French pine bark extract helps improve microcirculation and cardiovascular health
The French maritime pine bark extract is well-known for it's protective effects on microcirculation and blood vessels.
Now a new clinical trial has shown that red pine bark extract protects cardiovascular health in another way: it increases HDL (good cholesterol) while at the same time reducing oxidised LDL (bad cholesterol) and high blood pressure.
The clinical study
For this placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial, 24 participants who suffered from mild hypertension took either 150mg of red pine bark extract or placebo for 5 weeks.
At the end of the trial and compared to placebo, the pine bark extract raised HDL/good cholesterol by 14%, improved the ratio of apolipoprotein B-100/A-1 by 10%. (p = 0.046) and also reduced systolic blood pressure and oxidised LDL/bad cholesterol, all major markers of cardiovascular disease.
About red pine bark procyanidins
The pine bark extract used for the study was Oligopin, a branded pine bark extract, rich in a group of compounds called "low molecular weight procyanidins" or "oligomeric procyanidins".
Procyanidins are plant chemicals primarily found in apples, maritime/red pine bark, cocoa beans, grape seed & skin, red wine, bilberries, cranberries, black currants, green & black tea. Procyanidins have strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, connective tissue-protecting and blood vessel-protecting action.
Oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs) are compounds formed from a small number (less than four) of catechin and epicatechin molecules, making them the most absorbable and bioactive type of procyanidins.
Red pine bark extract is used in supplement form, as well as an active ingredient in quality anti-ageing / anti-cellulite creams, due to it's desirable action on collagen production, microcirculation and fat reduction.
- Paper: Effects of low molecular weight procyanidin rich extract from french maritime pine bark on cardiovascular disease risk factors in stage-1 hypertensive subjects: Randomized, double-blind, crossover, placebo-controlled intervention trial.
- Abstract: BACKGROUND: Oligopin (OP) is a quantified extract from French Maritime Pine bark (FMPB) with low molecular weight procyanidins. The cardioprotective effects of OP need to be tested in human clinical intervention trials with an appropriate design. PURPOSE: The aim of the present study was to assess the effect of subchronic consumption of OP on cardiovascular disease risk factors such as lipid profile, systolic blood pressure (BP) and oxidized-Low Density Lipoprotein (ox-LDL) in stage-1-hypertensive subjects. METHODS: Between February 14 and May 31, 2014, eligible subjects were recruited from the outpatient clinics of Hospital Universitari Sant Joan (Reus, Spain). A total of 24 participants (mean age ± DS; 57.36 ± 11.25; 17 men) with stage-1-hypertension who were not receiving BP-lowering medication and LDL cholesterol < 4.88 mmol/l were randomized in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. The subjects received 2 capsules/day with 75 mg of OP or placebo for 5-weeks. RESULTS: At 5-weeks, compared to the placebo, OP raised High Density Lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-c) by 14.06% (p = 0.012) and apolipoprotein A-1 by 8.12% (p = 0.038) and reduced the ratio of apolipoprotein B-100/A-1 by 10.26% (p = 0.046). Moreover, at 5-weeks, compared to the baseline, OP reduced the systolic BP by 6.36 mmHg (p = 0.014), and decreased ox-LDL concentrations by 31.72 U/l (p = 0.015). CONCLUSION: At 5-weeks, the consumption of 150 mg/day of OP improve lipid cardiovascular profile and represents one of the scarce ways to increase HDL-c in stage-1-hypertensive subjects.