Antioxidants. We’ve all heard the word thrown around in the health industry for years and their benefits have been proven to fight the numerous free radicals we are exposed to daily, damaging our body’s cells. Free radicals accelerate the aging process, leading to various health issues. Antioxidants directly aid in the protection against the negative effects of free radicals like pollution, alcohol, pesticides and sunlight. Pine Bark extract is one of the most potent sources of antioxidants, providing multiple health benefits.
But what exactly is it…?
Pine bark is the outer covering of a tree composed of non-living and living tissue, protecting the tree from environmental stressors and microorganisms. Similarly, pine bark extract can aid in the protection of free radical effects in humans. Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPC’s) are the pharmaceutically active polyphenols extracted from pine bark and are primarily known for their antioxidant- producing benefits although additionally have antibacterial, antiviral, anti-carcinogenic, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and anti- allergic properties. Talk about a super extract!
Lets dive into some (there are many) of its possible benefits:
The antioxidant properties of the OPCs help to inhibit the reactions of free radicals that would otherwise be damaging your cell membranes. There are numerous uses of pine bark extract but specifically it has some beneficial uses in relation to diabetes, high blood pressure, aging skin, inflammatory conditions and increased athletic performance.
- For people suffering from diabetes, it can help to lower blood glucose levels, and additionally can aid to hinder leaking capillaries in the eye, impeding the progression of vision loss in patients suffering from diabetic retinopathy.
- It has been shown to be useful for hyper-pigmentation of skin in relation to exposure from harmful sun rays.
- Pine bark extract has been studied in relation to oxidative stress and inflammation that can occur with exercise performance. It can increase the time it takes for the body to become fatigued and can offer less cramping, muscle pain and quicker muscle recovery time.
- Studies have shown decreased pain and time of menstrual cramps as well as reducing signs and symptoms associated with menopause
Skip it if…
Pine bark extract may not be for you if you are taking blood thinners. Additionally, if you have hypertension, vitamin c supplements in combination with pine bark extract could increase blood pressure. As pine bark extract can cause the immune system to become more active, the symptoms of various auto-immune diseases could be increased.
Clearly an extremely versatile and powerful antioxidant, pine bark extract offers some amazing benefits. Depending on your health and what results you are looking for, this might be a great option to explore. Lets be honest here, who doesn’t want beautiful skin and enhanced physical performance and stamina.
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Terry, S. (2015). http://www.livestrong.com/article/291067-pycnogenol-vs-pine-bark-extract/
Belviranli, M. Okudan, N. Well-Known Antioxidants and Newcomers in Sport Nutrition
Coenzyme Q10, Quercetin, Resveratrol, Pterostilbene, Pycnogenol and Astaxanthin
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Department of Biomedical Sciences Chieti- Pescara University https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22108479
Kohama T1, Suzuki N, Ohno S, Inoue M. (2004). Analgesic efficacy of French maritime pine bark in dysmenorrhea: an open clinical trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15568408
Photo Credit: Daily Mail UK (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2092181/French-maritime-pine-bark-extract-hailed-new-beauty-product-women-keeps-skin-elastic.html)