Pine Bark Extract Keeps the Blood Flowing!
What is pine bark extract?
Pine bark extract is extracted from the inner bark of certain European pine trees. Although Pycnogenol® is the most studied pine bark extract, all pine bark extracts contain the same active compounds, which include the powerful antioxidants oligomeric proanthocyanidin compounds (OPCs).
Why take pine bark extract?
Pine bark extract:
- Helps strengthen blood vessels and increase blood flow from
- tiny vessels to tissues
- Improves cardiovascular health and increases circulation
- Supports healthy blood pressure
- Supports brain function
- Reduces leg and ankle edema
- Improves delivery of oxygen to cells
Who might benefit from pine bark extract?
Everyone. No one is immune from the potential damage of free radicals and oxidation.
Individuals who have compromised circulatory systems will especially benefit from taking pine bark extract, as well as:
- Stroke victims
- Those with varicose veins
- Women who use oral contraceptives
- Those with arthritis
- Others with general cardiovascular problems
- Children with ADD or ADHD
What makes pine bark extract so special?
It’s the oligomeric proanthocyanidins, which are a class of flavonoids that a French researcher named Jacques Masquelier discovered in the 1950s. Masquelier was in Canada doing research on flavonols, which he initially found in peanut skins, and their ability to improve circulation and repair tissue in the body. Later he found that pine trees growing on the coastline of southern France not only contained an abundance of the OPCs, but that they were also the most efficient source, since only warm water and pressure are required to extract the proanthocyanidins from the bark.
OPCs contain some of the most potent antioxidants available
You’ve heard the terms antioxidants and free radicals a million times. But what are they exactly?
Free radicals, also called oxidants, are atoms with an unpaired electron. They are desperately in search of a mate and furiously bump into other atoms trying to find another electron to pair up with.
Free radicals are produced as a result of exposure to ultraviolet radiation, pollution and environmental toxins such as smoke, eating unhealthy foods like deep-fried foods (which are often cooked in rancid oil), lack of exercise, illness and stress.
Their chief danger comes from the damage free radicals can do when they react with DNA or the cell membrane. Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs, and the end result can be a weakened immune system, chronic illness, disease and ultimately death.
That’s where antioxidants come to the rescue and why we all don’t just keel over and die from the multiple free radical attacks our cells get every day. Antioxidants are molecules that interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction they cause before vital molecules are damaged. Without antioxidants our bodies would rust from the inside out, in a way similar to how metal rusts after exposure to a barrage of salt or the elements.
Antioxidants found in brightly colored fruits and veggies, and provided by pine bark extract, diminish the destructive power of free radicals and may help repair damage that has already been done. Antioxidants are also thought to have a role in slowing the aging process and helping prevent chronic illness and disease including heart disease, stroke, arthritis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
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This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult with a physician before embarking on a dietary supplement program.
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