Pine bark extract improves cognitive function

In a study by scientists from the Chieti-Pescara University in Italy, supplementation with French pine bark extract has been found to boost brain health.

The 12-week peer-reviewed study, led by Dr Gianni Belcaro and published in the Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences, looked at the cognitive function, attention and mental performance of 59 healthy professionals (aged 35-55) with increased oxidative stress.

30 of the subjects were given 150mg per day of the French pine bark extract Pycnogenol in combination with a health plan to enhance mental performance and control oxidative stress, while a further 29 acted as controls.

At 12 weeks the improvement of cognitive function, attention, mental performance, sustained attention, memory, executive functions, mood and oxidative stress values in the Pycnogenol subjects was more significant than in controls.

Oxidative stress, measured by plasma-free radicals, was significantly decreased (by an average of 30.4%) at 12 weeks in Pycnogenol subjects, who also showed a small but significant improvement in PASAT, pattern recognition memory and spatial working memory.

Mood parameters (alertness, anxiety, contentedness) also improved in those using the supplement, up 16% compared to -2.1% in the control subjects; mental performance was boosted by 8.9% (3.1% control); advance sustained attention increased by 13.4%; and memory was improved by 3.6%.

In the evaluation of 12 professional daily tasks, all were improved with Pycnogenol supplementation.

The researchers concluded that Pycnogenol supplementation for 12 weeks appears to improve cognitive function and oxidative stress in healthy professionals.

This study completes a number of research observations indicating that Pycnogenol can naturally help improve some aspects of cognitive functions throughout life. Multiple studies have been conducted using Pycnogenol and showing 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 Belcaro.

“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.”