Hoboken, NJ—Nearly anyone who has experienced the miserable sore throat, stuffy nose and congestion from a cold wants the symptoms to subside as quickly as possible. Now, new research from Otorrinolaringología suggests a branded extract from the French maritime pine bark (Pycnogenol, distributed by Horphag Research, with U.S. headquarters here) may help.

The two-pronged study was based at the Chieti-Pescara University in Pescara, Italy. First, at the first sign of a cold in otherwise healthy individuals, 40 subjects were given 50 mg of Pycnogenol twice daily; 33 other people only used over-the-counter treatment. The Pycnogenol group experienced shorter colds and fewer days out of work than the other group. They also had less of a need to take OTC products.

The second phase divided 196 people with colds into three groups, each taking a different variation of supplements for 5 days or more. Overall, the Pycnogenol and vitamin C combination performed better than the other groups, and helped individuals recover faster from their cold.

According to information from Horphag, “The reason for this result is that the immune system cells, called leukocytes, require a significant amount of vitamin C to naturally recover from the common cold. Research shows that likewise, Pycnogenol metabolites were found in leukocytes via the GLUT1 transporter in a study earlier this year.  Therefore, the Pycnogenol and vitamin C interaction demonstrated improved natural immunity due to the synergistic antioxidant effect of the combination.”

In addition, those taking Pycnogenol had less swelling in the nasal mucus membrane.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, December 2013 (online 10/23/13)