A recent clinical trial has found that natural supplements plays a vital role in keeping your brain in shape. Natural supplements are an easy, effective way to manage mental focus, memory and overall mood.
Natural supplement Pycnogenol® (pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, was found to significantly enhance mental performance in healthy college students.
The study was conducted at Pescara University and examined 53 Italian university students, aged 18-27. Students were assigned to a control or test group. The test group was given 100 mg of Pycnogenol® per day, over a period of eight weeks. Students' mental performance was evaluated using cognitive function tests that were carried out by computer-assisted methods. Students' final exam scores were also evaluated. Verbal IQ tests ensured that students recruited for the study demonstrated highly comparable intelligence. The study found that:
• Pycnogenol® effectively enhanced mental performance, including improved sustained attention, memory and mood in students within an eight week period
• Students taking Pycnogenol® had higher test scores on university exams than the control group
• Alertness and contentedness improved significantly within the Pycnogenol® group and levels of anxiety decreased by 17 percent
"Oxygen-rich blood supply to the brain plays an important role for cognitive function and the improvement of vascular function with Pycnogenol® may be responsible for the beneficial effects found in this study," says Dr. Gianni Belcaro, the lead researcher from Pescara University, Italy. Results showed that not only did Pycnogenol® decrease test anxiety, but also confirmed Pycnogenol®'s ability to improve mental performance by evaluating students' scores on exams. Researchers suggest that several physiologic contributions of Pycnogenol® may have contributed to the improved cognitive function of investigated students, namely antioxidant potency and blood circulation improvement. While the results are promising they need to be further investigated in a larger population group.
This study confirms previous findings that Pycnogenol® effectively improves cognitive function. Research published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology demonstrated that Pycnogenol® supplementation improved both numerical working memory as well as spatial working memory in Australian senior citizens.