Red pine bark extract boosts circulation, prevents oxidative damage

  • Red / maritime pine bark extract is well-known for it's circulation boosting, vein and capillary supporting and antioxidative action, so it could be an ideal leg wellness / cellulite cream ingredient 
  • Source: Well-Known Antioxidants and Newcomers in Sport Nutrition: Pycnogenol 
  • Abstract: Pycnogenol (also referred to as picnogel or pycnogel) is the registered trade name for a natural extract from the bark of a French maritime pine (Pinus Pinaster). It is a standardised extract composed of a mixture of flavonoids, mainly phenolic acids, catechin, taxifolin and procyanidins, and each component exerting a unique biological effect (Packer et al. 1999). Recommended doses of pycnogenol range widely and depend on the treatment aim. For example, to combat chronic venous insufficiency, recommended doses range from 150 to 360 mg·day–1, whereas others have recommended approximately 75–90 mg·day to prevent oxidative tissue damage. In a majority of clinical trials, the duration of supplementation is generally months. Side effects of pycnogenol supplementation are minimal (Gleeson et al. 2012). Studies indicate that pycnogenol components are highly bioavailable. Interestingly, pycnogenol displays greater biologic effects as a mixture than its purified components do individually, indicating that the components interact synergistically (Packer et al. 1999). Pycnogenol supplementation has been reported to have a wide range of health benefits, including improved cognitive function, endothelial function, blood pressure regulation and venous insufficiency (Maimoona et al. 2011, Gleeson et al. 2012). Pycnogenol also acts as an antiinflammatory and antioxidant agent (Packer et al. 1999, Devaraj et al. 2002, Williamson and Manach 2005). The antioxidant effect of pycnogenol is attributed to the high procyanadin content (Grimm et al. 2004). Pycnogenol has also been reported to have cardiovascular benefits, such as a vasorelaxant activity, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibiting activity and the ability to enhance the microcirculation by decreasing capillary permeability (Packer et al. 1999). There are a limited number of studies in the current literature about the effects of pycnogenol on exercise performance, exercise-induced oxidative stress and inflammatory response. In a previous study (Pavlovic 1999), examining the effect of pycnogenol on endurance performance demonstrated a significant increase in endurance performance in recreationally trained athletes. Mach et al. (2010) demonstrated that pycnogenol-rich antioxidant cocktail improves time to fatigue by increasing the serum NAD+ levels. In a recent study, Bentley et al. (2012) showed that an acute single dose of pycnogenol supplement is able to improve endurance performance in trained athletes. Additionally, Vinciguerra et al. (2006) demonstrated that pycnogenol ingestion reduces the number of events in subjects with cramps and muscular pain without causing negative effects. However, additional experiments are required to confirm these results, to examine the optimal timing and dose amount of this supplement, as well as to establish the physiological mechanisms that explain the increased time to exhaustion during intense endurance exercise.