▷ What Are the Benefits of Pine Bark Extract?
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What Are the Benefits of Pine Bark Extract?

The Health Benefits of Pine Bark Extract

Post Summary

Benefits of Pine Bark Extract:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces blood sugar
  • Helps with hot flashes/menopause
  • Aids erectile dysfunction when combined with L-Arginine
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Aids athletic performance
  • May help with ADHD
  • Protects skin
  • Treats arthritis
  • Treats hemorrhoids

Learn how to maximize these benefits in this post.

When it comes to organic health remedies, many do genuinely offer us with excellent options. A large portion have some capacity to boost health, while also coming in at fairly affordable price points, making them absolutely perfect for those looking to improve their health on a tight budget.

But with this, their health effects are often blown a little out of proportion, with people swearing that they can cure almost anything that they come in contact with – something that obviously isn’t the case.

One such supplement that has been making some rather large waves in the health industry over the last few years is pine bark extract.

But it is as effective as people claim it to be?

What Is Pine Bark Extract?

As its name might suggest, pine bark extract comes from a specific type of pine tree found growing natively within the Mediterranean basis. This tree (scientifically named ‘Pinus pinaster’ for those who are interested) is characterised by its bright red bark, and can take anywhere between 30 and 50 years to become fully grown.

Historically speaking, this unique plant was used in a number of traditional medical practices, where it was said to treat scurvy and promote accelerated healing – although in more recent times its extract has been used for a number of different health purposes.

You see, this extract is full to the brim with potent antioxidants (with specific emphasis on phenolic acid, catechin, taxifolin and procyanidolic oligomers) that have been suggested to interact with a number of the body’s systems in a very positive manner.

Is pine bark extract different from pycnogenol?

Pycnogenol is the trademark name used to describe a branded type of pine bark extract coming from a specific type of French pine bark. This specific type of pine bark extract comes in a very fine brown powder, and is extracted using a unique patented extracting process.

Despite their slightly different extraction processes, there is no real difference between Pycnogenol and pine bark extract in terms of their composition or their effectiveness.

What does pine bark extract taste like?

While pine bark extract can come in capsule form (which obviously doesn’t really taste like anything), it is often sold in a powder which needs to be mixed with liquid prior to consumption. When mixed with water it is known to have a slightly unpleasant bitter taste.

Although e should mention that people have reported it mixes quite well with coffee or milk based drinks, which also masks the associated taste quite well.

Why is pine bark extract often paired with L-arginine?

While we touch on this further in the below section, both pine bark extract and L-arginine have shown some promise as effective treatments for erectile dysfunction, as they both enhance blood flow by increasing the body’s production of nitric oxide (which is a known vasodilator).

But to put it simply, they each increase nitric oxide production through completely different pathways. As a result, when taken together, they vastly improve upon the action of the other, resulting in a much greater effect than if you were to take just one alone [1].

What are the benefits of using pine bark extract?

Given its growing popularity, pine bark extract has been described as a treatment for nearly everything on the planet – some of which has evidence to support it, and some of which does not.

As a result we have taken an objective look at the research to determine how effective this supplement really is, and when it is best utilised.

Does pine bark extract lower glucose levels and help diabetes?

High blood glucose is one of the primary drivers for both metabolic disease and type II diabetes. Chronically elevated blood sugar levels lead to excessive secretion of the storage hormone insulin, and subsequently, the development of insulin resistance.

This creates a vicious cycle where both blood sugar and insulin secretion is chronically high, wreaking havoc on the body and resulting in the onset and development of type II diabetes.

Interestingly, there is some evidence to suggest that the daily consumption of pine bark extract can lower resting levels of blood glucose in diabetics, indicating that it may have the potential to add to traditional diabetes medication [2, 3].

Is pine bark extract a blood thinner? 

Due to its interactions with the cardiovascular system, there has been some suggestions that pine bark extract may act as a potential blood thinner. There is currently no evidence to suggest that this is the case, leading us to conclude that pine bark extract cannot effect blood viscosity in any manner.

