Pine Bark Extract, A Miracle Supplement

Pine Bark Extract

Pine bark extract has been known to be one of the strongest, natural, alternative medicines that can cure and prevent blood-related diseases. Before we take a deep dive into its benefits and side effects, let’s first take a look at what alternative medicine is.

Alternative Medicine Today

In today’s world of technological and scientific advancements, the health industry is booming with new opportunities that strive for the benefit of mankind. However, some people have always been skeptical about these things and still turn to alternative methods to find cure even for the most common sickness.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and the National Center for Statistics have taken to the public their research regarding the use of alternative medicine, medically known as CAM or complementary and alternative medicine.

The study included gathering of information from 23,393 adults and 9,417 children which allowed them to discover how CAM is being used. They’ve discovered that in the United States alone 38.3% of adults relied on CAM for and 11.8% of children were made to drink alternative medicine by their parents. In perspective, these numbers translate to 4 out of 10 adults and 1 out of 9 children in the United States.

Types of CAM

There are many different fields that complementary and alternative medicine thrives in. These fields would touch on:

  • Body Alternative Medicine
    Or the healing by touch. This practice has been around for many years and is believed and followed by people all over the world. The premise of this practice is that all parts of the body are interconnected and one part can affect another part. By focusing on a part of the body with manual manipulation, an injured part of the body may be restored to its full health.
    An example of which is chiropractic or osteopathic medicine which is very popular with people who have back or skeletal problems. Massage is also a popular practice that is perceived more as a relaxation outlet rather than alternative medicine. There’s also Tai Chi and perhaps the most participated one of all, yoga.
  • TAM or Traditional Alternative Medicine
    These would include the more commonly perceived and accepted traditional medicines like acupuncture, Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, homeopathy or naturopathy.
  • External Energy
    Some people believe that energies and vibrations from objects and natural sources have a direct link to a person’s well-being. Examples of this would include Reiki or the healing of the soul through palm-reading; Qigong or a type of body-movement and posture exercise that allows steady breathing, and meditation for health purposes; last but not the least, electromagnetic therapy which is the practice that believes in the use of magnets to influence biological behavior in human bodies.
  • Mind Therapy
    People who participate in this practice believe that the mind and body have the strongest link. This is backed up by some studies attesting that a sound and healthy mental state allows a person to heal faster. These would include meditation, hypnosis, and biofeedback or examining physiological functions using electrical sensors.
  • Senses Therapy
    This is a more creative approach to health by using the different senses through art, music, dance, and visualization which has been believed to affect a person’s health.
  • Herbs and diet
    From the early days of man, diet only consisted of meat, fruit, and vegetables. Nowadays, the diet has evolved to more complex carbohydrates high in fat and oil content. This has led to the rise of chronic diseases, which also paved the way for people to go back to natural remedies. These included dietary supplements, as well as herbal medicine. This is where Pine bark extracts come in.

Pine Bark Extract: What is it?

Pine bark extract is a dietary supplement that is a source of antioxidant that also has cardiovascular benefits, anti-inflammatory properties, as well as increase the effectiveness of vitamin C in the body.

Pine bark was discovered by a French explorer named Jacques Cartier and his sailors on his way from France to the New World. However, he didn’t really discover the tree, but a group of tribes shared their wisdom with him with regards to pine bark and its benefits. Back then, it was used as a decoction in the form of an herbal tea.

Today, it is popular for being a booster for vitamin C. However, its benefits are more than just this. It goes by a lot of names:

  • French Marine Pine Bark Extract
  • Pine Bark
  • Procyanidin Oligomers
  • PCO’s
  • Pycnogenol

Pine bark extract is packed with pigments from a plant called bioflavonoids. This substance can overpower free radicals in the body that is produced by cells which can cause disease or damage to the tissue. Other studies even claim that it can inhibit the production of enzymes that causes the breakdown of the cartilages in the body.

More than this, Pine bark extract has also been found to be effective in treating most skin disorders and blood circulatory problems. Some studies even suggest that it can also be used to cure erectile dysfunctions if used with another amino acid that is L-arginine. Even more researchers claim that the study of pine bark extract on animals has shown that cancer cells are reduced and eradicated drastically by the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin, however, there are no further studies for human treatment yet.

