Pine Bark Extract and Heart Health

Pycnogenol is an extract from pine bark. Research published in the journal Hypertension Research (October 2007, Vol 30; pp. 775-780) looked at its effect on cardiovascular health. Sixteen young, healthy men were given either a placebo or 180 mg of Pycnogenol each day for two weeks. The research was designed to see the effect the Pycnogenol had on nitric oxide. Nitric oxide has an effect on the cells lining the surface of blood vessels, causing them to relax.
The amino acid, L-arginine is involved with nitric acid production. The subjects of the study were injected with a substance to inhibit L-arginine, causing a constriction of the arteries. This was done to both the placebo group and the group receiving the Pycnogenol. After two weeks, the relaxation of the arteries was 42% greater in the group receiving the Pycnogenol.

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