Study shows pine bark naturally reduces osteoarthritis knee pain

December 05, 2007

Affecting more than 10 million Americans, Osteoarthritis of the knee (OA) is one of the five leading causes of disability among the elderly. While OA mainly affects most people over 45, it can occur at any age. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the journal Nutrition Research reveals Pycnogenol, (pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, improved physical function by 52 percent in patients suffering from OA.

When OA develops, the cartilage gradually looses elasticity and begins to harden and crack, subsequently becoming more prone to damage and erosion by use or injury and often leads to pain, swelling, a decrease in motion at the joint, stiffness, or the formation of bone spurs (tiny growths of new bone). Current treatments include regular exercise and pain relievers such as NSAIDS and COX-2 inhibitor pills to help ease pain and stiffness. In more severe cases, cortisone shots can help decrease inflammation in the joint and extreme cases consist of joint replacement. There are currently no drugs that treat osteoarthritis directly.

Pycnogenol was chosen due to a history of studies of the extract to alleviate inflammation by inhibiting COX-1, COX-2 and the pro-inflammatory "master-switch" nuclear factor-kappa B,"said lead researcher Dr. Ronald Watson from the University of Arizona. Pycnogenol offers a safe nutritional approach to significantly reduce pain and improve physical function of arthritic joints. It controls inflammation and thus ideally complements existing strategies that comprise delivery of building blocks for replacement of degenerated cartilage.

The study was conducted at the rheumatology department of Mashhad Medical University, Iran. Thirty-five volunteers (average age 42) were randomly assigned a daily dose of Pycnogenol (50mg, 3 times a day) or placebo for three months. Patients were to report arthritic pain using the Western Ontario and McMasters Universities (WOMAC) Osteoarthritis Index after 30, 60 and 90 days. Participants also were instructed to indicate the frequency and dosage of NSAIDS and COX-2 inhibitor usage.

After two months of supplementation, physical function and pain scores improved in the Pycnogenol group. After three months in the Pycnogenol group, there was a reduction of 43 percent in pain, 35 percent in stiffness, 52 percent in physical function subscales and 49 percent composite WOMAC. The placebo group showed no significant scores throughout the entire study. Additionally, further reduction in the number of NSAIDS and COX-2 inhibitor pills and number of days taking medication was noted in the Pycnogenol group.

Pycnogenol's natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties were responsible for delivering these excellent results,"said Watson. This study shows that supplementing with Pycnogenol can fight joint inflammation and soothe the pain and stiffness, thus pave the path for cartilage renewal with substances such as glucosamine.

A previous study on Pycnogenol published in the Journal of Inflammation demonstrated that the ingredient effectively prevented inflammation disorders in patients by moderating the immune system response. While the wear and tear is responsible for the initial degeneration of cartilage, the more advanced stage of osteoarthritis involves inflammation. The cells of the cartilage (chondrocytes) respond to mechanical impact by generating pro-inflammatory molecules (cytokines). This process is initiated by the pro-inflammatory "master-switch" called NF-kappaB. Pycnogenol was shown to lower the sensitivity for NF-kappaB in humans last year.

The cytokines released from chondrocytes recruits immune cells (leukocytes) to the joints where they cause more harm than good. Leukocytes release harmful substances such as free radicals and enzymes that break down connective tissue and speed up the degeneration of cartilage. These processes alike are under control by NF-kappaB, and the effect of Pycnogenol to suppress NF-kappaB will help to limit the damage caused by leukocytes.

Researchers believe this study is the first randomized clinical trial to show Pycnogenol's effectiveness in alleviating the clinical symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. There are several more breakthrough studies on Pycnogenol and osteoarthritis expected to be published next year allowing for development of innovative, natural formulas for joint health.

Additionally, Horphag Research, the exclusive worldwide distributor of Pycnogenol has filed for several patents for Pycnogenol's application for COX-1, COX-2 and treating osteoarthritis.
-end-
About Pycnogenol

Pycnogenol is a natural plant extract originating from the bark of the maritime pine that grows along the coast of southwest France and is found to contain a unique combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids, which offer extensive natural health benefits. The extract has been widely studied for the past 35 years and has more than 220 published studies and review articles ensuring safety and efficacy as an ingredient. Today, Pycnogenol is available in more than 600 dietary supplements, multi-vitamins and health products worldwide. For more information, visit www.pycnogenol.com.

Natural Health Science Inc. (NHS), based in Hoboken, New Jersey, is the North American distributor for Pycnogenol (pic-noj-en-all) brand French maritime pine bark extract on behalf of Horphag Research. Pycnogenol is a registered trademark of Horphag Research Ltd., Guernsey, and its applications are protected by U.S. patents #5,720,956 / #6,372,266 and other international patents. NHS has the exclusive rights to market and sell Pycnogenol in North America and benefits from more than 35 years of scientific research assuring the safety and efficacy of Pycnogenol as a dietary supplement. For more information about Pycnogenol visit our Web site at www.pycnogenol.com.

MWW Group

Related Osteoarthritis Articles from Brightsurf:

Major savings possible with app-based osteoarthritis treatment
Osteoarthritis treatment conducted digitally via an app costs around 25% of what conventional care costs, according to a study from Lund University in Sweden published in the research journal PLOS ONE.

New approach to treating osteoarthritis advances
Injections of a natural 'energy' molecule prompted regrowth of almost half of the cartilage lost with aging in knees, a new study in rodents shows.

Bone drug may be beneficial for knee osteoarthritis
Bisphosphonates (a class of drugs that prevent the loss of bone density and used to treat osteoporosis and similar diseases) appear to be safe and beneficial for osteoarthritis patients.

Certain jobs linked to higher risk of knee osteoarthritis
Workers in jobs that typically involve heavy lifting, frequent climbing, prolonged kneeling, squatting, and standing face an increased risk of developing knee osteoarthritis.

App helps reduce osteoarthritis pain
By performing a few simple physical exercises daily, and receiving information about their disease regularly, 500 osteoarthritis patients were able to on average halve their pain in 6 months -- and improve their physical function.

Osteoarthritis can increase your risk for social isolation
In a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers examined information from the European Project on OSteoArthritis (EPOSA) study.

High rates of opioid prescriptions for osteoarthritis
Opioids work against severe pain but the risks of side effects and addiction are high.

Disease burden in osteoarthritis is similar to rheumatoid arthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA) has traditionally been viewed as a highly prevalent but milder condition when compared with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and some may believe that it is part of a normal aging process requiring acceptance, not treatment.

3D printing may help treat osteoarthritis
In a Journal of Orthopaedic Research study, scientists used 3D printing to repair bone in the joints of mini-pigs, an advance that may help to treat osteoarthritis in humans.

Finger joint enlargements may be linked to knee osteoarthritis
Heberden's nodes (HNs) are bony enlargements of the finger joints that are readily detectable in a routine physical exam and are considered hallmarks of osteoarthritis.

Read More: Osteoarthritis News and Osteoarthritis Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.