Even though pine bark has garnered the nutraceutical industry’s attention (on-and-off) for more than a decade and a half, in recent weeks this up and coming dietary supplement ingredient has experienced an impressive upswing in coverage.
What is pine bark extract?
Usually extracted from the inner bark from certain European species of pine tree, pine bark extract is most often sought for the antioxidants and polyphenols that it contains. The polyphenols found in pine bark extracts are cousins (in the “organic chemistry” sense) of the much hyped and popularized polyphenols found in grape seed extract and cocoa.
The polyphenols found in pine bark extracts are cousins (in the “organic chemistry” sense) of the much hyped and popularized polyphenols found in grape seed extract and cocoa. Currently, one of the more popular pine bark extracts on is a patented formulation (known as pycnogenol).
Pine Bark Extract: Research, Trials & Studies
Unlike other ingredients on the supplement market today, there’s been an extensive number of human trials examining the potential effects of both the patented pycnogenol and non-patented varieties of pine bark extract.
The caveat here, if any, is that a significant portion of the human trials (that are regularly cited) have yet to been duplicated – which means there are still some significant opportunities left for researchers and scientists to looking to validate the extract’s potential benefits.
Pine Bark Extract as Nitric Oxide Booster
Though there have been trials examining the extracts potential effects have varied greatly (exploring links to inflammation, cognition, and almost everything in between), research has suggested that one of the more significant applications for pine bark extract and it’s polyphenols may be as nitric oxide boosters and promoters of cardiovascular health.
Several studies have suggested that in both healthy persons and those with certain cardiovascular issues, regular supplementation with pycnogenol over a span of two weeks or more may be associated with improved blood flow, increased nitric oxide levels, and relaxed blood vessels.1
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