is in turn inhibited by compounds containing active oxygen, thus giving the green light to the enzymatic systems controlled by it, with the result of accelerating the destruction of the matrix. extracellular.

All the properties of pycnogenol

Strengthening of the capillary and venous walls

water retention and swelling


The proanthocyanidins thus block this complex process of "damage" in a multifactorial way. A "combined" action is created which counteracts the formation of compounds containing active oxygen, limiting the entire enzymatic activity.
With the result that this combined action manifests itself with a notable strengthening of the capillary walls, particularly useful in peripheral venous insufficiency, retinopathies and, especially, in capillary fragility. In the latter case, oligomeric proanthocyanidins have the ability to reinforce the vascular walls through a specific bond with collagen and elastin, and as we have seen, perform an inhibitory action against the important enzymes of the capillary endothelium and the surrounding matrix, also protecting against damage caused by free radicals.

People suffering from vascular problems of this type, such as swollen legs and fragility of the capillaries, benefit from pycnogenol, as do those suffering from cellulite, water retention, cholesterol imbalances and problems related to platelet values. Pycnogenol has been shown to help because it stimulates normal circulation by increasing the vasodilation of blood vessels and relieving the load on the heart. Effects demonstrated by intense scientific research [1].

Anti-aging role

young boys in the kitchen


Regarding this definition (anti-aging or "anti-aging"), several studies show that Pycnogenol® is able to promote joint mobility and flexibility and relieve pain in a natural way.

In addition, supplementation of nutrition with Pycnogenol® has been shown to increase joint flexibility, lowering markers of joint inflammation. In fact, the consumption of Pycnogenol® limits the activation of the pro-inflammatory factor NF-kB by 15.8%. This factor commands the mobilization of all pro-inflammatory molecules, which play a destructive role in arthritis. As a result, consumers of Pycnogenol® generate fewer matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) enzymes, which in osteoarthritis cause the collagen contained in the cartilage to degenerate. It has been studied that in humans the consumption of Pycnogenol® can naturally inhibit the production of COX-2 enzymes during inflammation, helping to significantly reduce joint pain.

Support for athletes

cyclists during a hike

Among the various fields of action in which the potential of this element emerges, pycnogenol can play an important role in physical activity as it could stimulate the production of nitric acid (NO), improving blood microcirculation and blood flow. to the muscles. In this way, it would help the body achieve maximum muscle performance and shorten recovery times after exercise, with a possible reduction in muscle pain in both athletes and healthy individuals who exercise.

Antiallergic adjuvant

Another aspect in which pycnogenol can find application is as an antiallergic support. Allergy is a reaction of the body's immune system to substances it considers "dangerous". Allergens that, as happens in hay fever, cause negative reactions of the body are usually made up of pollen, dust, mites and animal hair and when an allergic person comes into contact with one of these allergens, mast cells release a hormone tissue called histamine. Histamine in turn causes sneezing, nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing, heartburn and bronchial swelling. Where does pycnogenol intervene in this case? Since this powerful antioxidant also has anti-inflammatory properties, it helps inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory mediators helping to relieve swelling and make breathing easier and the effects of histamine release.


Did you already know the functions of pycnogenol? Let us know in the comments if you liked the article!




[1] One of these researches includes a very interesting study of 211 passengers on a long distance flight (7-12 hours), which showed how Pycnogenol® helps prevent thrombosis. The passengers had taken two 100-mg capsules of pycnogenol two to three hours before departure, and two more capsules six hours after take-off. Another capsule was taken the day after arrival at the destination. While in the control group, which was given a placebo, there were five cases of thrombosis, no cases of thrombosis were found during the flight among the passengers who took Pycnogenol®.

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