Pycnogenol is a supplement made from the extract of antioxidant rich French maritime pine. New research suggests that it may improve mild cognitive impairment, which in many cases leads to dementia.
Nearly 3/4 of people diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment progress to dementia
Mild cognitive impairment is relatively difficult to identify both by the individual suffering from it and by friends and family surrounding them however it is possible to diagnose using a Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE).
The results of the study showed that those taking Pycnogenol scored significantly higher on the MMSE test than they had before supplementation. This suggests the research may have implications on the prevention of age-related cognitive decline:
"The earliest stage of dementia is defined as mind cognitive impairment; 70% of subjects diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment progress to dementia at some point."
Pycnogenol consumption gave considerably higher scores
The study comprised males only aged between 55 and 75, all 87 participants were receiving treatment for mild cognitive impairment but were otherwise assessed to be in general good health. To qualify for the study the participants had to score low on the MMSE test.
Half of the men were given Pycnogenol supplements
(150mg per day) and the other half were not. The study was conducted over a period of 8 weeks. After that period the participants were assessed again using a MMSE test. The results showed that those whom had received the supplement scored significantly higher than they had prior to taking the supplementation. The participants who had not ingested Pycnogenol did not score higher.
Results supported by previous research
Numerous studies to date have linked French maritime pine to anti-aging properties - a 2017 study linked the extract to joint benefits and another to the normalisation of cardiovascular risk factors in menopausal women.
The authors of the latest research suggest that the anti-aging properties of the French maritime pine come from it's ability to combat oxidative stress in a relatively short amount of time once consumed. However had to conclude with the following:
"The association between oxidative stress levels and cognitive dysfunction is still debated since it's complexity has not been completely understood."
"The supplementation regimen should be tested in larger studies with longer follow-up, in order to better quanitfy it's efficacy in improving cognitive function."
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.