Not many people know that French pine bark is a good source of numerous phytochemicals which are natural compounds occurring in plants to support better health. It is a nutritional supplement made from the bark of pine trees grown along the coast of southwest France.
Modern-day research has revealed some of the vital phytochemical constituents present in the pine bark that are responsible for its healing properties. This includes flavonoids, procyanidins, and proanthocyanidins.
Benefits of French maritime pine bark
1. Improves Cardiovascular Health
Studies have shown that the number of people who are affected by heart disease is on a steady rise worldwide. The extract of French pine bark helps to lower LDL cholesterol which clogs the arteries to create cardiovascular issues. Additionally, it helps in elevating the good HDL cholesterol.
Some researchers are of the opinion that French pine bark present in the pine barks is effective in relaxing blood vessels, reducing free radicals and lowering inflammation. This, in turn, has a positive effect on the overall reduction of blood pressure.
In a study conducted on 58 patients, it was suggested that regularly consuming French pine bark quantity as low as 100 mg/day may help in improving cardiac health significantly. After periodically consuming for 12 weeks, many participants have reduced the dosage of their potent medications.
2. Improves Eye Health – Diabetic retinopathy, Glaucoma, Cataract
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease developed in people with diabetes as a result of damage to the retinal blood vessels. This can lead to vision impairment and even complete blindness. Studies have shown that using French pine bark extracts for two months helped to improve the circulation in the eyes. It is also suggested that the compound could help prevent blindness if used at an early stage.
In a clinical study conducted in Italy, combination of bilberry and French pine bark extracts lowered intraocular pressure and increased retinal artery blood flow in glaucoma patients.
Globally, it is estimated that at least 65.2 million people have vision impairment or blindness due to cataract. This is one of the most common causes of vision loss in people over the age of 40. In a research experiment conducted by John R. Trevithick and his colleagues, they found that treating cataract with dietary French pine bark extracts showed positive results on eye lenses without any side effects.
3. Supports Joint Health
There have been numerous studies that demonstrate that French pine bark extracts not only promotes the mobility and flexibility of joins, it relieves aching. It also lowers inflammatory markers. If you suffer from arthritic joints, a pine bark supplement could help.
According to new findings of joint German and Italian research, published in the journal Redox Reports, supplements of French pine bark extracts may be able to reduce levels of a protein called C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, sufficiently to prevent a “spill-over” of the inflammatory marker from the joints into the whole body.
The researchers recruited a sub-set of 55 patients from a larger osteoarthritis study involving 156 people with significantly elevated CRP levels. The subjects received either two daily doses of 50 mg French pine bark extracts or placebo for three months.
It was found that people receiving the pine bark extract experienced significant reductions in CRP levels from an average of 3.9 mg/L at the start of the study to 1.1 mg/L after three months. This is equivalent to a 71 per cent reduction, said the researchers. Moreover, a reduction in the blood levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) of 30 per cent was recorded.
4. Improves Skin Conditions
As pine bark protects the skin against the impact of UV-rays, it can also help with the UV-induced skin conditions. One study in 21 fair-skinned volunteers revealed that taking an oral supplement of French pine bark extracts can alleviate the UV-induced erythema. The effect of pine bark depends upon the quantity of dose taken and the duration for which the supplement has been consumed.
In addition, French pine bark extracts also helps with pigmentation. A 2002 study found for the first time that intake of this extract can improve hyperpigmentation in women having melisma. Another recent study has also pointed out that oral intake of the extract can drastically reduce pigmentation.
5. Balances Blood Sugars
Pine bark extract may provide some added benefits for you if you struggle with high blood sugar, pre-diabetes, or diabetes. A double blind, placebo-controlled study of 77 diabetic patients taking their prescription medications, along with 100mg of supplemental French pine bark extracts, found greater improvement in blood sugar control and cardiovascular health when pine bark extract was combined with diabetic medications.
French pine bark extracts may help normalise blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates, resulting in a reduced glucose load of the blood stream. It delays the uptake of glucose from a meal 190 times more potently than some prescription medications, preventing the typical high glucose peak in the bloodstream after a meal.