Pycnogenol positioned to meet demand for 'immunity plus'

By Claudia Adrien

- Last updated on GMT

French Maritime Pine Trees - the source of Pycnogenol.   Image © Eric Cowez / Getty Images
French Maritime Pine Trees - the source of Pycnogenol. Image © Eric Cowez / Getty Images

Related tags Pycnogenol Antioxidant pine park extract Immunity

In some respects, ‘immunity plus,’ the idea that a single supplement can address a combination of health needs in addition to immune health, is not a new concept for decades-old Horphag Research.

As the exclusive worldwide supplier of Pycnogenol, a supplement made from French maritime pine bark extract, Horphag Research claims Pycnogenol can benefit the entire body, including healthy aging, heart health, cognitive function, skin health, and, of course, the immune system.

Pycnogenol, which is comprised of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids, is available as a standalone supplement in a variety of dosages and as a key active ingredient in targeted immune health combination formulas.  

“As the global immune health supplement market trends predict​ continued growth through 2028, we are also noting how more consumers are seeking to simplify their self-care routines,” said Sébastien Bornet, VP global sales and marketing at Horphag Research. “They want products that do more work and provide more of the benefits. They want more efficiency with a simpler daily routine they can stick to and achieve the desired results.”

A natural anti-inflammatory

Simplicity doesn’t mean less robust. In fact, Horphag Research touts four key properties of Pycnogenol – it’s a powerful antioxidant, it has natural anti-inflammatory action, it selectively binds to collagen and elastin, and it improves blood flow for better circulation.

These key properties are involved in maintaining healthy circulation, muscle function and recovery, joint care and cognitive functions and are key to addressing fundamental mechanisms for immune health, Bornet said. As a natural anti-inflammatory, Pycnogenol helps to reduce the body’s inflammatory response which leads to allergy symptoms like runny nose and sneezing. Pycnogenol’s antioxidant properties also help to minimize the severity of symptoms associated with the common cold.

A 2013 study​ found that supplementation with Pycnogenol is effective in shortening the duration of the common cold and reducing common symptoms like nasal obstruction, sore throat and sneezing. In combination with vitamin C and zinc, supplementation with Pycnogenol created a synergistic antioxidant effect to reduce duration of symptoms to four days, as compared to the average of seven days.

Further research published in 2014​ on Pycnogenol found the extract helped relieve symptoms such as cough, temperature and headache due to the common cold.

Finally, a 2010 study published in Phytotherapy Research​ found that daily supplementation with Pycnogenol helps to reduce the severity of seasonal allergies by inhibiting the release of histamine from mast cells in response to allergens.

US market

Despite the focus on immune health, Pycnogenol’s best performing categories in the US include heart health, general health, and women’s health, according to Horphag Research. This differs slightly from Europe where sports nutrition, cognitive health and women’s health perform best and Asia where Pycnogenol performs best in the skin health and menopause categories.

“Pycnogenol is one of the most researched ingredients available today with more than 340 published studies and review articles​, confirming safety, non-toxicity and clinical efficacy as botanical ingredient,” Bornet said. “We also believe in the commitment to educate consumers so they are empowered to understand science and safety data behind our key ingredients with proven effectiveness.”

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