The benefits of pine bark extract continue to evolve with emerging science. This most recent study examined the benefits of Pycnogenol® (Horphag) supplementation over a two-month-period in otherwise healthy individuals with minimal cognitive impairment and initial cognitive dysfunction selected on the basis of their Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score.
Impairments in cognitive function are difficult to evaluate and measure. In most cases, subjects do not perceive any alteration in their own status, particularly in case of mild cognitive impairment. Functional and/or temporary alterations in the cerebral microcirculation may be involved in cognitive impairment, and some aspects of MCI may be theoretically caused by perfusional problems. Metabolic problems and sleep disturbances can also be associated to cognitive impairment.
This is potentially breakthrough research for millions. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) hits general memory and reasoning. Those suffering from MCI may have more difficulty remembering where they put their car keys, recalling names or learning new skills. In many cases, it’s a precursor for dementia.” ~ Dr. Steven Lamm.
The study, published in Journal of Neurological Sciences from Minerva Medica, tested 87 men between the ages of 55 and 75 who showed signs of MCI. Researchers administered MMSE 30-point questionnaire to determine the level of cognitive impairment for each individual. Participants supplemented with 150mg (three 50mg capsules) of Pycnogenol daily for eight weeks and their MMSE scores were re-evaluated at the end of the study.
Results of Pine Bark Extract Supplementation
All study participants followed a standard management routine including healthy sleep habits, regular exercise, and low sodium and low sugar meals. Results show that along with these standard management practices, study participants who supplemented with Pycnogenol® had an 18 percent improvement of their MMSE scores, including improvements in the following areas:
- Significant enhancement of ability to remember friends and family (31.3 percent improvement with Pycnogenol vs. 0 percent improvement control)
- Improvement of remembering where things are (39.4 percent improvement with Pycnogenol vs. 6.5 percent improvement control group)
- Increase of ability to learn new gadgets and technology (24.1 percent improvement with Pycnogenol vs. 3.3 percent improvement control)
- Greater ability to manage money and finances (39.4 percent improvement with Pycnogenol vs. 12.5 percent improvement control)
- Significant improvement of ability to deal with people (19.4 percent improvement with Pycnogenol vs. 7.6 percent control)
In addition, researchers found that the participants who supplemented with Pycnogenol also experienced a 16 percent reduction in oxidative stress.
This study along with previous research shows that Pycnogenol boosts blood circulation and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory. Pycnogenol helps endothelial cells produce more nitric oxide (NO) which has multiple effects on brain function. Initially, NO increases blood flow, which improved oxygenation and the transport of nutrients to brain cells. NO regulates neuronal functions and thus contributes to processing signals inside the brain. In addition, NO helps modulate key neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. This new study supports previous research examining Pycnogenol’s benefits for reducing venous conditions and managing jet lag symptoms.
Conclusion / Pycnogenol® has shown a large number of positive effects in subjects with initial cognitive impairment, due to its effects on oxidative stress levels. The safety and tolerability of Pycnogenol® are good, and thus the supplementation regimen should be tested in larger studies with a longer follow-up.
Source: Hosoi M, Belcaro G, Saggino A, Luzzi R, Dugall M, Feragalli B. Pycnogenol® supplementation in minimal cognitive dysfunction. J Neurosurg Sci 2018;62:279-84. doi: 10.23736/S0390-5616.18.04382-5