Pycnogenol (pronounced pic-NOJ-en-all) is a plant extract from French maritime pine bark. The antioxidant contains a combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and phenolic acids.
A new peer-reviewed study found that supplementation with Pycnogenol boosts saliva production and alleviates dry mouth symptoms, which affects up to 10% of the population and as many as 20% of seniors, according to three studies referenced in the report.
“Dry mouth can compromise a patient’s quality of life with symptoms like bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease. Left untreated, dry mouth can lead to halitosis, chronic sore throat, and difficulty speaking and chewing,” said Dr. Fred Pescatore, an internist who specializes in nutrition.
The controlled study included subjects ages 45 to 55 years who experienced dry mouth symptoms. In total, 48 subjects were included in the study; 24 diabetics and 24 non-diabetics. Twelve diabetics and 12 non-diabetics were supplemented with 150 mg of Pycnogenol daily for two weeks. Twelve diabetics and 12 non-diabetics served as controls.
Researchers gauged improvements by examining salivary glands via ultrasound and a chewing test which measured saliva production.
After two weeks, salivary flow and oxidative stress improved significantly in both non-diabetics and diabetics subjects who consumed 150 mg/day Pycnogenol.
Participants in the non-diabetic test group who supplemented with Pycnogenol noted improved dry mouth symptoms including:
• 82% improvement of saliva production (compared to no improvement in the control group)
• Reduced mouth dryness by 66% (compared to 3% improvement in the control group)
• Reduced the prevalence of mouth ulcers and sores related to dry mouth by 69% (compared to 3% improvement in the control group)
The diabetic group that supplemented with Pycnogenol reported:
• 70% improvement of saliva production (compared to no improvement in the control group)
• Reduced mouth dryness by 63% (compared to 6% improvement in the control group)
• Reduced the prevalence of mouth ulcers and sores related to dry mouth by 58% (compared to 12% improvement in the control group)
“Based on these preliminary results, Pycnogenol could be a new, valid option for the treatment of xerostomia,” the report concluded.
“Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a very common condition and a frequent side effect from use of over-the-counter and prescription medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, and medications for high blood pressure. It can also be caused by health conditions such as diabetes,” said Pescatore.
Sébastien Bornet is VP Global Sales and Marketing at Horphag Research, the exclusive North American Pycnogenol supplier. Bornet told NutraIngredients-USA, “Pycnogenol is not shown to interfere with any medications but it is always recommended to consult with a physician before adding any supplements to one’s routine.”
Bornet added the supplement supports a number of functions: “Muscle health, joint health, heart health, cognitive function and menopause are just a few of the most popular healthy aging topics that Pycnogenol is shown to support."
Bornet told NutraIndredients-USA that there is a lot of opportunity for growth in this particular category. “The oral care supplement market is emerging as more consumers acknowledge the role of oral health in their overall wellbeing, particularly as they get older. The healthy aging supplement market is also growing. The number of US adults over the age of 65 is expected to double by the year 2060, so we see interest in these topics continue to increase. About 20% of advanced age adults experience persistent dry mouth. Prescription and OTC medications, as well as underlying health conditions, can all increase the likelihood of this condition. There are few supplements on the market that specifically address dry mouth, making this a largely untapped category with few natural solutions for individuals experiencing this issue.”
Currently, Pycnogenol French maritime pine bark extract is available in over a thousand dietary supplements and other health products worldwide.
Source: Minerva Stomatol
2019 Dec; 68(6):303-307. doi: 10.23736/S0026-4970.19.04311-5
“Xerostomia: prevention with Pycnogenol® supplementation: a pilot study”
Authors: G. Belcaro et al.