March 7, 2012
Pycnogenol (French Maritime Pine Bark Extract) Shown To Improve Menopause Symptoms In New Study
Natural supplement found to reduce hot flashes and bloating and improve irregular heart beat and digestive problems
Half the population experiences menopause, and for those women, it is a condition they will experience for approximately one third of their lifetime. Alternative or natural remedies are an easy, effective way to improve signs and symptoms linked to the menopausal transition, without side effects. Natural supplement Pycnogenol® (pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, was found to significantly improve signs and symptoms of menopause in a recent clinical trial published in Panminerva Medica.
The study was conducted at Pescara University and examined 70 perimenopausal women, aged 40-50 years. Perimenopause is the term used to describe the menopause transition years, typically the years before and after the final menstrual period. Participants were assigned to a placebo or test group. The test group was given 100 mg of Pycnogenol® per day (50 mg taken twice daily), over a period of eight weeks. Participants' menopausal symptoms were evaluated by a scoring system, based on a total of 33 common signs and symptoms, using values ranging from zero (absent) to a maximum of four (very serious). Oxidative stress levels were evaluated by measuring capillary blood plasma free radicals from a drop of capillary blood from the finger tips.
The study found that:
Pycnogenol® substantially improved perimenopausal signs and symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, irregular periods, loss of libido and vaginal dryness after eight weeks of treatment, as judged by patients' scores, showing a decrease from an average of 2.67/4 to 1.45/4
Pycnogenol® effectively decreased the severity of hot flashes, decreased bloating and improved irregular heart beat and improved digestive problems
Menopausal symptoms categorized under "pain" improved significantly with the group taking Pycnogenol®
Oxidative stress levels decreased significantly after Pycnogenol® supplementation, improving quality of life and helping to control signs and symptoms of menopause
"As evidenced by this study, Pycnogenol® may arguably represent a very effective basic, daily dietary supplement for menopausal women due to its extended range of health benefits, including cardiovascular benefits and Pycnogenol®'s proven ability to lower blood pressure," says Dr. Gianni Belcaro, the lead researcher from Pescara University, Italy.
Results showed that not only did Pycnogenol® improve menopausal signs and symptoms, but also decreased elevated levels of oxidative stress, as shown by capillary blood tests. Pycnogenol®'s ability to manage heart health is of particular significance as menopausal women live at elevated risk for cardiovascular disease.
This study confirms previous findings that Pycnogenol® effectively improves perimenopausal signs and symptoms. A previous study in Taiwan investigated 200 mg of Pycnogenol® in 200 perimenopausal women over a period of half a year and identified an improvement in most signs and symptoms. This study demonstrated Pycnogenol®'s ability to improve signs and symptoms not only with a smaller dosage of Pycnogenol® but also over a shorter period of time.
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