Pycnogenol and Proanthocyanidins
Most people probably have not heard of pycnogenol. But I’m sure you have heard of the heart health benefit of red wine. “Ahhh”. But, wait a minute. It’s not that simple.
Let me back up a little.
Pycnogenol is not the substance or chemical in red wine that is linked to lower cardiac disease risk. In fact, it is a US registered trademark of the maritime pine tree bark extract from France.
So, how are pycnogenol and red wine related?
Simple. The active ingredient in pycnogenol is proanthocyanidins, also known as OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidins). The same flavonoids found in red wine. It is proanthocyanidins in red wine that helps to reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and varicose veins.
Proanthocyanidins are also found in many other plants beside maritime pine bark. It can be found in apples, cinnamon, aronia fruit, cocoa beans, grape seed, grape skin and red wines. However, bilberry, cranberry, black currant, green tea, black tea, and other plants also contain these flavonoids. Cocoa beans contain the highest concentrations.
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HOW DOES IT WORK?
Proanthocyanidins’ antioxidant effects are 20 times more potent than Vitamin C and 50 times more potent than Vitamin E.
Proanthocyanidins found in French maritime pine bark (or pycnogenol) and grape seed extract work directly to strengthen the blood vessel walls to improve blood flow and oxygen supply to the tissues.
In children with ADHD, this mean better blood flow and oxygen supply to the ADHD brain, which is thought to have a poor blood flow.
It can potentially stimulate the immune system to help with detoxification, which is an area that children with ADHD needed assistance with. As an antioxidant, pycnogenol reduces oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals from the environment. These free radicals damage cells and can contribute to many diseases.
Pycnogenol is also used for treating circulation problems, allergies, asthma, ringing in the ears, high blood pressure, muscle soreness, pain, osteoarthritis, diabetes, endometriosis, menopausal symptoms, painful menstrual periods, erectile dysfunction (ED), and retinopathy.
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