An extract of the French maritime pine bark extract may be effective in improving symptoms of mild cognitive impairment.
That is according to new research published in the journal, Minerva Medica, which studied the effect of Pycnogenol on reduced mild cognitive impairment (MCI) symptoms associated with early onset dementia.
A total of 87 men aged between 55 and 70, who showed signs of MCI, were involved in the study; researchers administered a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) 30-point questionnaire to determine the level of cognitive impairment for each individual. Participants supplemented with 150mg (three 50mg capsules) of Pycnogenol daily for eight weeks and their MMSE scores were re-evaluated at the end of the study.
All study participants followed a standard management routine, including healthy sleep habits, regular exercise, and low sodium and low sugar meals.
The results revealed that along with these standard management practices, study participants who supplemented with Pycnogenol had an 18 per cent improvement of their MMSE scores, including improvements in significant enhancement of ability to remember friends and family (31.3 per cent improvement with Pycnogenol vs. 0 per cent improvement control), improvement of remembering where things are (39.4 per cent improvement with Pycnogenol vs. 6.5 per cent improvement control group), increase of ability to learn new gadgets and technology (24.1 per cent improvement with Pycnogenol vs. 3.3 per cent improvement control), and significant improvement of ability to deal with people (19.4 per cent improvement with Pycnogenol vs. 7.6 per cent control). In addition, researchers found that the participants who supplemented with Pycnogenol also experienced a 16 per cent reduction in oxidative stress.
In conclusion, the researchers said: “Pycnogenol has shown a large number of positive effects in subjects with initial cognitive impairment, due to its effects on oxidative stress levels. The safety and tolerability of Pycnogenol are good, and thus the supplementation regimen should be tested in larger studies with a longer follow-up.”
Commenting on the research, Medical Director of NYU Langone Center for Men’s Health, Dr Steven Lamm, said: “This is potentially breakthrough research for millions. Mild cognitive impairment hits general memory and reasoning. Those suffering from MCI may have more difficulty remembering where they put their car keys, recalling names or learning new skills. In many cases, it’s a precursor for dementia. Daily supplementation with Pycnogenol made a difference for those struggling with this frustrating and frightening condition.”