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As the population in America ages, osteoarthritis is becoming an increasingly common problem. Surprisingly, this degenerative joint disease affects almost all people over the age of sixty to some degree causing varying degrees of joint discomfort, pain and loss of mobility. (1)
The standard treatment for osteoarthritis pain has been anti-inflammatory medications which are now known to have a variety of undesirable side effects and may even increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.(2) For this reason, there’s a strong interest in natural approaches to treating osteoarthritis joint pain. One natural compound that’s shown some promise for the pain of osteoarthritis is Pycnogenol.
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What is Pycnogenol?
Pyconogenol is a compound extracted from the bark of the French pine tree. Several previous studies have shown it to be effective in reducing osteoarthritis joint pain. Now, a new study further confirms the role that Pycnogenol may play in treating the pain of osteoarthritis.
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What does the latest study show?
This latest study, published in the Redox Report, showed that Pycnogenol supplements lower plasma levels of C-reactive protein or CRP, a protein considered to be a marker for inflammation in the body. Patients who were given one hundred milligrams per day of Pycnogenol in two doses showed significantly lower levels of C-reactive protein at the end of ninety days. A control group who received a placebo showed nonsignificant reductions in CRP levels. (3)
Because C-reactive proteins dropped when Pycnogenol was given, it suggests that inflammation was reduced in the group receiving the supplement. Other markers for inflammation in the blood were also lowered after supplementing with Pycnogenol. Although this particular study didn’t assess whether or not osteoarthritis joint pain was improved, previous studies have shown that Pycnogenol reduces the severity of osteoarthritis joint related symptoms. (3)
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Why does Pycnogenol help osteoarthritis joint pain?
Pycnogenol appears to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which probably accounts for its beneficial effects on osteoarthritis joint pain. It’s also interesting to note that the reduction in C-reactive protein may also play a role in the prevention of other diseases that are fueled by inflammation. Although claims have been made that Pycnogenol can prevent a variety of disease including heart disease and cancer, there haven’t been any large, well controlled studies conducted to confirm this.
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The bottom line?
Although Pycnogenol may have some benefits for treating osteoarthritis joint pain and potentially decreasing joint inflammation, it’s important to consult with your doctor before starting this supplement. Even natural supplements such as Pycnogenol can interact with other medications causing unforeseen side effects. Pycnogenol should also be avoided if you’re pregnant.
Pycnogenol can be found in some health food store or natural food markets or purchased online.
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3. Redox Report. Volume 13, Number 6, pp. 271-276
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