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Pycnogenol® (French Maritime Pine Bark Extract) Shown To Improve Endothelial Function And Reduce Oxidative Stress In New Clinical Trial

HOBOKEN, N.J., June 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The body's first line of defense against coronary artery disease, the most common type of heart disease, are endothelial cells. These cells serve as the "traffic cop" for blood flow, directing blood to the appropriate area of the body such as the heart, brain, muscles or digestive system to support the body's actions. A study published in the January 2012 issue of European Heart Journal found that natural supplement Pycnogenol® (pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree and natural solution for heart health, improves endothelial function in patients with stable coronary artery disease. 

"When coronary arteries are narrowed or blocked by plaque build-up, oxygen-rich blood cannot reach the heart muscle, often leading to a heart attack," says Dr. Frank Enseleit, the lead study researcher. "The results of this study show for the first time that Pycnogenol® significantly improves endothelial function and blood flow in patients with coronary heart disease."

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study was carried out at the Clinic for Cardiology at the University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland. The study investigated 23 patients with stable coronary artery disease, as documented by coronary angiography, nuclear imaging or positive stress test.

Patients were assigned to two groups. Patients in Group One received Pycnogenol® (200 mg/d) for eight weeks, then took placebo for another eight weeks. Group Two received the opposite sequence of placebo first, followed by eight weeks with Pycnogenol®. Before and after the eight weeks of treatment, blood samples were taken and the flow-mediated dilatation of the brachial arteries in the upper arm was established.

After eight weeks of treatment with Pycnogenol® the study found:

  • Pycnogenol® increased artery dilation by 32 percent, a significant change, while it remained unchanged in the placebo group
  • Pycnogenol® significantly reduced plasma-8-isoprostaries, an index of oxidative stress
  • Pycnogenol® demonstrated significant effects on a critical measure of endothelial function, reducing plasma levels of endothelin-1

"The balance between endothelial function and dysfunction plays an important role in the transition from a stable to an unstable disease state. As such, the evaluation of endothelial function has emerged as an important end point in cardiovascular research," says Dr. Frank Enseleit. "After Pycnogenol® usage, we were able to identify a significant improvement of endothelial function in individuals who depend on medications as a result of their heart disease. Pycnogenol® appears to help restore a body's own functions in flow-mediated arterial dilatation."

This groundbreaking study further strengthens Pycnogenol®'s already large arsenal of cardiovascular health benefits. Past clinical trials have shown beneficial effects of Pycnogenol® on chronic inflammation as well as cardiovascular risk factors including hypertension, cholesterol and platelet function. This new study also provides further evidence on the safety of Pycnogenol® for patients taking cardiovascular medicines.

About Pycnogenol®

Pycnogenol® is a natural plant extract originating from the bark of the maritime pine that grows along the coast of southwest France and is found to contain a unique combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids, which offer extensive natural health benefits.  The extract has been widely studied for the past 40 years and has more than 280 published studies and review articles ensuring safety and efficacy as an ingredient.  Today, Pycnogenol® is available in more than 700 dietary supplements, multi-vitamins and health products worldwide.  For more information, visit

About Horphag Research (USA) Inc.

Horphag Research (USA) Inc., based in Hoboken, New Jersey, is the North American distributor for Pycnogenol® (pic-noj-en-all) brand French maritime pine bark extract on behalf of Horphag Research. Pycnogenol® is a registered trademark of Horphag Research Ltd., Guernsey, and is the recipient of the 2008 Frost & Sullivan North American Health Ingredients Excellence in Research Award.  Horphag Research (USA) has the exclusive rights to market and sell Pycnogenol® in North America and benefits from more than 40 years of scientific research assuring the safety and efficacy of Pycnogenol® as a dietary supplement.  For more information about Pycnogenol® visit

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SOURCE Horphag Research (USA) Inc.
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