Study shows daily use of pycnogenol can improve cognitive health


Natural pine bark extract found to help boost overall cognitive performance including attention span and coping with stress in healthy professionals

Natural pine bark extract found to help boost overall cognitive performance including attention span and coping with stress in healthy professionals.

New research delivers exciting news for those seeking natural ways to boost memory and mental performance. A study recently published in the Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences shows daily use of pycnogenol, a natural plant extract from French maritime pine tree bark, may help to improve attention span, memory, decision making — including executive-level performance — and overall cognitive function.

'This study finds pycnogenol to be a safe and effective natural option to improve day-to-day cognitive function, essentially serving as 'brain food' for executives, entrepreneurs and those who want help sharpening their decision making. What is unique about this study is that it observes how pycnogenol can positively impact mood as participants reported feeling less anxiety and a stronger sense of content. That may be connected back to the mental performance boost and demonstrates the effects of dramatic reduction of oxidative stress,' said physician and nutritional medicine expert Dr Fred Pescatore.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the average American's attention span has reduced from 12 seconds (reported in 2000) to 8 seconds, which can hurt productivity and quality of work produced.

The peer-reviewed study conducted at Chieti-Pescara University in Italy and published in the December 2014 Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences, included 59 participants between ages 35-55, all of whom were generally fit and followed a healthy lifestyle.

In the study, 30 participants were supplemented with pycnogenol (50mg/three times daily) in combination with a controlled health plan; 29 participants in the control group followed the controlled health plan alone. The health plan involved regular sleep, balanced meals and daily exercise. Whereas there is no single solution to improved cognitive function, lifestyle patterns and daily exercise routines have shown to increase attention span and improve mood.

In the study, after 12 weeks of daily supplementation with pycnogenol, results were also shown to

  • significantly improve mood (16% increase pycnogenol/-2.1% control)
  • measurably boost mental performance (8.9increase pycnogenol/3.1% control)
  • advance sustained attention (13.4% increase) and memory (3.6% increase)
  • dramatically reduce oxidative stress (30% decrease pycnogenol)

'This study completes a number of research observations indicating that pycnogenol can naturally help to improve some aspects of cognitive functions throughout life. Multiple studies have been conducted using pycnogenol and show its positive effects in managing and improving some attention parameters in children with ADHD, in improving results of specific cognitive test in students and in improving several aspects of cognitive functions in adults over 60,' said Dr Gianni Belcaro, lead researcher of the study.

'These latest findings are supported by decades of research on pycnogenol's ability to naturally regulate oxidative stress levels (that may significantly affect some cognitive functions) and confirm the positive impact on overall cognitive function.'

Results of the study were measured using a self-administered visual analogue scale (VASL), national adult reading test (NART), special recognition memory (SRM) and Cambridge neuropsychological test to evaluate simple cognitive functions and levels of oxidative stress.

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'Participants who supplemented daily with pycnogenol demonstrated stronger performance in daily mental tasks such as dealing with money, managing people and coping with stress. Those are mental performance benefits that can be felt from the home to the office and even in the classroom,' said Dr Pescatore.