A study published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine in February this year showed that women who take a supplement containing the natural plant bark extract â€œPycnogenolâ€ found relief from their menopausal or perimenopausalÂ symptoms.
About PerimenopausalÂ and Menopausal Symptoms:
Perimenopause is the transition period women experience just before the menopause.Â It lasts approximately four years and many unpleasant symptoms can be attributed to it, including hot flashes, insomnia, night sweats, palpitations, depression, anxiety and memory problems.
PycnogenolÂ is the US registered trademark name for the product derived from the pine bark of a tree known as Pinus pinaster (or more commonly known as the Maritime Pine Tree).
Pycnogenol is a unique flavonoid extracted from the bark of the trees, which are grown exclusively in Les Landes de Gascogne forest along the coast of southwest France.Â The forest is natural and unspoilt: the trees remain free from both pesticides and herbicides.
Pycnogenol is found to contain procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids, which offer extensive natural health benefits.Â The extract has been proven to possess powerful antioxidant properties, plus it can protect and rebuild collagen, amongst other extensive benefits.
Pycnogenol has been studied extensively over the last 40 years, and more than 280 academic studies have been published providing the extractâ€™s efficacy and safety as an ingredient.
About the Study:
The study was conducted in Japan, where 170 perimenopausalÂ women were examined.Â The women were split into two groups.Â Half were given 30mg of Pycnogenol twice per day for twelve weeks.Â The remaining participants were instructed to take a placebo capsule.
The Journal of Reproductive Medicine described the study as a â€œrandomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel-group clinical trialâ€.
The aim of the study was to identify the different menopausal symptoms that responded well to the supplement.
Dr. Takafumi Kohama, the lead researcher from the Japanese Keiju Medical Center who ran the clinical trial, concluded that the supplement minimized climacteric symptoms of menopausal women:
â€œWe found that PycnogenolÂ®Â can aid in relief of a number of [menopausal] symptoms, which helps improve the quality of women’s lives during this transitional periodâ€.
In particular, it was found that a low dosage of Pycnogenol was most effective at lowering hot flashes and nighttime sweating symptoms.
Dr. Kohama explains the supplement can lead to vascular relaxation, which helps the body to rid itself of excess heat that can lead to hot flashes and nighttime sweats, both troublesome symptoms for women experiencing the menopause.
â€œA natural approachâ€
Dr. Kohama said the study, which confirms findings from two previous studies on the supplement, shows the supplement provides women with a natural way to manage their symptoms:
“These findings leave little doubt about the benefit of PycnogenolÂ®Â for women interested in controlling climacteric symptoms with a more natural approach. Our study is the first to provide evidence for the safety and efficacy of PycnogenolÂ®Â in perimenopausal women.”Â
In addition, Pycnogenol can soothe symptoms without disrupting hormone levels:
â€œThe evidence for non-hormonal effects of PycnogenolÂ®Â may be welcomed by women who wish to soothe menopausal symptoms without using supplements containing soy, kudzu, red clover and other herbals to exert hormonal activity.â€
Other uses of Pycnogenol:
Today, Pycnogenol is found in a range of dietary supplements, multivitamins and health products around the world.Â It has a range of proven benefits:
- Itâ€™s a natural anti-inflammatory
- It stimulates the generation and collagen
- It stimulates hyaluronic acid
- It can maintain healthy circulate by improving blood flow
- Pycnogenol helps maintain healthy skin, protecting against free radicals produced by UV rays, stress and environmental damage.
- Pycnogenol helps to maintain healthy joint mobility
- Pycnogenol can help maintain healthy eyesight
â€”Â Â and much more!
(Source:Â Pycnogenol.com – the official website from Horphag Research.)
In addition, Rosemary Ellis, the editor-in-chief of Good Housekeeping magazine reveals in a video interview that she loves the natural supplement: she swears it helps you keep your skin looking younger and more supple.
PycnogenolÂ is currently growing in popularly with athletes too, as the supplement is scientifically proven to relax blood vessels and improve blood flow.Â There are dozens of journal articles substantiating this claim.
PycnogenolÂ is clear a super supplement, helping improve blood flow to muscle tissue and thus easing cramps.
But are there any dangers to be wary of with the supplement?Â Any concerns we should be aware of?
WebMD.com say the supplement is â€œpossibly safeâ€ when taken in doses of 50mg to 450mg daily for up to six months.
However, associated side effects have included dizziness, gut problems, headaches and mouth ulcers.
Although preliminary research suggests Pycnogenol is OK to take in late pregnancy, the research is not yet extensive enough to be considered reliable.Â As such, until more is known, pregnant women are advised to avoid the supplement.
Those with â€˜auto-immuneâ€™ diseases (such as MS, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis) should also steer clear from the supplement, as it is known to increase immune system activity, which could aggravate associated symptoms.
The supplement is available at health food shops world-wide and online, including from http://www.naturesbest.co.uk/