study published in the April 2008 edition (Volume 22, issue No 4)
of the journal of Phytotherapy Research shows Pycnogenol
(pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the
French maritime pine tree, was shown to reduce all osteoarthritis
symptoms by 56 percent. The study revealed a particularly high efficacy
of Pycnogenol for lowering joint pain by 55 percent. Moreover, patients
required dramatically less standard pain medication (-58 percent),
which greatly improved the gastrointestinal complications resulting
from the pain medication by 63 percent.
Past Study Regarding Pycnogenol and Osteoarthritis (OA)
A previous study carried out at
the University of Arizona Tucson (published in Nutrition Research)
discovered that Pycnogenol was an affective natural healing approach for osteoarthritis, improving pain and joint
function. The study found that after three months, the Pycnogenol group
- a reduction of 43 percent in pain,
- 35 percent in stiffness,
- 52 percent in
physical function subscales.
The placebo group showed no
significant scores throughout the entire study.
Current Study Regarding Pycnogenol and Osteoarthritis (OA)
The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, held
at Italy's Chieti-Pescara University, sampled 156 patients with
osteoarthritis of the knee (OA). Patients were administered 100 mg
Pycnogenol or placebo, daily for three months. Symptoms were evaluated
by WOMAC index scores and mobility by recording their walking
performance on a treadmill. Patients were permitted to continue taking
their choice of pain medication provided they recorded every tablet in
a diary for later evaluation.
To describe and rate osteoarthritis symptoms (joint pain,
stiffness and physical function), WOMAC questionnaires were evaluated
by the investigator and patient at the start and after three months of
treatment. Patients were trained on a treadmill test and performance
evaluation was recorded on total distance that could be covered without
pain. Measuring foot volume by the water-displacement method was used
to evaluate ankle/foot edema in a randomly selected subgroup of
subjects within the two treatment groups.
After three months, scores for pain dropped significantly for
the Pycnogenol treatment group and no significant effects were recorded
for the placebo group. Scores for stiffness were reduced by 53 percent.
The scores for physical function were reduced by 57 percent in the
Pycnogenol group and improvement under placebo was not significant. The
global WOMAC score decreased following Pycnogenol treatment and very
little in the placebo group, from 56 percent vs. 9.6 percent for
Pycnogenol and placebo, respectively. Overall well-being of patients
(emotional function) was significantly enhanced with the Pycnogenol
group, by 64 percent and 15 percent for the placebo group.
Results of exercise tests on the treadmill demonstrated an
increased performance after three months of Pycnogenol treatment. At
the start of the study, patients could only walk a mean of 74 yards
without feeling pain and after three months, they could walk 216 yards,
compared to the placebo group that noted 71 yards at the beginning of
the study and 96 yards at the end.
In addition to the osteoarthritis results, 76 percent of the
patients in the Pycnogenol group and 79 percent in the placebo group
showed visible ankle and foot edema at inclusion of the study. After
the three months, edema decreased in 79 percent of the Pycnogenol
patients and only one percent in placebo-treated patients.
Patients were allowed to use their regular dosage of NSAIDS.
Usage dropped by 58 percent during treatment with Pycnogenol and one
percent with the placebo. Evaluation of data demonstrated a decrease of
gastrointestinal complications of 64 percent in the Pycnogenol group
versus three percent in placebo.
According to the research team :
- The results of this study are significant as they clearly
demonstrate the clinical action of Pycnogenol on osteoarthritis and management of
- The use of Pycnogenol many reduce costs and side effects of
anti-inflammatory agents and offer a natural alternative solution to
people suffering from osteoarthritis.
The benefits of Pycnogenol for arthritic joints are suggested
to result predominantly from the anti-inflammatory potency of
Pycnogenol which was demonstrated in a series of clinical
investigations in the past.
Future Osteoarthritis Research
There are more breakthrough studies on
Pycnogenol and osteoarthritis expected to be published next year
allowing for development of innovative, natural formulas for joint
Osteoarthritis also known as degenerative arthritis,
degenerative joint disease), is a condition in which low-grade
inflammation results in pain in the joints, caused by abnormal wearing
of the cartilage that covers and acts as a cushion inside joints and
destruction or decrease of synovial fluid
that lubricates those joints. As the bone surfaces become less well
protected by cartilage, pain is experienced upon weight
bearing, including walking and standing. Due to decreased movement
because of the pain, regional muscles may atrophy, and ligaments may
become more lax.
"Osteoarthritis" is derived from the Greek word "osteo", meaning "of the bone", "arthro", meaning "joint", and "itis", meaning inflammation,
although many sufferers have little or no inflammation.
misconception is that osteoarthritis is due solely to wear and tear, due to the
fact that osteoarthritis typically is not present in younger people. However, while
age is correlated with osteoarthritis incidence, this merely illustrates that osteoarthritis is
a process that takes time to develop. There is usually an underlying
cause for osteoarthritis, in which case it is described as secondary osteoarthritis. If no underlying cause can be identified it is described as primary osteoarthritis. "Degenerative arthritis", often used as a synonym for osteoarthritis, but the latter involves both degenerative and regenerative changes.
Osteoarthritis affects nearly 21 million people in the
United States, accounting for 25% of visits to primary care physicians,
and half of all NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) prescriptions.
More than 10 million Americans have a total joint replacement each year.
It is estimated that 80% of the population will have radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis by age 65, although only 60% of those will be symptomatic.