French Tree Bark Reduces Osteoarthritis Pain, Increases Flexibility
Posted Jan 17 2011 5:49pm
Pycnogenol, an extract from the Maritime pine tree of the southern coast of France, has been believed to have positive impacts on several conditions. As far back as 1534, French explorer Jacques Cartier and his crew drank teas using the pine needles to relieve scurvy and other medical conditions.
Since then there have been numerous studies that have determined that pycnogenol has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Recently there have been studies related to pycnogenol’s impact on osteoarthritis. One study, conducted by researchers from Bayerische Julius Maximilians Unversity in Germany, looked into the ability of pycnogenol to inhibit the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes that are know to be responsible for inflammation and pain. The initial trial involving supplementation of 200 mg per day found that over half of the participants reductions in COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes by 14% to 16.5%.
This was followed by another small test group that was provided 300 mg supplements to determine the rate at which the pycnogenol became available for the body to use. Thirty minutes after taking the supplement, the COX-1 enzyme was inhibited by 22.5% and the COX-2 enzyme was inhibited by 15%.
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The latest study was recently published in the journal Nutrition Research. This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial which involved 37 patients with knee osteoarthritis.
In this study, the participants were given either 150 mg per day supplements of pycnogenol or a placebo for 3 months. Based on the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) Osteoarthritis Index, the participants receiving the supplement experienced pain and physical function improvements after 60 and 90 days. The group receiving the placebo reported no improvement.
In addition, those in the group receiving the supplement were able to reduce their reliance on other pain and COX-2 inhibitor pills in terms on the number of pills and number of days. The placebo group reported a marked increase in the number of days and pills taken.
Pycnogenol is widely available and is currently used on over 400 dietary supplements, multi-vitamins and health products. Here is an example: