Pycnogenol eases fibromyalgia symptoms, reduces need for painkillers: Study

By Danielle Masterson

- Last updated on GMT

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Getty Images / insta_photos

Related tags Pycnogenol pain relief

Extracts from the bark of French Maritime Pine may reduce oxidative stress and ease pain symptoms in people with fibromyalgia, suggests a new study supported by Horphag Research.

Data published in Panminerva Medica ​indicates that daily supplementation with Pycnogenol may support reduction of symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, including fatigue, migraines, and stiffness. 

The research was conducted over four weeks on 50 female subjects, with an average age of 47. Participants had idiopathic fibromyalgia with moderate symptoms and elevated levels of oxidative stress. Participants were divided into two groups: a control group following a standard management routine of daily stretching, aerobic exercise, local heat application, sleep, and meditation, and a Pycnogenol test group that supplemented with 150 mg of Pycnogenol daily in addition to following the same standard management routine. 

“Pycnogenol  supplementation appears to control and reduce the intensity of common symptoms and complaints—especially pain-related—associated with FM. Pycnogenol could be a ‘soft’, safe supplementation and prevention method to manage the symptoms of most of these patients, even for longer periods, reducing the need for drugs,”​ concluded the authors, led by Dr Gianni Belcaro from the IRVINE3 Labs at Ch-Pe University in Italy.  

Females in focus

The all-female research participation is no coincidence. Carolina Burki, director of product development at Horphag Research, told NutraIngredients-USA that according to the National Fibromyalgia Association, as many as 10 million people around the world have fibromyalgia​and 75% to 90% of them are women.

“This is why this study on Pycnogenol was conducted on 50 female subjects, 47-year-old average,”​ Burki explained. 

Key findings

Results showed that supplementation with 150mg of Pycnogenol daily improved symptoms, including:

  • 54% decrease in the number of subjects with stiffness pain (vs 17% in the control group) 
  • 58% reduction in the number of subjects with pain that worsens with fatigue (vs 14% in the control group)
  • 54% decrease in the number of subjects with fatigue (vs 21% in the control group) 
  • 55% reduction in the number of subjects with mental cloudiness (vs 5% in the control group) 
  • 71% decrease in the number of subjects with IBS symptoms (vs 8% in the control group) 
  • 100% decrease in the number of subjects with interstitial cystitis symptoms (vs 25% in the control group) 
  • 64% reduction in the number of subjects with migraines (vs 20% in the control group) 
  • 63% reduction in the number of subjects with headaches (vs 13% in the control group) 
  • 70% decrease in the number of subjects with occurrences of paresthesia (vs 14% in the control group) 
  • 35% decrease in the number of subjects with perceived stress levels (vs 5% in the control group) 

Burki said that this research is an encouraging start for people with fibromyalgia looking to naturally manage the intensity of their symptoms and reduce the need for medication.

Looking for natural alternatives

“Reports show that 55% of Americans regularly take prescription medication, and an even higher percentage is concerned with the potential side effects of long-term use as well as with the risk of dependency related to prescription drugs. An increasing number of doctors and consumers prefer natural, evidence-based, and safe products to address pain management."

- Carolina Burki, director of product development at Horphag Research

Source: Panminerva Medica
2021 Mar;63(1):46-50. doi: 10.23736/S0031-0808.20.03955-5
“Idiopathic myalgic pain (fibromyalgia): supportive management and prevention with Pycnogenol”
Authors: G Belcaro et al.

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