A new study gives hope to the almost 25 million Americans suffering from asthma. Those afflicted with asthma know the discomfort of asthma symptoms, particularly dependence on an inhaler and awakening suddenly at night struggling to breathe. The study, published in Volume 53 of Panminerva Medica, found that natural supplement Pycnogenol (pic-noj-en-all) – an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree – improved control of allergic asthma, reducing night awakenings caused by asthma symptoms by nearly 50 percent. Asthma patients who used Pycnogenol experienced reduced dependence on inhalation corticosteroid (ICS), which is commonly administered through an inhaler, and required less visits to a doctor due to asthma symptoms.
The study, conducted at the Department of Biomedical Sciences at University of Pescara, Italy, examined 76 patients, aged 25 to 45 years, with mild to moderate allergic asthma to dust mites. Provocation with dust mite allergen was carried out to confirm allergen specificity. During the study participants were split into two groups. One group was given 100 mg of Pycnogenol per day in addition to sustaining their use of ICS. The other group continued their use of ICS without additional supplementation. Daily ICS dosage and common asthma symptoms were evaluated in participants of both groups throughout a six month period. The study found that:
- Pycnogenol supplementation allowed for lowering the daily required ICS dosage in 55 percent of participants. In the control group only 6 percent of patients were able to control their asthma with a lower steroid dosage, while 19 percent had to switch to a higher regimen to control their asthma
- In the Pycnogenol group use of a salbutamol rescue inhaler was required, on average, every fifth day, while in the control group inhalers were required, on average, every second day to deal with sudden asthma symptom flare-ups
- Pycnogenol reduced night awakenings caused by asthma symptoms to only half the frequency as before, while no significant change was found for the control group
- Pycnogenol lowered the amount of days with a more than a one asthma score, which is a measure used to evaluate asthmatic patients' degree of respiratory distress
- Pycnogenol decreased frequency of consultation by a general practitioner or specialist by asthma patients
"Managing asthma allows those suffering from this critical condition to experience less of the uncomfortable symptoms of asthma, enabling them to live a better quality of life," said Dr. Fred Pescatore, an internationally recognized health expert and author of the best selling book The Allergy and Asthma Cure. "Pycnogenol has offered my patients with asthma a healthy way to effectively manage this condition by reducing their use of multiple medications and occurrence of critical symptom episodes. "
This study joins a wealth of other research regarding the benefits of Pycnogenol for asthma management in both adults and children with mild to moderate asthma. Previous research has demonstrated the natural supplement's antioxidant activity and powerful anti-inflammatory properties that work to combat the inflammatory processes of the bronchi that cause them to constrict and swell, making breathing difficult. Pycnogenol was shown in three clinical studies to lower leukotriene values, inflammatory mediators responsible for asthma symptoms, to some extent also inallergic rhinitis (hay-fever). Asthmatics experience periods of wheezy breathing and breathlessness with intervals of relative or complete freedom from symptoms. Antigenic substances such as pollen, mite in house dust and animal hair may challenge the immune system leading to airway obstruction, while chemical irritants like tobacco, smoke, and air pollution may also trigger symptoms. Pycnogenol normalizes the immune response that can starve off harmful inflammation such as in asthma as well as hay-fever.
"This study gives promising news to asthma patients seeking natural ways to complement their medication in order to better control their asthma symptoms, and confirms that Pycnogenol offers a natural solution that is not only effective but also safe," said Dr. Gianni Belcaro, a lead researcher of the study.