Clinical research has now confirmed that pine bark extract reduces ADHD symptoms in kids.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects nearly 10 percent of kids in the U.S., at about 6.1 million kids, between the age of 2 and 17 years old.
We have discussed the link between ADHD and pesticides, and ADHD and the Western Diet during pregnancy before. And we have shown research confirming that pine bark extract reduces Parkinson’s symptoms and boosts memory and cognition.
Now we find that pine bark extract can significantly reduce ADHD symptoms. Let’s review the clinical study:
Doctors test pine bark on ADHD
Researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the Taiwan Adventist Hospital in Taipei tested 20 kids with an average age of 10 years old.
This study was a crossover trial, which means that it was like testing double the number of patients. In this case, the patients were divided into two groups. For four weeks, one group was given the pine bark and the other group was given a placebo.
Then there was a “washout” period of two weeks to give the kids’ bodies the ability to clear out the effects of the supplementation.
After that washout period, the groups were switched: The group given the placebo in the first four weeks was given the pine park. And the group given the pine bark was given the placebo. Of course, no one knew who was given either – called a double blind study.
The treated kids were given either 25 milligrams or 50 milligrams per day of the pine bark extract in each test.
Before the study, and after each of the four weeks, the children were tested for inattention and hyperactivity levels, using the SNAP-IV scale. SNAP-IV measures the frequency of ADHD symptoms with an 18-point questionnaire. The patients were also tested with the Conners Continuous Performance Test III (CPT III). This is a computer assessment test that measures attention.
After each of the four-week testing periods, the researchers found that the kids taking the pine bark extract had significantly higher improvements in their scores on the SNAP-IV test and the CPT III test.
The researchers also tested the antioxidant status of the kids by testing their levels of glutathione and oxidized glutathione ratios.
They also measured the children’s levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances – also called TBARS. TBARS measures reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels. These are also commonly called free radicals.
TBARS indicates the levels and strength of free radical stress in the body. How does this relate to ADHD? Well, as we’ve discussed with other research, free radical stress can significantly reduce cognition and increase anxiety.
Other research has showed that ADHD is linked to environmental toxins. Environmental toxins act in our body as free radicals, as they damage blood vessels and brain tissues.
This is how other herbs can boost our cognitive abilities and reduce anxiety. When free radicals are neutralized, our brain tissues can operate at higher levels, with reduced tissue damage. Brain tissue damage is a hallmark of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
The researchers found that levels of glutathione and the TBARS testing indicated that the pine bark extract increased the levels of antioxidants among the children.
They didn’t find a specific correlation between the two, but the researchers did conclude:
“Pine bark extract supplementation may have potential effects of ameliorating inattention and impulsivity, and elevating the antioxidative status in children with ADHD.”
Hsu, C‐D, Hsieh, L‐H, Chen, Y‐L, et al. Complementary effects of pine bark extract supplementation on inattention, impulsivity, and antioxidative status in children with attention‐deficit hyperactivity disorder: A double‐blinded randomized placebo‐controlled cross‐over study. Phytotherapy Research. 2021; 1– 10.
Shashank Kumar, Rapalli Krishna Chaitanya, Victor R. Preedy, Chapter 20 – Assessment of Antioxidant Potential of Dietary Components, Editor(s): Victor R. Preedy, Ronald Ross Watson, HIV/AIDS, Academic Press, 2018, Pages 239-253, ISBN 9780128098530,
Mayo Clinic. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. Accessed Feb 10, 2021.
Centers for Disease Control. Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Data and Statistics about ADHD. Accessed Feb 10, 2021.