It is important to note that this suggestion is likely to have come from research demonstrating that pine bark extract can enhance blood flow throughout the body, which occurs in response to improvements in the endothelial function of our veins and arteries [4].

Does pine bark extract lower blood pressure?

Pine bark extract has been shown to improve both endothelial health and cause large increases in nitric oxide production – both of which can cause significant improvement in cardiovascular health by reducing the amount of effort required for the heart to move blood throughout the body.

With this in mind, there is also some evidence to suggest that pine bark extract can lower resting blood pressure in those individuals who have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure [3].

Does pine bark extract help prevent hearing loss, tinnitus or improve balance?

This is a bit of an odd one – to date there has been a single study demonstrating that pine bark extract has the ability to reduce hearing loss in rats undergoing chemotherapy (hearing loss being a common side effect of chemotherapy) [5].

This has since led to the suggestion that pine bark extract has the ability to prevent loss of hearing in humans, protect against tinnitus, and improve balance – but unfortunately there is no evidence to suggest this is the case at all.

Does pine bark extract fight infections?

Many of the compounds found within pine bark extract are thought to exhibit antibacterial and antiviral properties, thus indicating that it may have some capacity to fight infection and reduce the risk of developing infections disease.

And while there is some evidence to suggest that pine bark extract has the ability to destroy harmful bacteria in a laboratory setting [6], its infection fighting abilities have yet to be proven in humans.

Does pine bark extract help with menopause or hot flashes?

As previously mentioned, pine bark extract contains compounds that are known to exhibit potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Interestingly, as a result of these properties, the consumption of pine bark extract has been shown to reduce the signs and symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, pain, and lethargy [7].

Does pine bark extract help erectile dysfunction?

As mentioned at the start of the article, pine bark extract can increase the production of nitric oxide within the body, which in turn causes significant improvement in blood flow. Through this mechanism, pine bark extract has been shown to cause significant improvement in those individuals suffering from erectile dysfunction.

Additionally, these effects appear to be significantly enhanced when pine bark extract is combined with the amino acid L-arginine [8].

Does pine bark extract help your hair or prevent hair loss?

While there has been suggestion that pine bark extract can prevent hair loss, there is currently no evidence to support this claim. As a result, we cannot recommend pine bark oil as a treatment for hair loss or to improve hair quality.

Does pine bark extract reduce inflammation?

Many of the key compounds found within pine bark extract have been shown to exhibit potent anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, its regular consumption has been shown to reduce specific markers of chronic inflammation in humans [9].

This is likely to have a positive impact on both general health and immune system function, while also reducing the risk of developing inflammatory diseases.

Does pine bark extract help with weight loss?

Through its interaction on blood sugar levels, pine bark extract has also been suggested to indirectly assist with weight loss by creating a small (as in very small) increase in fat metabolism. Despite this interaction, there is no research to suggest that this can enhance weight loss in any manner.

Does pine bark extract increase athletic performance?

One of the more interesting applications of pine bark extract surrounds its impact on exercise performance. You see, its supplementation in humans has been shown to cause an increase in endurance exercise performance, combined with reductions in muscle cramping and muscle pain during exercise [10].

This is thought to be due to its ability to mitigate the negative effects of oxidative stress and inflammation that occurs in response to high intensity exercise, and suggest that it may indeed have the ability to enhance athletic performance.

Does pine bark extract help with ADHD, or help you to focus?

There is some interesting research to suggest that the supplementation of pine bark extract can have a very positive impact on individuals suffering from ADHD, in which it has been shown to cause reductions in hyperactivity. This has also come with improvements in attention span, visual motor skills, and concentration [11].

This has led to the suggestion that pine bark extract may have the ability to improve focus and enhance mental clarity, while also acting as a good addition to traditional ADHD medications.

Does pine bark extract protect skin against UV light?

Pine bark extract has become increasingly popular due to its apparent impact on the skin. One key aspect of this is its ability to protect against harmful UV rays and from any associated skin damage.

In fact, the use of pine bark extract has been shown to enhance skin cell function and reduce the damage cause by harmful free radicals (AKA UV light) – both of which can go a very long way to protecting the skin from UV light [12].

