A new study to be published in an upcoming edition of the journal of Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice reveals that French maritime pine tree extract known as Pycnogenol® (pic-noj-en-all) delays the uptake of glucose from a meal 190 times more than prescription medications, preventing the typical high-glucose peak in the blood stream after a meal. The study revealed the pine bark is more potent for suppressing carbohydrate absorption in diabetes than synthetic prescription alpha-glucosidase inhibitors such as Precose®.
"Diabetes mellitus type II is a serious disease with rising prevalence," said Dr. Petra Högger, a lead researcher of this study. "This study is crucial for those suffering with the disease because it affirms that Pycnogenol® is more effective than prescription medication Precose® and supports the abundance of other research done on Pycnogenol® and diabetes."
The study was conducted at the University of Wurzburg Germany. Dr. Högger investigated the interaction of Pycnogenol® with the enzyme alpha-glucosidase, which breaks down carbohydrates in a meal. Results revealed Pycnogenol® is 190 times more potent for inhibition of alpha-glucosidase than the synthetic inhibitor acarbose, a common prescription medication for treatment of type II diabetes (sold in Europe under the name Glucobay® and the United States under the name Precose™).
Pycnogenol® was shown to inhibit the intestinal enzymes (alpha-glucosidase) involved in the digestion of complex carbohydrates such as starch and normal table sugar. The alpha-glucosidase breaks down carbohydrates into glucose molecules which are then absorbed into the blood stream.
"The high concentration of procyanidins (flavonoids) found in Pycnogenol® is responsible for demonstrating these excellent results," said Högger. According to Högger, the large procyanidin molecules were found to be particularly active for inhibiting the activity of alpha-glucosidase, thus demonstrating such notable results. "The carbohydrates enter the blood stream steadily over prolonged periods of time, which make meals last longer and prolong satiety."
In two separate studies conducted in 2004, Pycnogenol® was found to significantly lower blood sugar levels in type II diabetes patients. A study published in the March 2004 edition of Diabetes Care revealed that patients who supplemented with Pycnogenol® experienced lower blood sugar after meals and lower fasting blood sugar. Another study published in the October edition of Life Sciences revealed a significantly further lowered blood glucose level in patients who supplemented with Pycnogenol® while continuing their anti-diabetic medication with acarbose and metformin.
This study opens new avenues for product development of Pycnogenol® in the field of diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity. "With seven percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes, more than one in five people afflicted with metabolic syndrome, and 60 million U.S. adults considered obese, finding natural and safe options for managing these conditions and improving quality of life is a priority," said Högger.
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.
Melanie Nimrodi | EurekAlert!
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