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Shedding Light in the Darkness

French Maritime Pine Bark Extract & Stress

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An extract of French maritime pine bark known as Pycnogenol improves cognitive function in individuals who have high levels of oxidative stress but are otherwise in good health, a group from Pescara, Italy, reported in the December issue of the Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences.  The 12-month study focused on the baby boomer population of individuals who currently range from 55-70 years of age.

Researchers at Chieti-Pescara University compared cognitive parameters in subjects who used 100 mg of Pycnogenol per day and also implemented a series of lifestyle measures versus subjects who implemented lifestyle measures alone. The team also compared oxidative stress in the experimental and control groups.

Results in the 77 study participants showed that Pycnogenol supplementation improved a range of cognitive measures and also decreased oxidative stress, said Dr. Gianni Belcaro, principal investigator of the Cognitive Function (COFU) 3 Study.

The findings parallel results reported last year in a study that tested Pycnogenol in healthy professionals 35-55 years of age with increased oxidative stress.

The ability to make a decision was significantly improved by 71% in the Pycnogenol group but declined by 5% in the control group. Memory significantly improved by 37.3% in the supplement group but decreased by 9.8% in the control group.

In 2007, a study (published in the European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry) demonstrated that Pycnogenol helped to reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Boys with ADHD given Pycnogenol had modest but significant reductions of hyperactivity and inattention, according to Jana Trebaticka, M.D., and colleagues, of the Child University Hospital at Comenius University, and the University of Munster in Germany.

At one month after the end of the trial, the apparent drug benefit had disappeared and ADHD symptom scores returned to baseline levels.

“Our results point to an option to use Pycnogenol as a natural supplement to relieve ADHD symptoms of children,” the authors wrote.

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