Answer:

Pycnogenol®, a branded form of pine bark extract, is promoted for a number of uses -- including improving circulation, cognition, joint pain, vision and symptoms of prostate enlargement -- due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Clinical evidence shows Pycnogenol may be beneficial in a number of different conditions, and appears to be quite safe, although certain people and those taking particular medications should use it with caution. See the full answer >>

Pine bark extract contains flavonoid compounds called oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs), which are thought to be responsible for some of its effects. Unfortunately, the current method of testing for these compounds can be easily fooled by the addition of tea catechins. Until a more reliable, validated method is developed, ConsumerLab.com is unable to test and review these products.In the meantime, we hope that the information in the full answer is helpful.

Join today to unlock all member benefits including full access to all CL Answers and over 1,300 reviews.

Join Now

Join now at www.consumerlab.com/join/

13 Comments

Join the conversation

PALLINE8130
December 3, 2015

My integrative medicine doc uses pine bark extract for kidney patients. I have been taking 100 mg for about a year after being diagnosed with stage 3 kidney disease. My Globular Filtration Rate has increased from 51 to 64, so now I am a stage 2! This is good progress!

I buy it from Vitacost, where if I hit a BOGO I can get 10 months supply for $20.00! 5 months for that price isn't bad either!

Paula6871
July 20, 2015

Does it matter if it's taken with or without food?

ConsumerLab.com
July 21, 2015

Hi Paula - In most studies Pycnogenol was taken with a meal, but it's not clear if this was to improve absorption or to minimize the chance of gastrointestinal upset.

Monika8088
November 19, 2015

I am taking 20mg of xeralto once a day, could I benefit from pine bark

ConsumerLab.com
December 3, 2015

Hi Monika - We are not aware of studies comparing Pycnogenol to Xeralto (a prescription anti-coagulant to prevent deep vein thrombosis) or assessing their combined use. We suggest you consult your physician about this -- and be aware that pine bark extract (Pycnogenol) may increase the risk of bleeding in people taking certain blood-thinning medications (also see the Encyclopedia article https://www.consumerlab.com/tnp.asp?chunkiid=21765 for more information).

Al5844
July 8, 2015

I can submit first-hand anecdotal evidence on the use of Pycnogenol for tinnitus. I've had that condition for at least 15 years. Reading about a study whereby taking 150 mg of Pycnogenol daily for at least 4-6 months reduced symptoms in about 85% of sufferers, I gave it a try. I used Swanson brand briefly for about two weeks than used Healthy Origins brand for the rest of the time. I took 150 mg daily, faithfully from last October 2 until well into May this year. Results: zero, zip, none. No improvement whatsoever. Guess I'm a 15%-er.

I should state the obvious: your mileage may vary. I don't have Meniere's. I do have episodic BPPV. The tinnitus comes and goes from day to day, hour to hour. I've found the best treatment is to just ignore it. I have some hearing loss and that is harder to ignore, but I don't let it control my life. It's amazing what you can do with your mind if you decide to control it rather than letting it control you. If I had applied that Rx back in October, I could have save a bucket full of money because Pycnogenol isn't cheap. Live and learn.

Angela13943
April 22, 2017

It's amazing what you can do with your mind if you decide to control it rather than letting it control you.
Thank you for sharing!

Elizabeth554
February 18, 2015

There is some information on the web that it should not be taken for longer than 6 months. I would like to know why but your explanation did not address this.

ConsumerLab.com
February 23, 2015

Hi Elizabeth - This recommendation may have been based on clinical studies using Pycnogenol which lasted for 6 months, although it has been used in clinical studies for up to one year and been well-tolerated. Please see the information we have added about this in the "Safety" section of the Answer.

Glen553
February 18, 2015

Horphag would have you believe all the health benefits from OPC are exclusive to pine bark extract (pycnogenol), however the bulk of research originating out of France from roughly 1950 to 1980 was done with grape seed extract. Cyvex Technologies in Irvine has an excellent source of OPC they label as "BioVin". Horphag is aggressively sponsoring studies to position pycnogenol as superior to GSE but that is simply not the case and GSE is a lot cheaper.

wayne 2756
June 5, 2015

I have heard that Pycnogenol should not used if one has an enlarged prostate is there any recent info regarding this

ConsumerLab.com
June 8, 2015

Hi Wayne - There do not appear to be any studies regarding Pycnogenol use and prostate enlargement. Can you let us know where you read or saw this information?

