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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Little Rock, Arkansas » Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #151458

Title: PYCNOGENOL DOES NOT IMPACT THE ANTIOXIDANT OR VITAMIN C STATUS OF HEALTHY YOUNG ADULTS

Author
item SILLIMAN, KATHRYN
item PARRY, JOHN
item KIRK, LARRY
item Prior, Ronald

Submitted to: Journal Of The American Dietetic Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2002
Publication Date: 1/1/2003
Citation: SILLIMAN, K., PARRY, J., KIRK, L.L., PRIOR, R.L. PYCNOGENOL DOES NOT IMPACT THE ANTIOXIDANT OR VITAMIN C STATUS OF HEALTHY YOUNG ADULTS. JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION. 2003. v. 103(1). p. 67-72.

Interpretive Summary: Pycnogenol (Pyc) is a common dietary supplement. It is a water-processed extract made from fresh bark of the French maritime pine. Pyc consists of a complex mixture of phenolic and polyphenolic substances which have antioxidant activity. Polyphenolic compounds are an important part of the human diet because they are present in plant foods (vegetables, fruits, cereals, legumes, nuts) and beverages (wine, cider, beer, tea, cocoa). The objectives of this study were to determine if Pyc interacts with vitamin C to increase its concentration and if it is a potent antioxidant in vivo. Subjects (n = 27, 15 women, 12 men), aged 19 to 43 years, were recruited for the 4-week study. Subjects consumed a placebo twice daily with meals for the first 2 weeks and PYC (200 mg/day) for the second 2 weeks. On days 15 and 29, subjects had a fasting blood sample collected and then consumed a daily dose of placebo or PYC with a 310-calorie shake. One hour later a second blood sample was collected. Blood samples were analyzed for vitamin C and total antioxidant capacity (ORAC). There were no apparent increases in fasting vitamin C concentrations or ORAC values two weeks after supplementing the diet with PYC. One hour after the ingestion of a daily dose of placebo or PYC, the total antioxidant capacity of serum increased by 15-19%, but the increase after ingesting PYC was not significantly more than after placebo. The findings fail to support any interaction with vitamin C or antioxidant benefit in vivo at the doses used in this study.

Technical Abstract: The objectives of this study were to determine if Pycnogenol, a water-processed extract made from the bark of the French pine Pinus maritima, interacts with vitamin C to increase its concentration and if it is a potent antioxidant in vivo. A modified crossover design was used for the 4 week study. Subjects (n = 27, 15 women, 12 men), aged 19 to 43 years, were recruited from the population at California State University, Chico. Subjects consumed a placebo twice daily with meals for the first 2 weeks and Pycnogenol (PYC) (200 mg/day) for the second 2 weeks. On days 15 and 29, subjects had a fasting blood sample collected and then consumed a daily dose of placebo or PYC with a 310-calorie shake. One hour later a second blood sample was collected. Blood samples were analyzed for vitamin C using a HPLC method and total antioxidant capacity using the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) assay. Urine samples collected on days 14 and 28 were analyzed for total phenolics, FRAP (ferric reducing antioxidant potential) and ORAC. Differences in the mean vitamin C and ORAC values and mean changes in the ORAC values after ingesting a daily dose were compared statistically using the t-test. There was no apparent increase in fasting vitamin C concentration or ORAC values two weeks after supplementing the diet with PYC. One hour after the ingestion of a daily dose of placebo or PYC, the total antioxidant capacity of serum increased by 15-19%, but the increase after ingesting PYC was not significantly more than after placebo. The present findings fail to support the vitamin C or antioxidant claims made for Pycnogenol.