Pycnogenol®, a patented and widely known oral supplement with an extensive clinical research history, has also emerged as a promising supplement for healthy aging and longevity.
Sold under the trademarked name Pycnogenol®, the standardized formula is derived from French maritime pine bark and is widely recognized for its cardiovascular health benefits and ability to inhibit inflammation, supporting whole-body wellness and longevity.
As research continues to evaluate the potential of Pycnogenol® to impact several biological systems, increasing evidence suggests the use of the supplement may help with age-related conditions such as certain metabolic disorders, menopause-related symptoms, skin aging, and even cognitive decline. The pine bark extract appears to have therapeutic effects that suppress inflammation and oxidative stress protecting against multiple degenerative processes.
Pycnogenol®’s Anti-Aging Benefits
Pycnogenol’s® patented production process ensures the retention of pine bark’s potency and quality. As a result, the compound is able to retain a diverse profile of bioactive flavonoids, such as phenolic acids and procyanidins, which provide far-reaching antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and collagen-protective effects.
By combating oxidative stress, inflammation, and tissue degradation, Pycnogenol® has demonstrated the potential for:
- Mitigating cardiovascular risks
- Promoting skin health and slowing skin aging
- Preserving cognitive faculties
- Reducing joint discomfort
- Relieving menopausal symptoms
Mitigating Cardiovascular Risks
Clinical studies have demonstrated that the active ingredients in Pycnogenol® can normalize blood pressure, optimize platelet function, and improve both blood lipid and blood glucose profiles, thereby enhancing microcirculation.
Pycnogenol® was studied in healthy patients and individuals with cardiovascular risks, where it was administered as an add-on drug to prescription cardiovascular medication. Results showed that Pycnogenol® could enhance endothelial function, normalize blood pressure levels, favorably modulate lipids, and reduce platelet aggregation in both groups.
Patients with an existing history of hypertension, dyslipidemia, and other cardiovascular risks may particularly experience additional cardiovascular health benefits, especially when combining Pycnogenol® with prescription cardiovascular medications.
More clinical research is, however, needed to establish Pycnogenol’s® efficacy as a compound capable of preventing cardiovascular disease.
Promoting Skin Health and Slowing Skin Aging
Recently labeled as an “under-the-radar antioxidant that’s picking up speed in skincare” by Elle India, Pycnogenol® has become a key ingredient in anti-aging formulations praised for being gentle, all-natural, and applicable to all skin types.
The pine bark extract has been shown to inhibit sun-induced aging by limiting UV damage, improving skin elasticity, and decelerating skin aging by improving collagen protection, controlling pigmentation, and limiting acne-causing bacterial growth.
Studies have found that oral supplementation can increase skin elasticity, reduce skin fatigue by stimulating new collagen and hyaluronic acid synthesis while limiting enzyme activity that contributes to the breakdown of collagen and elastin.
Both topical and oral Pycnogenol® can help promote skin health. Research shared by iHerb indicates that six weeks of Pycnogenol® supplementation increased skin hydration by 8% in those with normal skin types and by 21% in those with dry skin. Flavangenol®, another drug using pine bark extract as a primary ingredient, also improved skin health in 112 healthy women with aging-related skin problems such as age spots and other sun-induced skin damage.
Patients taking Pycnogenol® have reported improved skin hydration, elasticity, and smoothness.
Preserving Mental Acuity
Pycnogenol® can play a role in preserving mental acuity by preventing or delaying the onset of neurodegenerative disorders that affect almost 20% of the elderly population worldwide.
Recent studies have shown that Pycnogenol® supplementation in elderly patients can improve memory, decision-making faculties, concentration, and mental processing speed. Research results have indicated that cognitive benefits were reported by both healthy individuals as well as individuals already experiencing mild age-related cognitive impairment.
Pycnogenol® can provide these mental acuity benefits by increasing blood flow to the brain and promoting neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. It also reduces oxidative stress and prevents free radical damage and neuro-inflammation, all critical factors that prevent neurodegenerative disorders.
Relieving Menopausal Symptoms
Several clinical studies have indicated that Pycnogenol® can improve climacteric symptoms in menopausal patients, such as tiredness, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, memory and concentration issues, and sleep disorders. Though more substantive research is needed in this space, the potential of Pycnogenol® for alleviating common and cumbersome menopausal symptoms is promising.
Furthermore, a recent double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled study reported that Pycnogenol® supplementation improved hair density in menopausal women. The new results revealed oral supplementation of Pycnogenol® significantly increased hair density, decreased transepidermal water loss in scalp skin, and optimized resting flux of the scalp.
Pycnogenol® is considered a safe and well-tolerated supplement for adults for up to 6 months of use. However, it may stimulate the immune system and should, therefore, be used cautiously in patients with immune disorders. Other interactions are possible; a complete list of potential side effects can be found here.
The pine bark extract’s pharmacological effects provide many anti-aging defenses. Pycnogenol® exhibits cardio-protective, dermatological, neurological, endocrine, and joint benefits that help maintain healthspan. Though more research is still needed, current studies suggest Pycnogenol® is a safe, natural supplement that may help defy the years by targeting multiple mechanisms of aging.