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Upcoming research in the Journal of Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice reveals that Pycnogenol (pik-naw-jin-all) that many-talented extract of pine tree, is 190 times more effective than the prescription medicine acarbose (Precose) in slowing uptake of glucose after a meal, thereby preventing after-meal glucose spikes.
Slows Glucose Uptake After Eating
The study, conducted at University of Wurzburg, Germany, by Dr. Petra Hogger, found that Pycnogenol worked by inhibiting the intestinal enzyme alpha-glucosidase, which breaks down complex carbohydrates such as starch and table sugar into glucose molecules.
The high levels of procyanidins (flavonoids) in Pycnogenol are particularly good at inhibiting alpha–glucosidase. As a result, meal carbohydrates break down into glucose slowly and enter the bloodstream more steadily, over a longer period of time. This prolongs a feeling of fullness and reduces after-meal glucose spikes.
In two prior 2004 studies, Pycnogenol was found to lower blood sugar levels in type 2 patients. In March 2004, Diabetes Care showed that supplement with Pycnogenol lowered after-meal and fasting blood glucose. The October issue of Life Sciences demonstrated further lowering of blood glucose in patients already taking acarbose and metformin.
The Special Sauce
Pycnogenol is extracted from the bark of maritime pine trees that grow on the coast of southwest France and contain a unique combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids, and organic acids. Bioflavonoids, which are also found in fruits, help vitamin C function as an antioxidant. Pycnogenol contains a group of bioflavonoids called proanthocyanidins.
And It Helps Retinopathy Too!
Proanthocyanidins have been shown to increase the elasticity of capillaries, the small blood vessels found in the retina, thereby improving circulation.
In France, Pycnogenol is the number one prescription for retinopathy, the diabetes-caused damage to blood vessels in the retina that can lead to blindness.
According to a study in Phytotherapy Research (15; 1-5; 2001), thirty people with diabetic retinopathy were treated with 50-mg dosages of Pycnogenol three times per day for two months. Another ten people were treated with a placebo. The researchers found that Pycnogenol had a beneficial effect on retinopathy, while the placebo group’s retinopathy worsened. Another study, published in the journal Ophthalmic Research in 1996, demonstrated Pycnogenol’s beneficial effects in cow and pig retinas.
More than 220 studies and reviews have been published about Pycnogenol’s salutary effects, and it is available in more than 600 supplements. The recommended daily dosage of Pycnogenol is one to two 30-mg tablets.
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.