Pine Bark Helps Reduce Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
A recent clinical study showed that pine bark extract can significantly help Parkinson’s disease patients by reducing their tremors and increasing their cognitive functions.
Other clinical research supports that pine bark extract improves cognitive function.
In this article
What causes Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s disease is extremely complex and there are a variety of suspected causes. We have discussed research showing that some antipsychotic drugs have been linked to Parkinson’s. This is often caused drug-induced Parkinson’s, but the symptoms are practically the same with the exception that drug-induced Parkinson’s can affect both sides of the body. But drug-induced cases can also affect one side more than another.
Heavy metal exposure has also been linked to Parkinson’s by some studies. Other research has shown that manganism – often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s – is caused by fuel additives and similar chemicals.
Pesticides and other chemicals sprayed on our foods have also been linked to Parkinson’s. These have included paraquat and others.
Pine bark extract aids Parkinson’s patients
In a 2020 study from Italy’s Chieti-Pescara University, researchers tested 43 Parkinson’s disease patients. They had been diagnosed at least a year earlier. They were split into two groups. One group was given the standard treatment of carbidopa or levodopa. The other group also received this standard treatment, but also received 150 milligrams per day of the pine bark extract Pycnogenol®.
The researchers tested the patients for Parkinson’s symptoms, including tremor, bradychinesia and cognitive functions before and after the study period. They utilized the visual scale line with scores between 0 and 4.
After only four weeks, the researchers tested the patients again. The pine bark group had significantly fewer symptoms, including the motor function, posture stability and cognitive functions. Cognitive functions were particularly higher according to the researchers.
The study authors wrote:
“After 4 weeks, these target symptoms were attenuated with the supplement more than with the standard management only.”
Pine bark also reduced ankle swelling
The researchers also found that the Pycnogenol® also significantly reduced ankle swelling (also called edema) – another common PD symptom. All of the patients had ankle edema when the study started.
Among those patients who took the pine bark, ankle edema disappeared in 17 of the 21 patients.
That means it improved in 81 percent of the patients. Among the other (standard treatment only) group, ankle edema persisted in 19 of 22 patients.
Pycnogenol® is an extract of the Marine pine tree (Pinus Pinaster).
Other research confirms pine bark’s cognitive abilities
In a 2018 study, 87 people with mild cognitive impairment were tested. They were split into two groups. One group received conventional treatment, while the other group was given 150 milligrams of Pycnogenol® pine bark extract per day.
After eight weeks of treatment, the researchers retested the patients. They found that the average mini-mental state exam (MMSE) score improved dramatically among the pine bark group. The MMSE improved from 21.6 to an average of 25.6, increasing an average of 18 percent.
Meanwhile, the standard treatment group’s MMSE scores only increased by 2.5 percent.
The researchers noted that decreased oxidative stress – a hallmark of pine bark extract – was one of the mechanisms at work.
In addition to these studies, there have been a number of laboratory studies that have confirmed these types of effects from Pycnogenol®.
Cesarone MR, Belcaro G, Hosoi M, Ledda A, Feragalli B, Maione C, Scipione C, Scipione V, Cotellese R, Hu S. Supplementary management with Pycnogenol® in Parkinson’s disease to prevent cognitive impairment. J Neurosurg Sci. 2020 Jan 20. doi: 10.23736/S0390-5616.19.04839-2.
Hosoi M, Belcaro G, Saggino A, Luzzi R, Dugall M, Feragalli B. Pycnogenol® supplementation in minimal cognitive dysfunction. J Neurosurg Sci. 2018 Jun;62(3):279-284. doi: 10.23736/S0390-5616.18.04382-5.
Rohdewald P. Pleiotropic Effects of French Maritime Pine Bark Extract to Promote Healthy Aging. Rejuvenation Res. 2019 Jun;22(3):210-217. doi: 10.1089/rej.2018.2095.