Does pine bark extract lighten skin and help with melasma?

Melasma is a common skin disease that causes brown coloured patches of skin to appear on various areas of the body (most commonly the face and hands).

Interestingly, through its positive effects on the skin cells, pine bark oil has also been shown to reduce the excessive pigmentation associated with melasma effected skin, suggesting a potential treatment option [12].

Does pine bark extract help with arthritis?

Due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties, pine bark extract has also been shown to have an incredibly positive effect on individuals suffering from arthritis. In fact, its supplementation has been shown to reduce joint pain, stiffness, and discomfort, while also causing subsequent improvements in joint health and joint range of motion [13].

It is important to note that these effects appear to become most apparent after 90 days of consistent supplementation.

Does pine bark extract help hemorrhoids?

And finally, due to its potent anti-inflammatory actions, pine bark oil has also been shown to cause large improvement in hemorrhoid pain and discomfort.

In fact, both the topical application and oral consumption of pine bark extract has been shown to cause significant improvements in hemorrhoid pain, while reducing the size and severity of the associated hemorrhoid sores [14].

Pine Bark Extract Product Reviews

Given its apparent effectiveness across several different scenarios, we wanted to give you some high quality options that you can implement into your lifestyle immediately. Each of these pine bark extract supplements are great options in their own right, providing what we believe to be the best three products on the market.

NOW Pine Bark Extract 240mg

NOW are a top-quality supplement company that have built an excellent reputation by consistently bringing out great products that have scientific evidence to support their use – and their pine bark extract is no different.

NOW Pine Bark Extract 240 mg,90 Veg Capsules

Coming in capsule form, this supplement provides a solid dosage of 240mg of pine bark extract per capsule, making it both an incredibly potent and highly efficient option.

BulkSupplements Pure Pine Bark Extract Powder

BulkSupplements are renowned for providing a simple no frills approach to all of their supplements, allowing them to offer great quality ingredients at relatively low-price points.

And their pine bark extract powder is a fine example of this.

BulkSupplements Pine Bark Extract Powder (100 grams)

Providing you with nothing but pure pine bark extract powder, this is hands down the most cost-effective option on the market. This makes it perfect for those who want to find a great quality product that won’t break the bank.

Viva Natural 100mg Pycnogenol Capsules

Our final product on this list has been incredibly well received by consumers, with many people supporting its high degree of effectiveness.

Viva Naturals Pycnogenol, 100mg, 60 Veggie Capsules - Proprietary French Pine Bark Extract

While it is one of the more expensive options on the market, you can be assured it contains the highest quality pine bark extract available, and is therefore an extremely effective option.

Does pine bark extract have any side effects?

For the most part, pine bark extract appears to be an incredibly safe supplement. While some individuals can be allergic to the plant from which the supplement is derived (in which these people should avoid the supplement completely), its consumption in those who are not allergic does not appear to elicit any unwanted effects.

It is important to note that pine bark extract should not be taken in conjunction with known blood thinners, or by individuals currently undertaking either chemotherapy or radiotherapy, as it has been shown to mitigate their effectiveness.

And while there is currently no research to suggest that this product cannot be taken by pregnant women or animals, there is still limited research in either of these populations – as a result we strongly recommend you avoid taking it if you are pregnant, or giving it to your pets, until further research has been performed.

Conclusions

Given its ability to improve metabolic health and blood sugar levels, protect against inflammation, inflammatory diseases, and harmful UV rays, assist in ADHD treatment and enhance attention, and promote general health, pine bark extract truly is an excellent supplement.

And combine this with almost no side effects, and you have yourself a winner.

If you have had any experience using pine bark extract in the past we would love to hear about it, so drop us a comment and we will get back to you ASAP.

References

About the author

Sabrina Wilson

Sabrina Wilson is an author and homemaker who is passionate about a holistic approach to health. When she is not writing she can be found tooling around in her garden with the help of her appropriately named dog Digby, bicycling in the park, and occasionally rock climbing…badly. Sabrina is a staff writer for the Organic Daily Post.

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