Pycnogenol is a potent, natural antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the maritime pine tree that grows along the coast of southwest France. It has received attention as a supplement for its extensive natural health benefits via a unique combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids. The extract has been widely studied for the past 35 years and has more than 220 published studies and review articles ensuring safety and efficacy as an ingredient.
A recent study showed a capacity to reduce edema, a common side-effect of antihypertensive medications, by 36 percent in patients taking these medications. Another just-released study shows the extract can delay the uptake of glucose from a meal 190 times more than prescription medications, preventing the typical high-glucose peak in the blood stream after a meal. The study revealed the pine bark is more potent for suppressing carbohydrate absorption in diabetes than synthetic prescription alpha-glucosidase inhibitors.
Now, Natural Health Science Inc. presents pycnogenol for use in certain food and beverage applications. The company is the North American distributor for the pine bark extract produced by Horphag Research Ltd., Guernsey, U.K. Processors developing formulations designed for diabetes and cardiovascular health management will make this an ingredient worth keeping an eye on.