Pycnogenol Side Effects

by Brent Laungret Updated February 16, 2011

Extracted from the bark of French pine trees, pycnogenol has been touted as a remedy for a wide range of health conditions, but what about possible pycnogenol side effects? Is this substance, which some have suggested should be considered an extra vitamin, safe to take?

pycnogenol side effects

Very little scientific research has been carried out into pycnogenol and pycnogenol side effects, and the ideal dose is a matter of guesswork. Yet this extract is used for the alleviation of a range of illnesses, including asthma, diabetic symptoms, allergies, eye disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, heart disease, muscle pain, arthritis, thrombosis and sexual dysfunction. Claims for pycnogenol side effects even include holding back the aging process and keeping the skin young and smooth. The substance seems to increase the function of the immune system, so may help fight infectious disease and perhaps even cancer, but before proper research is carried out, it is not possible to say whether its benefits outweigh pycnogenol side effects.

The Good Side of Pycnogenol Side Effects

As well as the health conditions already mentioned pycnogenol is used to treat osteoarthritis, menopausal symptoms like vaginal dryness, endometriosis, painful periods, ringing in the ears, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the eye disease called retinopathy and sexual dysfunction in men. It has been used to improve athletic performance. However, perhaps its most attractive claim for many users is that it slows the aging process and keeps the skin looking younger, and pycnogenol has been used in facial beauty creams. Aside from any other side effects of pycnogenol this extract of Pinus maritime has been shown to bind to and preserve collagen and elastin, the factors that keep skin tight, smooth and youthful. It also promotes dilation of blood vessels and circulation.

Are There Harmful Side Effects Of Pycnogenol?

The side effects of pycnogenol appear to be few and mild when taken at doses between 50mg and 450mg. The natural astringency of the substance may cause an unpleasant taste in the mouth or lead to stomach upset or in severe cases mouth ulcers. There may also be dizziness. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take pycnogenol, nor should it be given to very young children or babies until pycnogenol side effects have been thoroughly researched. Anyone taking any kind of prescribed medication should always consult his or her doctor before taking any other health supplement, and this goes for pycnogenol as well. The side effects of pycnogenol include increasing the immune system, so it could have implications for anyone taking medicine to lower immune response, as in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Much of the healthy content of pycnogenol is substances found in a normal healthy diet, such as bioflavonoids, and with so little known about pycnogenol side effects it might be safer for consumers to improve their lifestyle and eating habits before spending money on a supplement that has undergone so little in the way of research.

References:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proanthocyanidin - Proanthocyanidin