What is Pycnogenol?
Pycnogenol is a product derived from the bark of Pinus pinaster tree (French maritime pine tree). Active ingredients in Pycnogenol, called pycnogenols, can be also extracted from other sources such as peanut skin, grape seed and witch hazel bark. Pycnogenol has several health benefits but it has side effects as well.
It claims to be all natural and helpful in treating various medical conditions. It is also active ingredient in many dietary supplements.
Since Pycnogenol has various active ingredients, it has various effects in the body. Pycnogenol has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It may improve blood flow and stimulate immune system.
Pycnogenol is used for treating number of conditions. These medical conditions include: circulation problems, allergies, asthma, high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, muscle soreness, osteoarthritis, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, endometriosis (female reproductive system disease), menopausal symptoms, painful menstruations (dysmenenorrhea), erectile dysfunction, gingival bleeding and plaque, pain, retinopathy (an eye disease), leg cramps, diabetic microangiopathy, pain in late pregnancy, platelet aggregation, melasma (chloasma), sunburn, venous leg ulcers and blood clots in the vein (deep vein thrombosis).
This medication is used for preventing stroke, varicose veins and heart disease. Apart from that Pycnogenol is used for slowing process of aging and maintaining healthy skin since it apparently strengthens collagen and elastin in the body. Additionally, Pycnogenol may improve male fertility and slightly decrease blood pressure.
Pycnogenol Side Effects
Pycnogenol is possible safe medication since pycnogenol side effects have not been extensively studied. If you take Pycnogenol for treatment or as a supplement you might experience headaches, nausea, dizziness, gut problems and mouth ulcers.
To reduce or avoid these side effects of Pycnogenol it is recommended to take this supplement with meals or after meals.
Severe side effects are only theoretically possible. They include increased risk of bleeding, internal hemorrhage and risk of low blood sugar in diabetics.
Allergic reaction to Pycnogenol is another possibility. Signs of allergic reaction include rash, hives, itching, wheezing, trouble breathing, and swallowing and mouth or throat swelling.
Precautions and Warnings
It is believed that Pycnogenol may be safe in late pregnancy but pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding should stay away from Pycnogenol in order to avoid any damages to fetus or infant.
Given that Pycnogenol may cause the immune system to be more active, this medication might increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. You should avoid using Pycnogenol if you suffer from any of auto-immune disease such as: multiple sclerosis (MS), systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus), rheumatoid arthritis or other.