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Pycnogenol® for Osteoarthritis

3 min read

Our joints are subject to wear and tear and with increasing age the lining of joints, the cushioning cartilage, gradually degenerates. Eventually the damage will cause inflammation leading to reduced flexibility of joint and predominantly pain.

The majority of people over 65 years of page show signs of osteoarthritis with statistically more women than men suffering from the condition. All joints may be affected but most commonly it's the hips, knees, fingers and the spine.

Osteoarthritis is the leading medical condition for which people seek alternative therapies, with the aim being to lessen joint pain and stiffness as well as restore mobility.

Pycnogenol® potently inhibits inflammation in arthritis

Inflammatory cells accelerate degeneration of joints by secreting reactive oxygen species, pro-inflammatory substances and degenerative enzymes (MMP enzymes). Consumption of Pycnogenol® has shown to inhibit the activation of a pro-inflammatory master switch - this is a protein that mobilises all pro-inflammatory molecules and plays a destructive role in arthritis. Pycnogenol® consumers also generate less MMP enzymes which are responsible for cartilage degradation and less COX-enzymes which are predominantly responsible for joint pain.

Pycnogenol® lowers inflammatory marker CRP in osteoarthritis patients

Pycnogenol® was demonstrated in a study with 55 osteoarthritis patients to significantly lower the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP) by 72% as well as showing a significant reduction of reactive oxygen species in arthritis patients by 30% - these finding prove that the anti-inflammatory activity of Pycnogenol® is effective in arthritis patients.

First pilot trial with Pycnogenol® for osteoarthritis

Pycnogenol® was shown to improve pain and symptoms in osteoarthritis in it's first clinical pilot trial. The trial was conducted over a three month period and included 37 patients who received Pycnogenol or a placebo in addition to their standard medication. With Pycnogenol® the pain decreased from 1 month, showing a significant change to placebo after 2 months. After 3 months the Pycnogenol group showed a 43%, 35% and 52% reduction in self-reported pain, stiffness and physical function respectively. The placebo group showed no significant changes.

Furthermore the Pycnogenol® group required less of their standard medication and the number of days during which they required analgesics decreased as well while the placebo group required increased pain medication during the trial.

Second clinical trial with Pycnogenol® in 100 osteoarthritis patients

A larger study, carried out in Europe with 100 patients pain, supported the results of the first pilot. Pain gradually decreased during the course of three months treatment with Pycnogenol® - an improvement was found after the first month and then more so after the second month with values being significantly different to the placebo group. Just as the first study showed, those in the Pycnogenol® group required less analgesic medication during the trail, this was not the case with the placebo group.

Third clinical trial with Pycnogenol® for 156 osteoarthritis patients

A third clinical trial in Italy investigated Pycnogenol® for treatment of osteoarthritis in 156 patients.

After three months treatment with Pycnogenol® the pain score decreased from average 17.3 (maximum possible score of 20 representing severe pain) to 7.7.

In the placebo-treated control group the pain value decreased insignificantly from mean 17.1 to 15.2. The stiffness score decreased from 6.6 (on a scale 0 to 8) to 3.1 and joint physical function decreased from average 55.3 (on a scale 0 to 68) to 23.8.

The control had no change of joint stiffness and only a marginal improvement of physical function. 

Download the full research article here.

A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.