Pycnogenol - Erectile Dysfunction and Heart
Pycnogenol is one of several supplements that has good evidence for its ability
to improve erectile dysfunction. Pycnogenol, a patented water extract from
the bark of specific type of pine tree in southwestern France, is a Nitric Oxide
"booster". Of course,
many foods are erection-promoting Nitric Oxide
boosters. Pycnogenol, while not a food, is an example of another plant-based
blood flow builder.
According to history, Pycnogenol got its start from a group of French sailors
who were nursed back to health from pine bark prepared by the local natives (I
believe along the St. Lawrence in Canada). Regardless of how true the
story is, the natives were probably centuries ahead of their time as pine bark
is loaded with antioxidants and other remarkable phytochemicals. Pycnogenol has had
stellar research results, including its ability to pump up your erectile
strength. (See also
How To Improve Erectile Dysfunction
Naturally through foods.)
The study that put pycnogenol on the map in the fight against erectile dysfunction was one where
a cohort of men (with erectile dysfunction of course) were given
a combination of 1.7 G L-Arginine per day along side 2X40 mg doses of
Pycnogenol.  L-Arginine is also a Nitric Oxide booster and the study
showed that the two in combination significantly improved the erectile
dysfunction of most of the men involved in the study. Several follow up
studies have shown that varying combinations of Pycnogenol (40-120 mg daily) and
L-Arginine (1.7 - 3.0 grams daily) result in 70-90% of men having restored
erections and with no side effects. 
So how does Pycnogenol work its magic and improve erectile dysfunction??
It's primary pathway is probably by directly boosting Nitric Oxide as mentioned
above. A 2007 study found that 180 mg daily of pycnogenol increased
arterial expansion by 42 percent in young healthy males that were actually given
an inhibitor of L-Arginine.  This means that Pycnogenol led to significant
release of Nitric Oxide and that is exactly what you need to improve your
Second of all, one recent study showed that patients taking 200 mg of Pycnogenol
per day for just five days reduced several key markers of inflammation. 
A study from the same year found that Pycnogenol inhibited the COX-1 and COX-2
inflammatory enzymes. 
It is worth noting that COX-2 inhibition was the goal of the NSAID drug
Vioxx that was pulled off the market by Merck: it did cardiovascular
damage to around 140,000 seniors during its infamous tenure by causing increased
fluid retention and high blood pressure. Many of these individuals could have
taken Pycnogenol which is now a clinically proven osteoarthritis-fighter. 
156 patients with knee osteo-arthritis were given 100 mg of Pycnogenol for three
months and experienced an average 56% reduction in symptoms including pain
reduction, improved ability to exercise and decreased edema.
Thirdly, not only does Pycnogenol not cause all those Vioxx-ish symptoms, it actually
lowers Blood Pressure
according to a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study performed in
mildly hypertensive patients. 
And blood pressure, you may remember, is one of the number one causes of
Erectile Dysfunction, so this is yet another way that pycnogenol battles
Fourthly, sometimes venous insufficiency - a sort of Leaky Vein Syndrome - is
one of the root causes for erectile dysfunction. One study found just that:
12% of patients studies had documentable venous insufficiency. 
Pycnogenol has been found to greatly help those with, at least, advanced venous
insufficiency. In fact, it was so powerful that at a daily dose of 150 mg,
it actually beat out a medication typically prescribed for this condition. 
Also, if you already have high blood pressure, Pycnogenol has been found to help
protect you from the damage that it does to your heart. 
High Blood Pressure
is very hard on many parts of the body, including the brain and various
organs including the heart. Pycnogenol has also been shown to protect people
from the edema that sometimes results from their medications.  In
other words, Pycnogenol may not only help you to improve your erectile
dysfunction, but it may buy you time to get to the root of your
The only downside to Pycnogenol is that it is patented, which tends to keep the
price higher than many supplements. This is good, because the company apparently
very carefully watches quality control which shows in their stellar research results. You can also save quite a bit by going through an online discounter such
TwinLabs Pycnogenol Capsules, 50 Mg, 60-Count Bottle.
If you want to follow what was done in the studies, just couple between 1 and 3
of the above tablets daily (50 mg - 150 mg daily) with about 1.5 grams of
L-Arginine. You can get L-Arginine very reasonably at either Walmart or Amazon:
I do also want to mention that Pynogenol is very likely skin protective as well.
Collagen is the backbone, if you will, of your skin and Pycnogenol has been
shown to protect and even reconstruct collagen fibers in aging or damaged
connective tissue. Pycnogenol also reportedly protects Vitamin C, which is
also a collagen rebuilder. So Pycnogenol will not just help improve your
sex life through improving your erectile dysfunction - it will also very likely
improve your already dashing good looks while it is at it.
By the way, a hot tip that you can pass on to the woman in your life and score a
few points is that pynogenol has been found to relieve the symptoms of
menstruation at least in one recent study. Much of the pain associated
with menstruation is believed to be associated with inflammation and Pycnogenol,
30 mg twice daily in this case, helped significantly with this woman's issue.
CAUTION: The only caution that I have about Pycnogenol is that the
studies all couple it with L-Arginine, which has some potential issues.
However, the dosages of L-Arginine used in the Pycnogenol erectile-dysfunction
studies are all relatively low dose (1.5 g - 3.0 g). Read my link on
L-Arginine for more details.
Some studies have shown L-Arginine helps directly.
Still other research with L-Arginine have produced lackluster results.
one study of healthy males showed no increased blood flow from 20
g/day, which is a very large dosage .
Similar results were achieved in
patients were discovered in
patients with heart failure as well.  So the bottom line seems to be that
L-Arginine, to work effectively, need a solid Nitric Oxide booster.
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2) J Inflamm (Lond),2006 Jan 27,3:1
3) Biomed Pharmacother,2006 Jan,60(1):5-9
4) J Phytotherapy Research, April 2008, 22(4)
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6) J Reprod Med, 2004, (49)10:828-832
7) Hypertension Res, Oct 2007, 30:775-780
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9) Clin and Appl Thrombosis/Hemostasis, 2004, (10)4:373-377
10) Urologe A, 1989 Jan, 28(1):48-53
11) Clin and Appl Thrombosis/Hemostasis, 2006, (12)211) Clin and Appl Thrombosis/Hemostasis, 2006, (12)2:205-212. See also
Phytomedicine, 2000 Oct, 7(5):383-8.
12) Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, Jul 1996, 28(1):158-166, "Effects of
In Vivo and In Vitro L-Arginine Supplementation on Healthy Human Vessels"
13) J Am Coll Cardiol, 1996; 27:1207-1213, "Dietary supplementation with
L-arginine fails to restore endothelial function in forearm resistance arteries
of patients with severe heart failure"