Pine Bark Extract
According to the generalization of the joint Italian-German research, there is a key component in pine bark extract to ease rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. The high pycnogenol content in pine bark extract can help reduce the pain and discomfort from rheumatoid arthritis. This is because pycnogenol can inhibit the activity of C-reactive protein, an agent associated with arthritis pain.
C-reactive protein, or CRP, is a substance produced by the liver and the abnormal rise in the levels of CRP in the body indicates inflammation throughout the body. A positive test of abnormally high levels of CPR can be caused by different conditions. CPR has an important role in the disorders of the immune system such as lupus, acute pancreatitis and gout. More importantly, this agent is also associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
A few years ago, the scientific community believed that arthritis was just a matter of inflammation in one location. But a closer look at the role of CRP reveals that the high levels of the protein in the bloodstream can lead to the progress of the pain and inflammation to other joints as well.
In the joint effort between Italy’s Chieti-Pescara University and the University of Munster, Germany, researchers investigated 55 arthritic patients with abnormally elevated levels of CPR. The study’s findings revealed that pycnogenol significantly lowered CRP from an average baseline of 3.9 mg/L to a healthy level of 1.1 mg/L. This effect is powerful enough to arrest the spread of inflammation all over the body.
Pycnogenol is a derivative from natural pine bark extract. Pine extract is found to be one of the best sources of pycnogenol, with a unique blend of bioflavonoids, procyanidins and organic acids. Due to its potential benefits to health, pycnogenol has been extensively studied for the past 35 years. In fact, there are more than 220 studies and reviews to support the efficacy and safety of this extract.
Published by the journal Nutrition Research, the double-blind, placebo-controlled research conducted at the rheumatology department of Mashhad Medical University, Iran revealed an interesting result. The findings of the research indicated that pycnogenol from pine bark extract improved the physical function of 52% of test subjects suffering from osteoarthritis.
In addition, several researches in the past had already proven the power of pycnogenol from pine bark extract to alleviate inflammation. Aside from controlling abnormally high levels of CRP, pycnogenol has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to inhibit COX-1, COX-2 and the pro-inflammatory nuclear factor-kappa B. This is the explanation behind its power to alleviate arthritis pain and symptoms.
The conventional treatments, using NSAIDs and other pain relievers, are employed to manage pain and symptoms of arthritis. But the study from Mashhad Medical University recommended that supplementing the conventional treatments with pycnogenol can fight joint inflammation and soothe the pain and stiffness. This complementary treatment can also pave the way for cartilage renewal with substances like glucosamine.
Pycnogenol from pine bark extracts offers a safe and natural approach to reducing pain and improving the physical function of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis. It ideally complements the conventional treatments and this led to the mainstream availability of this substance in the form of dietary supplements in the market. In the end, it looks like pycnogenol will have more applications in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis as studies are still being conducted.
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