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By the Sea, By the Sea…

By the Sea, By the Sea

“French maritime forest”

Whenever I read that phrase it conjures an image of tall, ancient pines rising serenely through a shroud of ocean mists near a remote beach.

That calming image is a good fit for an antioxidant-rich botanical treatment that’s a proven anti-inflammatory.

In many e-Alerts I’ve written about Pycnogenol, the pine bark extract that’s harvested from a French maritime forest. We’ve seen studies where Pycnogenol has been shown to promote proper blood flow, relieve symptoms of menopause, and help diabetics manage blood sugar levels.

Patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) – now it’s your turn to benefit from the Pycnogenol treatment.

90 days of relief

Anyone who has experienced knee OA, or has witnessed its affect on a friend or loved one, knows just how painful and debilitating this degenerative joint disorder can be.

Based on Pycnogenol’s known anti-inflammatory qualities, an international team of researchers led by scientists at the University of Arizona mounted an intervention trial to test this extract as a knee OA treatment.


  • Researchers recruited nearly 40 knee OA patients – their average age was about 50
  • Subjects were divided into two groups to receive either 50 mg of Pycnogenol, three times daily, or a placebo
  • Researchers used the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) Osteoarthritis Index to measure changes in symptoms
  • Pycnogenol subjects showed significant improvement in total WOMAC score after 60 days of intervention
  • After 90 days, subjects in the Pycnogenol group reduced self-reported pain by 43 percent, stiffness by 35 percent, and composite WOMAC score by 49 percent compared to placebo
  • Physical function was improved by more than 50 percent in the Pycnogenol group

You can find more information about Pycnogenol at Pycnogenol can’t be purchased through that site, but links to vendors are provided. Talk to your doctor or health care professional before taking Pycnogenol.

A little secret

I have to thank HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., for the heads-up about the Pycnogenol study. And when he sent it to me he included this note: “I’ll bet grape seed extract would work every bit as well.”

When I asked him to elaborate, he told me that he’d never used grape seed extract (GSE) to treat arthritis because he’d never heard of using either GSE or Pycnogenol for arthritis symptoms. Dr. Spreen: “My comment was due to the fact that, 1) Pycnogenol is expensive, and 2) grape seed extract (much cheaper and more ubiquitous) has been found to supply the same active ingredients. Both are famous for their antioxidant properties.”

Dr. Spreen noted that he would recommend 200 mg per day of GSE, under the care of a doctor, of course. And he cautioned that anyone who goes looking for grape seed extract should know that “GSE” is sometimes used as an acronym for grapefruit seed extract.

In addition to GSE and Pycnogenol, knee OA patients have several other treatments they can pursue as an alternative to NSAIDs or COX-2 inhibitors.

In the e-Alert “House of Cards” (12/28/04), I told you about a study of 570 patients with knee OA. Among the subjects who were treated with acupuncture, 40 percent reported reduced pain. These subjects also had significant improvements in knee mobility and function.

In that same e-Alert you can read about other OA treatments, including cod liver oil, and an anti-inflammatory nutrient called nicotinamide, a derivative of niacin. “House of Cards” is available at this link:

“Pycnogenol Supplementation Reduces Pain and Stiffness and Improves Physical Function in Adults with Knee Osteoarthritis” Nutrition Research, Vol. 27, No. 11, November 2007,