Pycnogenol is an active ingredient extracted from the bark of the maritime pine Pinus Pinaster, which grows on the southwestern coast of France (Simpson et al, Front Pharmacol, 2019). Pycnogenol is characterized by a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action thanks to its high content in phenolic compounds. So let's try to understand all the possible applications of pycnogenol, its uses and any warnings and side effects.
Pycnogenol against wrinkles
The fine particles released by traffic and domestic pollution and the sun's rays are a source of stress for the skin, cause inflammation and inhibit the synthesis of collagen, favoring the aging processes (Park et al, Int J Mol Sci, 2018). Pycnogenol protects the skin from pollution damage, fights free radicals and promotes the synthesis of hyaluronic acid and collagen, plumping the skin from the inside (Marini et al, Skin Pharmacol Physiol, 2021 - Zhao et al, Skin Pharmacol Physiol, 2021). Not only that, pycnogenol counteracts photoaging and reduces skin hyperpigmentation (Grether Beck et al, Skin Pharmacol Physiol, 2016).
Pycnogenol protects the skin from the cold
Pincogenol also protects the skin from changes in humidity and temperature associated with seasonal changes, preventing dehydration and stimulating skin elasticity (Zhao et al, Skin Pharmacol Physiol, 2021). Pycnogenol is useful if you suffer from skin irritation, redness and rosacea in the cold months.
Pycnogenol for cognitive function
Pycnogenol has been shown to support cognitive function. In young adults, the intake of 100 mg of pycnogenol extract per day for two months led to an increase in memory, attention and planning and processing skills (Simpson et al, Front Pharmacol, 2019). Not only that, pycnogenol extracts are considered capable of preventing the accumulation of proteins in brain tissues and thus counteracting diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's (Iravani et al, Res Pharm Sci, 2011).
Pycnogenol and recurrent cystitis
Pycnogenol, thanks to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory action, helps prevent recurrent cystitis. Two months of taking 150 mg of pycnogenol extracts made it possible to completely eliminate the infection in all study participants. Against cystitis, pycnogenol has shown even higher efficacy than cranberry extracts (Ledda et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2021).
Pycnogenol and circulation
Pycnogenol improves circulation and helps to counteract swollen ankles and the sensation of heavy legs (Iravani et al, Res Pharm Sci, 2011).
Pycnogenol against lung damage caused by the new coronavirus
The combined action of pycnogenol and gotu kola, or centella asiatica, extracts has allowed to improve lung health and reduce the risk of developing pulmonary fibrosis, one of the possible complications following an infection of new coronavirus (Cesarone et al, Minerva Med, 2021).
Pycnogenol, how to take it
Pycnogenol, taken orally in cycles of two to three months and in the form of tablets of dry extracts, is considered safe and generally well tolerated. Undesirable effects such as gastrointestinal problems, headache and dizziness have rarely been observed. However, to avoid these effects, it is recommended to take pycnogenol with food (Simpson et al, Front Pharmacol, 2019). Avoid pycnogenol if you are taking antiplatelet drugs, have diabetes and are pregnant. As a consequenze of the hypotensive action of pycnogenol, ask your doctor for advice if you are taking blood pressure medications. Alternatively, for the anti-aging and anti-wrinkle action, you can resort to topical applications of pycnogenol-based serums that can be purchased in specialized stores and online.