According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, is on the rise. A new study published in the August journal of Phytotherapy Research, reveals Pycnogenol(R), bark extract from the French maritime pine tree, reduced overall knee osteoarthritis (OA) symptoms by 20.9 percent and lowered pain by 40.3 percent. To date, this is the third clinical trial on osteoarthritis treatment with Pycnogenol(R). This study investigated what happens to joint symptoms after treatment with Pycnogenol is terminated and the results show that no relapse occurred after two weeks. Pycnogenol acts as potent anti-inflammatory and the lasting effects found in this study suggest that Pycnogenol may help the joints to recover.
With osteoarthritis cases on the rise, many are seeking non-traditional medication to help ease the pain and reduce the amount of traditional medication taken. The CDC estimates osteoarthritis affects 34 percent of all adults over the age of 65. In 2005, an estimated 26.9 million adults in the U.S. had osteoarthritis, which was up from 21 million in 1990. While there's no known cure for osteoarthritis, treatments such as nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or analgesics can help reduce pain and also maintain joint movement, to help the quality of life for people living with the disease. In more severe cases, cortisone shots and joint replacement surgery are used to treat OA.
"The current study is in accordance with the two previous Pycnogenol(R) studies for osteoarthritis," said Dr. Peter Rohdewald, one of the researchers of the study. "Again the pain is gradually decreasing during the course of three months treatment with Pycnogenol(R). An improvement is found after the first month and a further improvement is seen after two months, where values are significantly different to the placebo group. This study again showed that patients required significantly less analgesic medication while supplementing with Pycnogenol(R), whereas this was not the case with the placebo-treated control group."
The study was held at Slovakia's Comenius University School of Medicine. One hundred patients with stage I or II OA were included in the study and were randomly allocated to either a Pycnogenol(R) or placebo group. Patients were supplemented with 150 mg Pycnogenol(R) or placebo per day over a period of three months. They were allowed to continue taking their NSAID or analgesics prescribed before the study but had to record every pill taken. The established Western Ontario McMaster questionnaire for joint function was employed to rate the pain level, and obtain measures of joint stiffness and to what extent the arthritis affects participation in daily activities. Patients were investigated in two week intervals over the treatment period of three months and a final time two weeks after discontinuation of medication.
The overall score, summarizing pain, stiffness and daily activities, improved statistical significantly by 20.9 percent in the Pycnogenol(R) group. Interestingly, the joint improvement achieved with Pycnogenol persisted after intake of Pycnogenol was discontinued for four weeks. The joint pain decreased by 40.3 percent after completion of the three months supplementation with Pycnogenol and two weeks later the pain was still 36.1 percent lower than at baseline. Furthermore, 38 percent of patients in the Pycnogenol(R) group required less NSAID's or other analgesic medication for joint pain.
"The anti-inflammatory potency of Pycnogenol(R) explains the success in lowering joint pain and stiffness for arthritic joints," said Rohdewald. "After three recent clinical studies on osteoarthritis, Pycnogenol(R) continues to demonstrate its effectiveness for osteoarthritis symptoms making it a viable, natural and safe alternative for individuals. This is the first study that investigated whether a relapse of symptoms occurs after taking Pycnogenol is stopped. The results show a lasting effect after discontinuation which suggest the anti-inflammatory mechanisms of Pycnogenol has allowed the joints to recover."
In another study this year (also published in the journal of Phytotherapy Research), Pycnogenol(R) was shown to reduce osteoarthritis symptoms by 56 percent. Moreover, patients required 58 percent less standard pain medication, which greatly improved the gastrointestinal complications resulting from the pain medication by 63 percent. Last year, a study on osteoarthritis carried out at the University of Arizona Tucson (published in Nutrition Research) discovered that Pycnogenol(R) was effective for improving pain and joint function. After three months in the Pycnogenol(R) group, there was a reduction of 43 percent in pain, 35 percent in stiffness and 52 percent in physical function subscales, respectively. The placebo group showed no significant scores throughout the entire study.
Horphag Research, the exclusive worldwide distributor of Pycnogenol(R) has filed for several patents for Pycnogenol's(R) application for COX-1 and COX-2 inhibition and treatment of osteoarthritis.
Pycnogenol(R) is a natural plant extract originating from the bark of the maritime pine that grows along the coast of southwest France and is found to contain a unique combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids, which offer extensive natural health benefits. The extract has been widely studied for the past 35 years and has more than 220 published studies and review articles ensuring safety and efficacy as an ingredient. Today, Pycnogenol(R) is available in more than 600 dietary supplements, multi- vitamins and health products worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.pycnogenol.com.
Natural Health Science Inc. (NHS), based in Hoboken, New Jersey, is the North American distributor for Pycnogenol(R) (pic-noj-en-all) brand French maritime pine bark extract on behalf of Horphag Research. Pycnogenol(R) is a registered trademark of Horphag Research Ltd., Guernsey, and its applications are protected by U.S. patents #5,720,956 / #6,372,266 and other international patents. NHS has the exclusive rights to market and sell Pycnogenol(R) in North America and benefits from more than 35 years of scientific research assuring the safety and efficacy of Pycnogenol(R) as a dietary supplement. For more information about Pycnogenol(R) visit our Web site at http://www.pycnogenol.com.