HOBOKEN, N.J., May 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Important new research shows effectiveness of a natural supplement in combating the risk factors of metabolic syndrome, which affects the health of millions of Americans. A clinical trial published in the January online issue of Phytotherapy Research found natural supplement Pycnogenol® (pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, to be effective in helping to reduce health risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome. Nearly 90 percent of study participants who supplemented a healthy diet and regular exercise with Pycnogenol® showed significant improvement of all metabolic syndrome characteristics, including obesity and high blood pressure.
The American Heart Association (AHA) defines metabolic syndrome as simultaneous presence of three of five risk factors, including central obesity (40+ inch waistline for men, 35+ inch waistline for women), low HDL (good) cholesterol, high blood pressure, high glucose (sugar) and high triglycerides (fat).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that some 75 million Americans suffer from metabolic syndrome, which can significantly increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and type II diabetes.
"In this study, we found that Pycnogenol® can aid people struggling with metabolic syndrome to control blood lipids, sugar and blood pressure. Results show that those who supplemented healthy diet and moderate exercise with Pycnogenol® were able to improve heart health and lose weight, reaching an almost normal body mass index (BMI)," said Dr. Gianni Belcaro, a lead researcher of the study. "This study provides evidence that daily supplementation with Pycnogenol® may offer a natural approach to help achieve healthy blood pressure, improved cholesterol and blood sugar levels and ultimately, greater cardiovascular health."
The study, conducted at the Italian university of Chieti-Pescara, followed 130 subjects, ages 45-55 years old, who presented with all five risk factors of metabolic syndrome, as defined by the AHA. A controlled clinical trial was conducted and participants were given either placebo capsules or 50 mg of Pycnogenol® three times daily. The results showed that risk factors of metabolic syndrome were all significantly improved at three months with supplementation of Pycnogenol®, with further improvement at six months.
Conducted to identify individuals at higher risk of heart disease, the study focused on the impact of obesity in metabolic syndrome to further emphasize the importance of lifestyle changes related to diet and physical exercise.
Those participants who supplemented with Pycnogenol® were free of all five metabolic syndrome risk factors and were well within normal values within six months. More than half of subjects in the placebo group – those who did not take Pycnogenol® – still presented with all five metabolic syndrome risk factors even after six months of diet and exercise.
Additionally, the study found that those patients who supplemented healthy diet and exercise with Pycnogenol® achieved:
- Weight loss – waist circumference reached non-obese levels after three months (39 inches or less for men, 34 inches or less for women)
- Healthy BMI – baseline average BMI decreased from 26.7 to 25.1 kg/m2 after completion of the half-year trial
- Healthy glucose, triglyceride and HDL cholesterol values
- Significant reduction of systolic and diastolic blood pressure
- Significant reduction of oxidative stress
- Improved endothelial function believed to have assisted in achievement of healthy blood pressures
- Inhibition of alpha-glucosidase suggested to be the cause for lower blood glucose levels, as starchy foods are absorbed more slowly
All participants were managed using counseling and dietary education, and a moderate exercise program was initiated. Study participants were followed for six months. At three months and at six months, participants were investigated for waist circumference, BMI, weight and blood pressure. At each visit participants were tested for cholesterol and blood pressure and heart rate was monitored in the mornings. All subjects received instructions to improve their lifestyle and decrease waist circumference.
"This study adds to the already established portfolio of studies on Pycnogenol® and heart health conducted over the last 30 years," said Frank Schonlau, Ph.D., scientific director for Horphag Research, worldwide distributors of Pycnogenol®. "Previous studies have shown Pycnogenol® is a natural solution for individuals with metabolic syndrome, particularly for kidney protection. The natural extract has also been shown in several studies to lower blood glucose in type II diabetic patients. Pycnogenol® supplementation has been associated with improved cardiovascular health, such as cholesterol reduction, blood pressure control and prevention of thrombosis."
To view the clinical research and additional information on Pycnogenol®, visit www.Pycnogenol.com.
Pycnogenol® is a natural plant extract originating from the bark of the maritime pine that grows along the coast of southwest France and is found to contain a unique combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids, which offer extensive natural health benefits. The extract has been widely studied for the past 40 years and has more than 280 published studies and review articles ensuring safety and efficacy as an ingredient. Today, Pycnogenol® is available in more than 700 dietary supplements, multi-vitamins and health products worldwide. For more information, visit www.pycnogenol.com.
About Horphag Research (USA) Inc.
Horphag Research (USA) Inc., based in Hoboken, New Jersey, is the North American distributor for Pycnogenol® (pic-noj-en-all) brand French maritime pine bark extract on behalf of Horphag Research. Pycnogenol® is a registered trademark of Horphag Research Ltd. For its patented ingredient, Pycnogenol®, Horphag Research has been awarded the Frost & Sullivan Excellence in Research Award, Nutraceutical Business & Technology Safety & Quality Award, SupplySide West Scientific Excellence Award and The American Botanical Council's Tyler Research Award. Horphag Research (USA) has the exclusive rights to market and sell Pycnogenol® in North America and benefits from more than 40 years of scientific research assuring the safety and efficacy of Pycnogenol® as a dietary supplement. For more information about Pycnogenol® visit www.pycnogenol.com.
SOURCE Horphag Research (USA) Inc.