Pycnogenol, an extract of pine bark, helped diabetics control blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and leg ulcers, and reduced ankle swelling in those with high blood pressure, in three new studies.
In a cardiovascular disease risk factor study, 48 type 2 diabetics, who were taking medication for mild to moderate high blood pressure, also took 125 mg of Pycnogenol per day or a placebo. After 12 weeks, 58 percent of those who had taken Pycnogenol had blood pressure under control and had cut blood pressure medication by 50 percent. The Pycnogenol group also saw LDL, the “bad” cholesterol, decline by 12.7 mg per deciliter of blood (mg/dL), while the placebo group did not improve. Doctors also measured blood sugar on an empty stomach, which declined by 23.7 mg/dL in the Pycnogenol group and by 5.7 mg/dL for placebo.
In a leg ulcer study, researchers divided 30 diabetics into four groups that took Pycnogenol, 1) orally and applied topically to the ulcers, 2) orally only, 3) topically only, or 4) used a standard disinfectant topically only. After six weeks, the ulcers had completely healed in 89 percent of the oral-topical Pycnogenol group, in 85 percent of the oral-only group, in 84 percent of the topical-only group and in 61 percent of those who had used the standard disinfectant. Doctors concluded that combining Pycnogenol orally and topically may be a new treatment for diabetic ulcers and that applying Pycnogenol topically speeds ulcer healing.
In a high blood pressure study, 53 participants whose ankles had swollen after taking blood pressure medication took 50 mg of Pycnogenol three times per day, or a placebo. After eight weeks, those who had taken Pycnogenol had 35 percent less ankle swelling, while the placebo group had not improved.