Benefits of Pine Bark Extract

  • For the metabolism
    In a review, researchers have claimed that pine bark extract can help treat metabolic diseases that are related to obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The study has found that it could lower the sugar levels of diabetic individuals, reduce waistline, improve visceral healthy, improve kidney function as well as lower blood pressure. This is all accounted for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • For heart health
    A 2017 study concluded that pine bark extract helped regulate cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body. It also maintained glucose levels as well as blood pressure— two factors that put people at risk of heart problems.
  • For erectile dysfunction
    It’s been known that pine bark extract has a significant effect on the body’s nitric oxide levels which is ultimately responsible for improving blood flow. The combination of pine bark extract and L-arginine is great for people with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction to help reverse this. It can also be known to improve libido and regulate blood pressure.
  • For common colds
    Cold– It’s irritating and it hinders you from performing at an optimal level. In a study of 146 people with a common cold who were given pine bark extract, the duration of the cold was known to be reduced and the severity lowered.
  • For memory and other brain function
    As you age, your cognitive abilities will slowly start to regress. You may start to suffer from memory gaps. Top with stress, unhealthy diet, and exercise, you are on your surefire way to lose your wits. However, studies have shown that when given pine bark extract, people ages 55 and above showed higher brain activity and performance compared to other groups. The research claims that it is still due to pine bark extract’s antioxidant and stimulation of nitric oxide which boosts blood circulation.
  • For the protection of the skin
    One major benefit of pine bark extract is it reduces the signs of aging. A study of postmenopausal women in 2012 found that pine bark extracts greatly hydrated and improved elasticity of their skin.
    This study has concluded that pine bark may have aided in the stimulation of collagen production and hyaluronic acid. Furthermore, the same study found that it also expedited the healing process of wounds and showed that it improved the appearance of scars.
    Pine bark extract also showed promise in decreasing skin thickness, reducing redness and discoloration, preventing photoaging as well as protecting the skin against cancer.
  • For athletic performance
    In a study of people ages 25-30, people who were given pine bark extract for a month ran longer on the treadmill than they used to. In the same way, athletes who are training in competitions performed better when they were on this extract for 8 weeks compared to training only.
  • For eye health
    People with diabetes who have taken pine bark extract were found to have slowed effects from retinal diseases which is caused by high sugar levels. It has also been found to improve eyesight.
  • For allergies
    People with birch allergies showed that if they take pine bark extract before allergy season that it reduced the symptoms greatly.
  • For asthma
    Pine bark extract has also shown great promise for children and adults with asthma by decreasing their need for rescue inhalers.

Recommended Dosage When Taking Pine Bark Extract

If pine bark extract is to be taken orally, the recommended dosage is 50 to 450 mg daily for up to one year only. As topical ointment or cream, it can be used for 7 days, while in powder form it can be taken up to 6 weeks. Excessive intake of this may result in experiencing certain side effects. Proper intake proportions are as follows:

  • People with allergies should limit to 50mg daily
  • Children with asthma should limit to 1mg per pound of the body divided by two
  • To address poor circulation, 45-360mg daily
  • For people with a retinal disease caused by diabetes, 50 mg three times a day
  • For people with high blood pressure, 200 mg a day
  • For athletes, 200 mg a day

Side Effects of Pine Bark Extract

The period of tolerance for Pine Bark extract is for 6 months of continuous intake. Beyond this, some people have experienced:

  • Vertigo
  • Irritability
  • Low energy levels
  • Upset stomach
  • Dizziness

Precautions and Warning Prior Taking Pine Bark Extract

For pregnant and lactating women, pine bark extract is possibly safe to use during late pregnancy but should be used with caution by women in their early stages. For lactating women, as there is not enough information on this, it is best to avoid it completely to be on the safe side.

For children, it is generally safe to use for oral short-term use.

For people with sclerosis, lupus or arthritis is best to avoid pine bark extract because it might cause the immune system to become more active.

For those with bleeding conditions and surgery, it is best to avoid this product as it may worsen or increase the risk of bleeding. Similarly, people who will undergo surgery must also avoid it. It is recommended to stop the intake of pine bark extract two weeks before a scheduled surgery.