Ronald5848
July 8, 2015

Hi,

I do not know whether I have reduced the size of my enlarged prostate but within only a couple of weeks of taking stabilised electrolytes of oxygen I now have normal and pain free urination. It also quickly eliminated a persistant and inflamed sore on my leg by applying it externally.

ConsumerLab.com
July 9, 2015

Hi Ron - We have answered a question about a product, CELLFOOD, which includes dissolved oxygen among its ingredients. You can read more about that here: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers//cellfood/

Laura18665
November 23, 2019

After suffering with Raynaud's phenomenon for many years, I decided to try Pycnogenol after reading the study you recently cited. It took a couple weeks, but I am cautiously optimistic. I am more comfortable being outdoors for long autumn walks and I am able to keep the thermostat a couple degrees cooler than before. My hands don't mottle. I'm just one person, but it's very exciting!

Karl18576
October 28, 2019

A Blaylock Wellness Report once mentioned that Pycnogenol was used by marathon runners to prevent Charlie horses. As a runner, I have used Pycnogenol effectively to treat Charlie horses until I found grape seed extract had the same active ingredient at a lower cost.

Marla18569
October 27, 2019

I have a high platelet count, but won’t take baby aspirin since it caused a gastrointestinal bleed. Would Pycnogenol be a good alternative?

ConsumerLab.com
November 4, 2019

Hi Marla - There does not seem to be enough evidence to rely on Pycnogenol for your condition. You should discuss alternatives with your health care provider.

CHRISTOPHER18022
June 11, 2019

CONSUMER LAB: Can you please further explain the last entry of your commentary: "....people taking blood-thinning drugs such as aspirin, Plavix ect...." How does Pycnogenol affect Plavix or anti-platelet drugs and/or even Brillenta?

Thank you,
Chris

ConsumerLab.com
July 9, 2019

Hi Chris - As discussed in our full answer above, due to an effect on platelets, Pycnogenol may potentially increase the risk of bleeding and should be used with caution with blood-thinning medications.

Henry17858
May 19, 2019

Having tried French Pine Bark Extract without any noticeable effect my research has led me here. I think I may benefit from Flavangenol but I can only find beauty products using this extract. How can I purchase the orally administered Flavangenol cited in the research papers that I have read.

George M17632
March 16, 2019

Is Pycnogenol equivalent to Pine Bark Extract? Are the alleged benefits limited to the French maritime source? I have seen PBE supplements that are much much cheaper, but sourced from Chinese Red Pine, or other locations.

ConsumerLab.com
March 18, 2019

Hi George - Pycnogenol is a standardized, branded form of pine bark extract. As noted in the answer above, most of the available research has used this brand; if you want to try another brand, it would be best to try one that it is standardized to a similar percentage of proanthocyanidins as Pycnogenol.

JARKKO17200
September 26, 2018

I hope ConsumerLab will test Oligopin(R) products. Pycnogenol(R) products I can already trust as Pycnogenol has been used in numerous clinical studies, but Oligopin is much cheaper than Pycnogenol. Oligopin and Pycnogenol are both made in France and from same plant, but by different French companies.

Oligopin has been also clinically studied, but much less than Pycnogenol.

ConsumerLab.com
September 26, 2018

Hi Jarkko - Thank you for your suggestion. Although we would like to test these products (and have wanted to for several years), there are no specific assays or reference materials for oligomeric proanthocyanidin compounds in these products, preventing us from reviewing them. This is the same problem we face with grape seed extract ( https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/what-are-the-benefits-of-grape-seed-extract/grape_seed_extract/) and cranberry ( https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/can-cranberry-help-with-utis/cranberry_urinary_infection/).

Tom17318
November 28, 2018

You say that you can trust Pycogenol(R) products; however, is there any guarantee that the various brands all contain exactly what is labelled on the bottle (re. dosage and absence of contaminants)? It seems to me that without ConsumerLab conducting independent and objective tests, the best we can do is go with a reputable brand and hope for the best.

Join today to unlock all member benefits including full access to CL Answers

Join Now

Join now at www.consumerlab.com/join/