New science continues to show that pine-bark extract is a valuable dietary supplement for men and women’s health. A new study shows that pine-bark extract (brand Pycnogenol®) is beneficial for men with benign-prostate hypertrophy. We also include an earlier study showing that the pine-bark extract can reduce symptoms from dysmenorrhea for women.
Study 1: Pine-bark extract for Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy, Prostate Symptoms and Residual Bladder Volume
This study, published in Minerva Medica, evaluated the efficacy of Pycnogenol supplementation of healthy men with pre-clinical initial symptoms benign prostatic hyperthropy (BPH).
In the study, seventy-five healthy men with symptoms and signs of initial BPH were included. Subjects were divided into three groups: 1) control group using only the standard management (SM); 2) a group using SM plus Pycnogenol 150 mg/day; 3) a group using standard pharmacological management.
The study showed that BPH symptoms like emptying, frequency, intermittency, urgency, weak flow, straining, nocturia, were significantly improved with Pycnogenol (P<0.05) and the difference with both control groups was statistically significant (P<0.05).
The study resulted in the following:
- Significant improvement of residual bladder volume by 51 percent (vs. 35 percent improvement in the control group / 41 percent improvement in dudasteride and finasteride group)
- Significant improvement of bladder emptying by 42 percent (vs. 9 percent improvement in the control group / 6 percent improvement in the dudasteride and finasteride group)
- Reduction in frequency of urination by 37 percent (vs. 12 percent improvement in the control group / 14 percent improvement in dudasteride and finasteride group)
- Improvement of urinary straining by 31 percent (vs. 20 percent improvement in the control group / 6 percent improvement in dudasteride and finasteride group)
- Reduction in frequency of nocturia by 31 percent (vs. 18 percent improvement in the control group / 9 percent improvement in dudasteride and finasteride group)
- Reduction of intermittency by 31 percent (vs. 9 percent improvement in the control group / 19 percent improvement in dudasteride and finasteride group)
- Improvement of weak flow by 24 percent (vs. 9 percent improvement in the control group / 17 percent improvement in dudasteride and finasteride group)
Symptoms of enlarged prostate are often painful and can interfere with daily activities – even disrupting sleep,” Most of my patients experience urgency of urination, weak flow and inability to fully empty their bladder. Some report pain while urinating. Enlarged prostate affects nearly all men and most pharmaceuticals take up to 6 months to show results. This initial study shows measurable benefit from Pycnogenol within 60 days – a natural option without side effects.” ~ Dr. Steven Lamm, medical director at NYU Langone Preston Robert Tisch Center for Men’s Health.
As this study shows, Pycnogenol may be an important option for self-management of BPH in otherwise healthy men. Supplementation did not produce any unwanted side effects, such as erectile dysfunction, a key concern of other common prostate health treatments.
Source: Ledda A, Belcaro G, Feragalli B, Cornelli U, Dugall M, Corsi M, et al. Benign prostatic hypertrophy: Pycnogenol® supplementation improves prostate symptoms and residual bladder volume. Minerva Med 2018;109:280-4. doi: 10.23736/S0026-4806.18.05572-6
Study 2: Pine-bark Extract Significantly Reduces Menstrual Pain
This study reveals dysmenorrhea, a condition that causes extremely painful menstrual periods affecting millions of women each year, can be reduced naturally by taking Pycnogenol® (pine bark extract) from the French maritime pine tree.
Dysmenorrhea is the leading cause of recurrent short-term school absence in adolescent girls and a common problem in women of reproductive age.
The multi-center field study, published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, shows women with dysmenorrhea who supplemented with Pycnogenol experienced less pain and required less pain medications during menstruation.
Dysmenorrheal pain is thought to be caused by elevated levels of inflammation and characterized by menstrual cramping pain, which may reach incapacitating severity,” said Dr. Nobutaka Suzuki, lead researcher of the study. “Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like aspirin or ibuprofen provide temporary help against menstrual pain. Unfortunately, they are generally ineffective for resolving spasmodic events and commonly cause side effects, particularly gastric problems.”
The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted at four Japanese hospitals (Kanazawa University Hospital, Keiju Medical Center, Hamamatsu University Hospital and Sugiura Clinic) and sampled 116 women, aged 18–48, suffering from menstrual pain.
Patients were monitored for five menstrual cycles. They were supplied with a diary to note the pain during days of menstruation, which was evaluated using the established Visual Analog Scale. The first two pre-treatment menstrual cycles were utilized for establishing base-line values for pain sensation and NSAID analgesics. During the following two menstrual cycles women were randomly assigned to groups receiving daily regimens of Pycnogenol® or placebo. Thereafter, supplementation was discontinued to investigate the recurrence of symptoms.
The use of NSAID analgesics was not restricted during the entire study. However, patients were required to note the dose and the type of analgesics, as well as the time taken in their diary.
Results showed treatment with Pycnogenol lowered pain during menstruation, which was reflected by a significant reduction of NSAID used. The number of painful days due to dysmenorrhea decreased from an average of 2.1 days prior to treatment to 1.3 at both the third and fourth cycle. Discontinuation of Pycnogenol did not cause an immediate relapse, and pain medication use did not increase.
A related study, published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine revealed that Pycnogenol significantly reduces symptoms of endometriosis by 33 percent. This study also demonstrated that Pycnogenol does not exert any estrogen-like activity.
Sources: Suzuki N, Uebaba K, Kohama T, Moniwa N, Kanayama N, Koike K. French maritime pine bark extract significantly lowers the requirement for analgesic medication in dysmenorrhea: a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Reprod Med. 2008 May;53(5):338-46.
Kohama T, Suzuki N, Ohno S, Inoue M. Analgesic efficacy of French maritime pine bark extract in dysmenorrhea: an open clinical trial. J Reprod Med. 2004 Oct;49(10):828-32. PubMed PMID: 15568408.