Hoboken, NJ—A six-month study of those with metabolic syndrome indicates a branded French maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol, distributed by Horphag Research USA, based here) may help reduce symptoms.

Led by Gianni Belacaro of Irvine3 Labs in Italy, a research team collected data on 130 people (ages 45–55) with all five risk factor of metabolic syndrome: overweight, elevated triglycerides (TG), low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure and high fasting blood glucose. A group of 64 people took 150 mg/day of Pycnogenol, while a separate 66-person group served as a control; everyone maintained a healthy diet following dietary counseling and exercised moderately. The results of the supplement group were impressive. Compared to baseline, fasting glucose levels dropped from an average of 123 mg/dl to 105.3 at the end of the study; men’s waistline decreased from and average of 41.8 inches to 38.7 inches after six months; and women’s waistline declined from 35.8 inches to 32.9 after six months. In addition, TG levels and blood pressure went down while HDL cholesterol levels increased.

Despite diet and exercise, more than half of those in the placebo group still had all five metabolic syndrome risk factors at the conclusion of the study.

In conclusion, say the study authors, “This study indicates a role for Pycnogenol for improving health risk factors in subjects with metabolic syndrome.” The results are published in Phytotherapy Research.


Published in WholeFoods Magazine, July 2013, (online 5/17/13)