If you want to make your bones stronger, there are more options open to you than the traditional calcium and vitamin D supplements. We've already written about silicon, Gingko biloba, ecdysterone and creatine, and today we present yet another candidate to add to the list of potential bone strengtheners. A Japanese animal study that will soon be published in Phytotherapy Research suggests that pycnogenol helps against osteoporosis.
Really you should write pycnogenol with a capital letter. It's a registered extract of phenols obtained from the bark of the Mediterranean pine Pinus pinaster.
Pycnogenol doesn't come cheap. This is not only because it contains a high concentration of active ingredients – the extract consists of almost 70 percent procyanidins – but above all because of the impressive stack of studies demonstrating the positive effects of Pycnogenol. The stuff has a rock-hard reputation. As Red Bull is the king of energy drinks, Pycnogenol is the same in the world of protective plant extracts.
It contains substances such as taxifolin, ferulic acid, caffeic acid and catechins. In 2006, Slovakian researchers examined the blood of subjects that had taken Pycnogenol, and they found metabolites of ten substances that were not known to be present in Pycnogenol. [BMC Clin Pharmacol. 2006 Aug 3; 6:4.] So we don't know the precise composition of Pycnogenol yet.