I usually order vitamins and supplements from iHerb.com, because of both the convenience and cost factor (if you order from iHerb, use the referral code JON420 to save $5 on your order). iHerb usually includes flyers or sample packs of various supplements and vitamins in the box. About a year ago, the “ride along” flyer was for a supplement I had never heard about called Pycnogenol.
I did a little research and I discovered that pycnogenol comes from the bark of a pine tree grown in France. It is marketed as an anti-oxidant and as a supplement to help blood circulation and aid the vascular system.
I normally check out any potential new supplement at ConsumerLab.com, which is a paid membership site that offers unbiased evaluations of various vitamins and supplements. If you just run a search on Google or Yahoo, you won’t find much other than ads for the product itself. ConsumerLab had nothing on Pycnogenol other than to identify it as an “oligomeric proanthocyanidin” (OPCs)- meaning extract of the French pine.
ConsumerLab’s conclusions are that there is no scientific evidence of specific benefits from OPCs, but also no harm associated with these extracts. However, when I looked at the customer reviews, there were some very positive and very specific praise of pycnogenol – enough so that I decided to try it out.
My experience with pycnogenol has been positive. The most apparent benefit for me has been increased pliability and softness of my skin. This winter, for the first time in many years, I did not experience dry, cracked skin on my hands and elbows.
Obviously I cannot speak to any circulatory issues, but based on the noticeable improvement to my skin, I have added pycnogenol to my daily supplement regimen. I am also sticking to the Source Naturals brand – I tried a different manufacturer’s formulation but noticed a drop off in the effect. I came back to the 100mg dosage of pycnogenol from Source naturals, which is what I now take.
I am obviously speaking about my own experience – your experience, doctor’s opinion and reaction may be different.