Tree Bark Found to Improve Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Osteoarthritis of the knee affects millions and is one of the five leading causes of disability among the elderly. A recent study published in the journal Nutrition Research reveals Pycnogenol, an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, improved physical function by 52 percent in cases of patients suffering from osteoarthritis. The condition develops due to the gradual loss of cartilage elasticity that leads to it hardening and beginning to crack. As a result, the cartilege is more prone to damage and erosion by use or injury and often leads to pain, swelling, a decrease in joint motion, stiffness, or the formation of bone spurs. Current treatments include regular exercise and pain relievers such as NSAIDS and COX-2 inhibitor pills to relieve pain and stiffness. In severe cases, cortisone shots can decrease inflammation in the joint and extreme cases include joint replacement operations.

The study was conducted at the rheumatology department of Mashhad Medical University, Iran. Thirty five middle aged volunteers were randomly assigned a daily dose of Pycnogenol or placebo for three months. Patients were to report arthritic pain after 30, 60 and 90 days. After two months of supplementation, physical function and pain scores improved in the pycnogenol group. After 90 days, the pycnogenol group experienced a reduction of 43 percent in pain, 35 percent in stiffness, and 52 percent in physical function.

The placebo group showed no significant scores throughout the entire study. Head researcher, Dr. Ronald Watson claims, "Pycnogenol's natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties were responsible for delivering these excellent results. This study shows that supplementing with Pycnogenol can fight joint inflammation and sooth the pain and stiffness, thus paving the path for cartilage renewal with substances such as Glucosamine."


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