Does Pycnogenol® Improve Vision in Patients With Early Diabetic Retinopathy?

Does Pycnogenol® Improve Vision in Patients With Early Diabetic Retinopathy?

Gregory A. Nichols, PhD

Pycnogenol Improves Microcirculation, Retinal Edema, and Visual Acuity in Early Diabetic Retinopathy

Steigerwalt R, Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, et al
J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2009;25:537-540

Study Summary

This double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was designed to test the protective effects of Pycnogenol®, an extract of French maritime pine bark that stimulates endothelial nitric oxide to facilitate vasodilatation. Pycnogenol® was evaluated for its effects in early stages of retinopathy characterized by mild to moderate retinal edema in the absence of hemorrhage or hard exudates in the macula center. Inclusion criteria included diabetes diagnosed at least 4 years previously; good glycemic control (hemoglobin A1c < 7%); and a moderate degree of retinopathy characterized by macular edema, retinal swelling, and the presence of minor exudates and hemorrhage. Persons with proliferative retinopathy, previous laser treatment, or hypertension requiring medical treatment were excluded.

Eligible patients were randomly assigned to 150 mg Pycnogenol® (n = 24) in the morning after breakfast or placebo (n = 22) for 2 months. There were no significant differences between the treatment and control groups at baseline in terms of age, sex, glycemic control, or duration of diabetes. More important, there was no difference in baseline visual acuity, retinal blood flow, or retinal thickness. The following variables were investigated:

  • Visual acuity using the standard Snellen Chart;
  • Diabetic retinopathy by ophthalmoscopy following pupil dilation;
  • Retinal blood flow (quantitatively and noninvasively) by color duplex scanning;
  • Retinal thickness using resolution ultrasonography at 14 MHz; and
  • Ultrasonography evaluation twice by 2 experienced physicians.

Visual acuity in the group receiving Pycnogenol® significantly increased from a baseline average of 14/20 to 17/20 after 2 months. Because no significant change was found in the control group, the difference at the end of the study was statistically significant between the 2 groups.

Pycnogenol® significantly improved both systolic and diastolic retinal blood flow, expressed as flow velocity at the central retinal artery. Among the subset with moderate (as opposed to mild) retinal edema, retinal thickness decreased significantly in the Pycnogenol® group but not in the control group.

Viewpoint

There is no shortage of herbal or plant extract supplements available for just about anything that ails a patient. Many manufacturers make unsubstantiated claims, and in the rare case that those claims are evaluated scientifically, they typically fail to hold up. Pycnogenol® claims beneficial effects in cardiovascular health, skin care, cognitive function, diabetes health, inflammation, sports nutrition, asthma and allergy relief, and menstrual disorders, among others.[1]

Some of the manufacturer’s supporting documentation is less than convincing, but studies in relatively obscure journals do seem to provide evidence that Pycnogenol® improves retinopathy[2] and reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease[3]; blood glucose might also be improved.[4]

In the current study, the authors conducted a randomized trial that also demonstrated an ophthalmologic benefit. However, patients underwent a diet and exercise program, so the benefits of Pycnogenol® could not be isolated. In addition, the study was limited by the extremely selective sample: Participants had a mean age of about 52 years and had had a diabetes diagnosis for a mean of about 6.5 years, making them quite young at diagnosis. More important, patients with hypertension were excluded. It is actually somewhat surprising that they found 46 patients with diabetes for at least 4 years who were not hypertensive! Thus, it is not clear whether the results would apply to the more general diabetes patient.

The results suggest that further research into the potential benefits of Pycnogenol® is indeed warranted.

FDA Nukes Yet Another B.S. Weight Loss Pill…YES!

[ Sometimes I read an article so great I have to forward it to all my readers. This recent post by fitness expert Jon Benson is one of those articles. See if it doesn’t help you with your goals. Thanks! ]

I took a big, huge, massive sigh of relief today.

Finally… the FDA did something right when it comes to bogus “magic” diet-fatburn pills.

A panel of experts reviewed Vivus Inc.’s new wonder-pill “Qnexa” today.

They gave it the thumbs-down.

Why?

Oh… pesky little reported side-effects like… (are you ready for this?)…

Heart Attacks

Stroke

Increased Risk of Suicide (yikes!)

Memory/Concentration Loss

You know… “minor” stuff like that.

GEEZ. What the hell are these drug companies thinking?

Oh, right…

Quick-Fix =

Big-Bucks

Got it.

So, I am going to believe that YOU are much smarter than the morons who tried to get this drug past the FDA.

I’m going to assume you want a solution to this obesity pandemic and your own fatloss issues (if you have them) that do NOT involve risking your life for a thinner you.

“Oh, Marge… she looks so thin in her casket…”

THIS IS NOT A GOOD EULOGY! : )

Listen: I get it. I really do.

I’m an athlete and we are always looking for tricks to help increase our performance. But your body is simply too smart for these fatloss-pills people are trying to pass off as “a break-through medical discovery.”

Nonsense… more like heart-breaking medical waste of time.

One day… perhaps even in my lifetime… someone will invent a chemical that actually works to shed bodyfat without harming the body. That will be a great day for all of us.

Even so, I can all but promise you that this chemical will have its nasty side-effects and/or be limited in duration or power.

Nothing, repeat NOTHING you can pop in your mouth will give you the JOY that managing your dietplan and bodyweight can give you.

NOTHING!

It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world.

And here’s a fantastic clue for you: The reason we want to be thin is because of the FEELING it gives us. Most everything we do is based on feelings.

Quick-fixes negate the most powerful thing about feelings: Earning the right to have them!

Think of it this way: Would you feel more alive and powerful if you climbed a mountain or if you took a helicopter ride to the summit?

Sure, the helicopter is easy… but which is more personally rewarding?

Think of your own body transformation goals as your personal mountain to climb.

No helicopters… just really good guides (I volunteer) and solid climbing tools (like a great real-world dietplan, solid workouts that work WITH your schedule, and realistic but exciting goals.)

Your goals will become your base camps along your summit of your personal journey to the best you possible.

Color me silly, but I think that sounds FAR more empowering and rewarding that popping pills.

As you probably know I wrote one of the top books in the world on “real-world” weighttloss (spelled that way so the spambox won’t eat your email… : ) I made this dietary System as easy as possible… but NO plan is “easy” and there is NO quick-fixes out there without serious pricetags.

That said, I have some “rebel tricks” to share with you today… and they won’t put you six feet under before your time.

Just click on the page below and then click on “Articles”… then you’ll see it. It’s the first article, “3 Diet Secrets Revealed”.

Go here:

Video Plus Articles Homepage

You can’t sell this stuff in a bottle… but it works to get the bodyfat off and keep it off.

Remember:

Don’t Quit… Get Fit.

Sincerely,

J O N B E N S O N

—-> SPECIAL NOTE: On the article page above, be sure to read until the bottom. If you like that article you can now just click a button and share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or any number of cool sites.

The button looks like this:

P.S. If you pick up my dietplan (on the article page above) you’ll find in the Member’s Area three supplements that actually DO work to help you burn-off-fat… but they do not work like magic. They work like they’re supposed to: Realistically, and without harming your body. I take them. So should you.

[ More from Jon Benson in upcoming blogs… but you can get more info and some freebies by visiting Jon’s pages found in the article above or the banner below. Thanks! ]