Pycnogenol supplementation may relieve recurrent UTIs

Urinary tract infections are the result of a bacterial infection, with three episodes in the previous year, or two episodes in the last six months, being defined as recurrent

A recently published study has demonstrated supplementation with Pycnogenol, a French maritime pine bark extract distributed by Horphag Research, to be effective at reducing the number of urinary tract infection episodes, increasing the number of infection-free and symptom-free patients, and decreasing oxidative stress in patients with urinary tract infections.

Researchers also found daily supplementation with the extract to reduce the number of episodes and decrease oxidative stress in patients with interstitial cystitis (IC).

Urinary tract infections are the result of a bacterial infection, with three episodes in the previous year, or two episodes in the last six months, being defined as recurrent.

Published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the study encompassed 64 participants between 35 and 41 years old. Three groups were tested in the study: a control group, a Pycnogenol group, and a cranberry group. Each group was tested for 60 days and followed a standard management routine. The control group only followed the standard management routine, which consisted of accurate hygiene, improved bladder care, avoiding too much caffeine, spices, and alcohol, careful hydration, and mild exercise.

The Pycnogenol group supplemented with 150mg per day. The cranberry group supplemented with 400mg (two 200mg capsules) of dried cranberry extract per day.

After 60 days of daily oral supplementation with Pycnogenol, results included 62% reduction in the number of urinary tract infection/interstitial cystitis episodes (vs. 45% reduction in the cranberry group and 29% reduction in the control group). The entire treatment group also showed infection-free urine (compared to 35% of participants in the cranberry group and 36% of participants in the control group. At study start, 40-50% of the patients showed infection-free urine.)

Additionally, 91% of participants were symptom-free, as opposed to 80% of participants in the cranberry group and 82% of participants in the control group.

"Patients who suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections often experience painful, disruptive symptoms including pain, burning and itching in the pelvic area, and a constant need to go to the bathroom. This study shows, Pycnogenol, a natural ingredient, may reduce those symptoms," said Dr Steven Lamm, MD, a researcher.

"It is important that we reduce the use of antibiotics in the management of recurrent urinary tract disorders. This study presents a potential natural alternative to antibiotic use. Pycnogenol is known as an effective anti-inflammation agent. Important findings here that require further research," said Dr Lamm.

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