Study: Effect of Pine Bark Extract on Prevention of Harmful Inflammation Disorders

HOBOKEN, NJ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 04/25/2006 -- A recent study published in the Journal of Inflammation shows the effectiveness of pine bark extract Pycnogenol® (pic-noj-en-all) in preventing harmful inflammation induced by immune system response.

Inflammation is the body's response to infection or injury perceived by the immune system as foreign. Absent, excessive, or uncontrolled inflammation may result in bodily complications such as arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as skin, food and drug allergies.

"Inflammation is a double-edged sword for our health. Beneficial inflammation is crucial for fighting infections and healing wounds. Harmful inflammation, such as that triggered by a non-infectious event, erroneously aims at the body's tissue, causing significant damage. Patients who supplemented with the pine bark extract Pycnogenol benefited from an immune system response that attenuated excessive inflammation," said Petra Högger Ph.D., lead author of the study.

"A typical example of harmful inflammation is an asthma attack," said Dr. Högger. "Immune cells in the bronchi perceive harmless substances as foreign, provoking an inflammation response. The inflammation does not have infectious materials to attack so it turns on tissue, causing swellings in the bronchi and greatly impairing breathing. Pycnogenol proved effective at preventing this kind of bad inflammation."

The clinical study conducted at the University of Würzburg in Germany showed that a 200 mg daily oral intake of Pycnogenol lowered the activity of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB), the immune cell "trigger" for inflammation, in a group of seven healthy volunteers.

Blood samples were taken prior to the start of the study and again after five days of supplementation. Key immune cells in the blood plasma, also known as monocytes, drawn after Pycnogenol supplementation showed a significantly lowered NF-kB response by 15 percent as compared to without Pycnogenol supplementation.

"This study demonstrates Pycnogenol's ability to inhibit NF-kB and the pro-inflammatory molecules under its control. This reduced 'friendly-fire' incidents where the body's immune system turned inflammation on tissue," said Dr. Högger.

NF-kB is activated by any incident in the body that indicates tissue may have become harmed, such as immune cells recognizing foreign materials. The NF-kB gene switches on the production of pro-inflammatory molecules required for recruiting immune cells from the blood stream to the affected tissue.

These immune cells then migrate through blood vessel walls into tissue, where they unload major quantities of destructive enzymes and toxic substances. Different enzymes then dissolve connective fibers such as collagen and elastin to allow immune cells to maneuver freely and to facilitate subsequent tissue healing.

In separate studies published in 2004 and 2005, and an upcoming study, Pycnogenol demonstrated its anti-inflammatory effects in clinical trials for asthma, dysmenorrhea and osteoarthritis.

Results of a study to be released later this year showed Pycnogenol reduced inflammation relating to symptoms of knee osteoarthritis (OA). The study of OA patients who supplemented with Pycnogenol reported significantly reduced pain and stiffness and increased physical function.

Pycnogenol 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 is available in more than 400 dietary supplements, multi-vitamins and health products worldwide. For more information or a copy of this study, visit

Natural Health Science Inc. (NHS), based in Hoboken, New Jersey, is the North American distributor for Pycnogenol® (pic-noj-en-all) brand French Maritime Pine Bark Extract on behalf of Horphag Research. Pycnogenol® 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® and benefits from more than 35 years of scientific research assuring the safety and efficacy of Pycnogenol® as a dietary supplement. For more information about Pycnogenol® visit our website at

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