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The Promise of Pycnogenol, from Body Talk Magazine, Spring '96

Pycnogenol’s powerful antioxidants have made research news lately. The most visible form (from the standpoint of publicity) is an extract from the bark of the Maritime Pine tree.’ The commercial version, known as Pycnogenol (Procyanidolic Oligomers or PCO) is a registered trademark of Horphag Research Ltd. of Switzerland.

A symposium in Bordeaux, France, (1990) highlighted the benefits of this exciting nutrient. Dr. David White of the University of Nottingham, England, referred to it as "the atherosclerosis antidote." In fact, this bioflavonoid-rich preparation appears to assist recovery from sports injuries, while working with Vitamin C, by reinforcing capillary walls and strengthening collagen in the capillaries. This results in a reduction in fluid transfer through the capillary walls, helping to prevent excessive bleeding when injuries occur.

The story does not end here, Although the public perception of Pycnogenol is high, the research actually shows PCOs from grape seeds are the preferred source. In fact, the majority of published clinical and experimental studies over the past 20 years have examined the pape seed extract, not the pine bark extract, according to Michael T. Murray, N.D., a distinguished nutritional researcher. Unlike pine bark., the skin of the grape seed contains the gallic esters of proanthocyanidins – the most active free radical scavengers.

PCOs are safe. They are non-toxic and non-mutagenic. They appear to be especially effective in crossing the blood-brain barrier to provide anti-oxidant protection to central nervous system tissue and dysfunctional neurons. French research suggests PCOs may even be useful in treatment of dementia and other syndromes of the brain! Skin appearance may also be enhanced when the PCO binds to subcutaneous layers of the skin, realigning them to create more youthful facial structures and enhancing elasticity of connective tissue, which may aid in the reduction of wrinkles. (1)

As a part of a program of nutritional supplementation, flavonoids (2) such as PCO antioxidants make good sense for a preventive strategy. You will find both grape seed and grape skin extract, as well as Pycnogenol, in our products. As new research emerges, our formulas will continue to incorporate these latest advances in nutrient knowledge,

Remember – Body Wise products are evolutionary as well as revolutionary!

*We all have Canada to thank for PCO! In 1535, the French explorer Jacques Cartier crossed the Atlantic to encounter the frigid St. Lawrence River near Quebec. Stranded in ice and unable to sail, his 110 men soon succumbed to scurvy. Bleeding gums and lost teeth were the order of the day for these stranded sailors, 25 of whom died. The Indians of Quebec came to the rescue with a tea made of needles from a Canadian Pine tree. Drinking it, the men recovered – within days! Contemporary research validates the powerof the Vitamin C and unique flavonoids contained in this tea. Four hundred years later, a French researcher, Jacques Masquelier, on assignment at the University of Quebec, found Cartier’s book, Voyages au Canada, and incorporated the same research using French, rather than Canadian Pine trees.

(1) Tixier, J. M.; Godeau, G., Robert, A. M.; Hornbebck, W., "Evidence by In Vivo and In Vitro Studies that Binding of Pycnogenols to Elastin Affects its Rate of Degradation by Elastases," Biochemical Pharmcology 33(24): 3933-3939, 1994.

(2) Hertog, Michael, G. L., "Dietary Antioxidant Flavinoids and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: The Zutphen Elderly Study," The Lancet 1993; 342: 1007-11.