“If I was stranded somewhere on a desert island, Pycnogenol is one of the supplements I would want to have with me, simply because it has so many uses,” says Fred Pescatore, MD, an integrative medicine pioneer and author of The A-List Diet and other health books.
“It helps with collagen and elastin, which keeps the blood vessels going, and it’s a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant,” he elaborates. “When you can work on those things, you have a lot of bases covered in your body.”
Other benefits include improved health of the skin, joints, and brain, and better circulation, especially in the tiny blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to the skin and extremities of our bodies.
How Pycnogenol Works
Pycnogenol binds with collagen and elastin, says Pescatore, strengthening and protecting these building blocks of skin and other tissues from being broken down as we age and are exposed to UV rays, environmental toxins, and chemicals in food and water.
In addition to providing structure to skin, collagen and elastin provide structure to blood vessels, keeping them strong and open. This, says Pescatore, increases the natural production of nitric oxide, the gas in our bodies that keeps blood vessels dilated.
“Pycnogenol helps the blood vessels expand and contract the way they’re supposed to, and it helps cognitive function by bringing oxygen flow to the brain,” says Pescatore. In joints, collagen and elastin provide cushioning.
Pycnogenol also increases our natural production of hyaluronic acid, which helps to retain moisture in skin, reduce wrinkles, and keep joints lubricated. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities also improve respiratory health.
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