Pine Bark Extract: Scurvy Remedy and Nutritional Supplement

by Jodee on October 1, 2010

Consumers are turning to diet supplements for optimal health. Pine bark extract is one of them, and it is prized for its antioxidant qualities. It is made from the bark of the Landes (or maritime) pine. This product has been patented in France and is marketed under the name, “Pycnogenol.”

History of Pine Bark Extract

Pine bark extract has been credited with saving the life of French explorer Jacques Cartier’s crew. In 1534, Cartier’s ship was stranded in ice near Quebec City, Canada. The crew had become ill with scurvy, which is caused by insufficient levels of Vitamin C in the diet. Symptoms of scurvy include spots on the skin, as well as spongy gums and tooth loss. If left untreated, scurvy can be fatal.

The crew was cured of scurvy when they took the advice of a Native American who suggested that they drink a tea made from pine bark and needles. The antioxidant properties in the pine bark make it easier for the body to absorb Vitamin C.

Pine Bark Extract for Health

Antioxidants help to repair and protect the cells in your body. Vitamins A, C and E are sources of antioxidants. The antioxidants in pine bark extract are called “oligomeric proanthocyanidins (“OPCs”), and are a very powerful variety.

Antioxidants protect against free radicals, which are the result of exposure to pollutants in the environment. The free radicals contribute to aging and cause tissue damage.

Free radicals have been linked to heart disease, but the results of a recent study conducted by researchers at Stanford University found that taking this supplement does not affect the risk of heart disease. The results of smaller studies have indicated that pine bark extract may be helpful in reducing high blood pressure and aid in weight loss, but other research has found no such health benefits for people taking the supplement.

OPCs can help to reduce inflammation in the body. It has been used as a natural remedy for edema (excess fluid in the body) and varicose veins. People living with arthritis may find relief from their symptoms by consuming pine bark extract.

This supplement can also help to improve the health and appearance of the skin. Pine bark extract is recommended as an anti-aging product.

Where to Find Pine Bark Extract

You can buy pine bark extract in health food stores, as well as from online retailers. It is available in a capsule and a powder form. The usual dose of this supplement is 50 mg, and the supplement can be taken between meals or with food.

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