Hoboken, NJ—A two-part study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness has generated some interesting results for anyone concerned about reducing muscle soreness after exercise.

Researchers from Chieti-Pescara University in Pescara, Italy, gave a branded French pine bark extract (Pycnogenol, distributed by Horphag Research) to normal individuals to see whether it would improve their performance during the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). First, 74 participants took 100 mg/day of the extract during a two-month training period. Seventy-three others took a placebo. While both groups showed improvements in their two-mile run times, the extract group (with improvements of two minutes) had even better results than the control group. Similar results were found with push-ups (Pycnogenol caused 25% improvements) and sit-ups (Pycnogenol offered 15% improvements).

In the second part, 32 men training for a triathlon took 150 mg/day of the extract and 22 others took a placebo. Both groups’ swimming, biking and running times improved (Pycnogenol by 10.8 minutes and placebo by 4.6 minutes), but the Pycnogenol group ended up with about a seven-minute faster race than the controls. The extract group also had less cramps and post-running pain, and had faster recovery overall.


Publishedin WholeFoods Magazine, March 2014 (online 1/27/14)