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In the quest for effective natural remedies for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, aka an enlarged prostate, one of the options that has gained some attention is Pycnogenol, a branded extract of French Maritime pine bark. According to the findings of a recent study, use of Pycnogenol for an enlarged prostate resulted in significant improvement in symptoms when compared with two control groups.
What is French maritime pine bark?
The generic form of Pycnogenol (and its various other branded names) is known as French maritime pine bark (Pinus pinaster). However, it also can be produced from other pine barks, including P. radiate, P. densiflora, P. massoniana, P. radiate, and P. thunbergii. Most of them have similar levels of active ingredients and are typically available under the brand name Pycnogenol.
Pycogenol is notable for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The bark contains flavonoid compounds called oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs), which are believed to be responsible for the health benefits associated with using this natural supplement.
According to Consumer Lab.com, which conducts independent testing of supplements, the currently available method of testing for OPCs is not reliable because results can be tainted by the addition of catechins found in tea.
Because of the uncertainty of the testing methods for OPCs, consumers should purchase pycogenol and supplements containing this ingredient from reputable manufacturers only.
Pycnogenol for an enlarged prostate
In the study, 75 healthy men who had signs and symptoms of BPH were divided into three groups:
- Standard management, which included low-sugar, low-salt diet, no caffeine, and regular exercise
- Standard management plus 150 mg daily of Pycnogenol
- Medical treatment only, which involved dutasteride and/or finasteride
The study lasted 60 days, at which time the participants underwent ultrasound evaluation to determine residual urinary volume in the bladder and prostate size. Men in the Pycnogenol group showed a significant improvement in urinary emptying, urinary frequency, intermittence, urinary urgency, urine flow, straining, and nocturia (getting up multiple times during the night to urinate) when compared with men in the other two groups.
- Nocturia reduced 31% among those taking Pycnogenol vs. 18% among those on standard management and 9% of those taking medication
- Intermittency reduced 31% among Pycnogenol users vs 9% of those in standard management and 19% of those taking medication
The authors concluded that use of Pycnogenol “may be an important option for self-management of BPH in otherwise healthy men.” If you want to try Pycnogenol for an enlarged prostate, discuss it with a knowledgeable healthcare professional.
ConsumerLab.com. Pycnogenol—Does it work?
Ledda A et al. Benign prostatic hypertrophy: Pycnogenol supplementation improves prostate symptoms and residual bladder volume. Minerva Medica 2018 Aug; 109(4): 280-84