As men age, it is common for their prostates to swell, leading to weak urinary stream and bladder outflow obstruction. Results of a new clinical trial with 75 participants suggested that the extract may help manage these symptoms.
A team of researchers at the Chieti-Pescara University, led by Dr. Gianni Belcaro, has studied the potential health effects of a branded extract of French Maritime Pine bark known as Pycnogenol, manufactured and distributed by Horphag Research.
Previous studies published that observed Pycnogenol have linked the extract to reduced inflammation. This year, studies published on Pycnogenol linked it to reduced leg swelling after a long plane ride and improved circulation among older adults with repeated incidences of deep vein thrombosis.
“So it made sense to see if [enlarged prostate] would respond to the extract,” Sebastian Bornet, VP of global sales and marketing at Horphag Research, told NutraIngredients-USA at last week’s SupplySide West 2018 Expo, where the company first revealed results of the study.
The company is positioning Pycnogenol supplementation as a preventive alternative to other common remedies currently in use.
“Currently, medical treatment of BPH is limited, and it is considered a ‘poor’ option by most patients and specialists, since most prostatic studies have been focusing on interventional and surgical possibilities, that generate higher profits,” the researchers argued in their report.
“Studies on drug interactions (i.e. with other drugs such as anticoagulants) are also limited and unsatisfactory.”
Study details and results
The journal Minerva Medica published the study in August of this year. In the trial, 75 healthy men with symptoms and signs of early stage benign prostate hypertrophy participated.
Researchers divided the men into three groups: A control group using only standard management (follow a low-sugar, low-salt diet, avoiding caffeine, exercise regularly), a group using standard management in addition to 150 mg of Pycnogenol a day, and finally a group using pharmaceutical products (dutasteride and/or finasteride).
After eight weeks, researchers monitored participants using ultrasound investigations to determine residual urinary volume in the bladder and prostate size.
Participants also filled out a modified version of the standard self-evaluation form for prostate health, known as the International Prostate Symptom Score form.
They found that supplementation of Pycnogenol daily for that period improved several outcomes.
For example, participants who took the supplement had reduced frequency of nocturia (waking up at night to use the bathroom) by 31% compared to 18% in the control group and 9% in the drug group. It also reduced intermittency by 31%, compared to 9% in the control group and 19% in the drug group.
Source: Minerva Medica
Published online ahead of print, DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4806.18.05572-6
“Benign prostatic hypertrophy: Pycnogenol® supplementation improves prostate symptoms”
Authors: Andrea Ledda, et al.