By: Robert M. Blair, Ph.D.
Pycnogenol® is a well-known antioxidant ingredient that has been shown to have numerous health benefits. A recent study just published in February of this year examined the effectiveness of Pycnogenol® for controlling cardiovascular disease risk factors and improving symptoms associated with the menopausal transition .
For this study, 70 women were randomly assigned to consume either a placebo supplement or a supplement containing 100 mg Pycnogenol® per day for 8 weeks. In addition to taking the supplements for 8 weeks, the women were instructed to participate in a peri-menopausal best management plan that included exercise, adequate amounts of rest and a healthy diet.
In regards to peri-menopausal symptoms, supplementation with Pycnogenol® helped relieve hot flashes, reduce night sweats, improve menstrual regularity and improve mood compared to the placebo supplement.
Previous studies have also reported that Pycnogenol® improves symptoms associated with the menopausal transition. One study showed that 30 mg Pycnogenol® taken twice daily for 3 months improved hot flashes, insomnia, and the overall perimenopausal symptom severity score . An earlier study reported that supplementation with Pycnogenol® (100 mg/day for 8 weeks) improved hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, sex drive, and vaginal dryness compared to the control group .
In addition to these improvements in peri-menopausal symptoms, supplementation with Pycnogenol® also helped normalize several cardiovascular disease risk factors in this new study. Homocysteine and C-reactive protein levels were significantly decreased by 43% and 60%, respectively. Plasma free radicals, markers of oxidative stress in the body, were also substantially reduced (-22%). Additionally, modest improvements in blood levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and fasting blood glucose were observed with Pycnogenol® supplementation. These improvements were not observed in the women taking the placebo supplement.
In addition to the disruptive effects of menopausal symptoms during this transition, menopause brings with it an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. This new study along with earlier studies indicate that Pycnogenol® can be one way to improve one’s menopausal lifestyle while supporting better heart health.
- Luzzi R, Belcaro G, Hosoi M, Feragalli B, Cornelli U, Dugall M, Ledda A. Normalization of cardiovascular disease risk factors in peri-menopausal women with Pycnogenol®. Minerva Ginecol 2017; 69(1):29-34
- Kohama T, Negami M. Effect of low-dose French maritime pine bark extract on climacteric syndrome in 170 perimenopausal women: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Reprod Med 2013; 58(1-2):39-46.
- Errichi S, Bottari A, Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Hosoi M, Cornelli U, Dugall M, Ledda A, Feragalli B. Supplementation with Pycnogenol® improves signs and symptoms of menopausal transition. Panminerva Med 2011; 53(3 Suppl 1):65-70.