New Study: Pine Bark Extract Boosts Nitric Oxide (NO) Production

Thursday, October 18, 2007 General News
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HOBOKEN, N.J., Oct. 17 A study to be published in theOctober edition of Hypertension Research reveals Pycnogenol(R),(pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the Frenchmaritime pine tree, helps individuals by enhancing healthy nitric oxide (NO)production which leads to an increase in blood flow and oxygen supply tomuscles.

Nitric oxide, a key cardiovascular chemical produced by the body,increases blood flow that serves to deliver more nutrients and oxygen to themuscles, helping muscles to cope with increased physical activity and buildwhen subjected to regular elevated labor.

"This study suggests that when taking Pycnogenol(R), more NO is providedin response to neurotransmitters allowing for better expansion of arteries tocarry more blood. This process serves to meet the enhanced oxygen demand ofthe performing muscle and avoid anaerobic metabolism," said Dr. YukihitoHigashi, lead researcher of the study. "These results also lead me todetermine that Pycnogenol(R) will be a useful natural alternative therapy invarious diseases in which oxidative stress is involved in the pathogenesis."

The double-blind, randomized, placebo study was held at the HiroshimaUniversity Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Japan. Every day for twoweeks young healthy men either took 180 mg Pycnogenol(R) or a placebo. Toidentify Pycnogenol's(R) effect on the release of NO, an inhibitor of theamino acid L-arginine was infused in patients, which restricts the expansionof arteries in response to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

After two weeks of supplementation with Pycnogenol(R), results revealedblood flow increased in response to acetylcholine stimulation by 42 percent.In contrast, the control group receiving the placebo did not show a pronouncedblood flow increase in response to neurotransmitter stimulation.

"Acetylcholine stimulates the cells of arteries to produce NO fromL-arginine faster," Dr. Higashi said. "In turn, the NO causes the musclesurrounding arteries to relax, which results in an increase of blood vesseldiameters. When subjects had taken Pycnogenol(R) the relaxation of arterieswas increased by 42 percent as compared to the group taking placebo tablets."

According to Frank Schonlau, Ph.D, director of scientific communicationsfor Horphag Research, worldwide distributors of Pycnogenol(R), "While moreresearch is warranted, this is an encouraging breakthrough especially toathletes as Pycnogenol(R) seems to allow people to move faster when exercisingby satisfying the enhanced muscle oxygen demand and increasing the blood flowto active muscles. When people are performing heavy physical activity, nervesrelease neurotransmitter acetylcholine to arteries supplying muscles, whichmakes them expand, a process that requires enhanced production of NO."

A multitude of studies about Pycnogenol(R) and sports nutrition have beenconducted. Most recently, a year ago, Pycnogenol(R) was demonstrated toimprove blood circulation and support a lasting aerobic muscle activity duringany kind of activity and enhance sports endurance by alleviating cramping andmuscular pain in athletes. In short, Pycnogenol(R) is effective for enhancingand prolonging muscle performance during sport, supports muscle adaptation tohigher work-load and allows for faster physical recovery.

About Pycnogenol(R)

Pycnogenol(R) is a natural plant extract originating from the bark of themaritime pine that grows along the coast of southwest France and is found tocontain a unique combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids,which offer extensive natural health benefits. The extract has been widelystudied for the past 35 years and has more than 220 published studies andreview articles ensuring safety and efficacy as an ingredient. Today,Pycnogenol(R) is available in more than 600 dietary supplements,multi-vitamins

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