You wouldn’t think that kidney disease and erectile dysfunction have anything in common. But according to two new studies from the Gabriele D’Annunzio University in Italy, Pine bark extract benefits both conditions.
Pine bark extract is taken from the inner bark of certain pine trees. It’s rich in oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC) compounds, which are powerful antioxidants. It also has anti-inflammatory effects and numerous studies have shown that it supports cardiovascular health by promoting healthy blood pressure and circulation.
Pine bark extract supports normal kidney function in hypertensive patients and lowers high blood pressure
A study published in the March 2010 issue of the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics shows that Pine tree extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, counteracts kidney damage caused by hypertension by lowering urinary proteins and improving blood flow to the kidneys.
An estimated 17% of adults in the U.S. suffer from chronic kidney disease, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. A leading cause of kidney disease is hypertension, which affects one out of every four U.S. adults.1 Chronically high blood pressure damages capillaries of the kidneys, which in turn affects the organ’s ability to filter waste and remove excess fluids from the body.
The randomized, controlled study included 55 hypertensive patients with early signs of impaired kidney function. The patients were divided into two groups. Both groups were treated with the anti-hypertensive medication Ramipril and one group of 29 patients took Pine tree extract in addition to the Ramipril.
All patients had an average urinary protein level of 89 mg per 24-hour period, significantly exceeding the 30 mg measure, up to which kidney function is considered sufficient.
After six months of treatment with Ramipril, average protein levels decreased to 64 mg per 24-hour period, remaining well above an acceptable level. The group taking Pine bark extract and Ramipril had an average protein level of 39 mg per 24-hour period, a decrease of nearly double compared with the group taking just Ramipril.
Additionally, the patients who took Pine bark extract and Ramipril had a significant decrease in blood pressure. Pine bark extract also lowered the patients’ elevated levels of the inflammatory marker CRP (C-reactive protein) to a healthy level. CRP is a blood protein associated with the risk of heart attack and stroke. In both groups, CRP levels decreased from 2.1 to 1.8 with Ramipril and from 2.2 to 1.1 with the Ramipril-Pine bark extract combination.23
This study used a Pine bark extract called Pycnogenol®, which is a brand name for a particular pine bark extract that grows in France. However, all pine bark extracts contain the same active compounds, which include the powerful antioxidants oligomeric proanthocyanidin compounds (OPCs).
Pine bark extract proves to be a male sex enhancer
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is often associated with coronary artery disease. In fact, up to two-thirds of all patients with coronary artery disease have ED. So it makes sense that if Pine bark extract supports a healthy cardiovascular system that it would help support the ability to achieve a full erection, which is dependent on healthy blood flow.
A new study shows that it may be prudent to kill two birds with one stone. Treat your erectile function while you’re trying to prevent coronary artery disease. Because according to some researchers, the clinical consequences of erectile dysfunction frequently manifest two to three years before the consequences of coronary atherosclerosis.4
- Centers for Disease Control. Prevalence of Chronic Kidney Disease and Associated Risk Factors.
- Cesarone MR, Belcaro G, Stuard S, Schönlau F, Di Renzo A, Grossi MG, Dugall M, Cornelli U, Cacchio M, Gizzi G, Pellegrini L. Kidney flow and function in hypertension: protective effects of pycnogenol in hypertensive participants–a controlled study. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Mar;15(1):41-6. Epub 2010 Jan 22.
- “Pine bark extract ‘reduces BP, counteracts kidney damage caused by hypertension’.” Asian News International. 2010. HighBeam Research. (March 19, 2010).
- Jackson G. Prevention of cardiovascular disease by the early identification of erectile dysfunction. Int J Impot Res 2008 Dec;20 Suppl 2:S9-14.
- Ledda A, Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Dugall M, Schönlau F. Investigation of a complex plant extract for mild to moderate erectile dysfunction in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-arm study. BJU Int. 2010 Feb 22. [Epub ahead of print]