Let’s begin with asthma. Two studies illustrate the possibilities:
– One was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study in which 26 asthmatic patients were given either a maximum of 200 mg a day of Pycnogenol or placebo for the first period of four weeks and then crossed over to the alternate treatment for the next four weeks. All Pycnogenol-treated patients responded favorably in contrast to placebo treatment. Moreover, Pycnogenol lowered the chemical, “leukotrienes” responsible for asthma attacks.
– A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 60 patients aged six to 18 years old, was conducted over three months during which patients were randomly assigned to receive either Pycnogenol or placebo. Pycnogenol treatment led to significantly better improvement in the lung function and asthma symptoms. Moreover, Pycnogenol group either reduced or discontinued the use of asthma drugs. Pycnogenol lowered leukotrienes as well.
One study involved a four-week treatment period followed by one week of no treatment or observation period. The treatment was four 50 mg capsules of Pycnogenol. The first studied group included 66 healthy subjects in whom the number of muscle cramps was recorded two weeks before entering the study and during the fourth and fifth week.
Pycnogenol led to a reduction of muscle cramps from 4.8 a week to 1.3 at week four. In patients with chronic venous insufficiency, the number of muscle cramps decreased from 6.3 to 2.6; in athletes from 8.6 to 2.4. During week, five without, treatment, reduction of cramps was maintained in all three groups. The study concluded that Pycnogenol can prevent cramps, muscular pain at rest, and pain after/during exercise healthy people or those with diabetes or claudication.
A good-quality study was conducted in 77 diabetic patients who received their standard antidiabetic treatment along with 100 mg Pycnogenol a day or placebo for 12 weeks. In the Pycnogenol-treated group, blood sugar levels were significantly lowered as compared to those not on Pycnogenol. Pycnogenol also treatment improved blood vessel function.
In another good study, 48 patients with diabetes and high blood pressure on ACE inhibitors were randomized to receive either Pycnogenol 125 mg daily or placebo for 12 weeks. Pycnogenol treatment lowered the ACE-inhibitor dose required to control blood pressure, and lowered fasting glucose levels as well. Score one for diabetes control and fewer risk factors for the heart.
Diabetes-associated small blood vessel changes is the leading cause of diabetic ulcers. Can Pycnogenol help?
A study with four groups of 30 patients each were studied: (1) systemic Pycnogenol and local application; (2) local Pycnogenol only; (3) oral Pycnogenol and (4) medications only (control). The results showed that the combination of local and systemic applications of Pycnogenol were the best in terms of ulcer healing even though local application of Pycnogenol also speeded up ulcer healing.
Thirty patients with diabetic ulcers were treated with 150 mg Pycnogenol daily for four weeks and another group of 30 comparable patients received no treatment. after four weeks of treatment, Pycnogenol-treated patients showed definite evidence of improved in small blood vessel functions and circulation as compared to those not treated.