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« on: February 03, 2011, 03:41:43 PM »

Pine Bark Extract: The Most Potent Antioxidant

Pine bark extract comes from the bark of a coastal pine tree called Pinus maritima. This specie is native to the Western Mediterranean, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, and Italy. Abundantly, this pine tree grows along the coast of Les landes de Gascogne in southwest France.

It has been of great value to the medical field because of its antioxidant properties. Aside from that, it has been believed to be effective in treating and preventing certain medical conditions, thus the reason why it is being used by folk medicine around the world for many years.
A group of researcher in UC Berkley led by Lester Packer had examined many natural compounds for their antioxidant property. Remarkably, Pine bark extract has been the most potent of the lot, and they had patented it under the name of Pycnogenol® (pik-nah-je-nal).

The antioxidant property of the extract deactivates free radicals. Since free radicals destroy cells and contributed to the development of many diseases, a daily dose of pine bark extract could help in preventing the occurrence of diseases like cancer, degenerative diseases, and cardiovascular diseases.

Pine bark extract has a balanced proportion of organic acids, procvanidins, and bioflavonoids. These organic acids enable pine bark extract to work in the body as a natural anti-inflammatory, join the collagen and the elastin exclusively, and help in the production of the endothelial nitric oxide - a chemical that has been scientifically proven to help dilate blood vessels thus relieving hypertension. This gives another reason why pine bark extract has been a very valuable herb.

The therapeutic dosage is 1mg of pine bark extract per 1 kilogram of body weight. For a more accurate dosage, it is advisable to get your daily dose from a food supplement which has incorporated this herb's extract to other herb extracts, essential acids, and vitamins and minerals for maximum benefit. Remember to read and follow the label carefully or consult your doctor when taking the supplement for the first time.

The extract is generally safe. There has been no reported or recorded serious side effect to date. However, mild adverse effects include headache, gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, and dizziness. Occasional stomach discomfort has been reported due to its astringent taste, thus adding more reason why it should be taken as part of a daily multivitamin.

Though the safety of Pine bark extract has been well established, the use of this herb on pregnant women within the first trimester of pregnancy as well as on children under 6 years old is greatly discouraged unless otherwise permitted by a health practitioner. If you fall on the above category and plans to take it as a supplement, it would be best to consult your doctor first.

Pine Bark extracts helps in prolonging the activity of Vitamins C and E in ones body, thus taking it in combination with other vitamins and minerals in a daily food supplement is highly recommended.

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