A new study, published in Panminerva Medica, found Pycnogenol French maritime pine bark extract to significantly relieve and prevent symptoms associated with restless legs syndrome (RLS). Pycnogenol is an extract originating from the bark of the maritime pine that grows along the coast of southwest France and contains a combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids, and phenolic acids.

“Restless legs syndrome is often missed or dismissed in diagnosis, but it’s a real health condition often rooted in microcirculation,” says Pycnogenol spokesperson Fred Pescatore, MD, in a release. 

The study involved 45 participants with restless legs syndrome. Twenty-one supplemented with 150 mg of Pycnogenol per day, while the other 24 followed a standard management routine. After four weeks, subjects in the Pycnogenol group showed significant improvement in all prominent symptoms of restless legs syndrome, including:

  • 33% decrease in crawling (versus 3% decrease in control group)
  • 30% decrease in creeping (versus 7% decrease in control group)
  • 41% decrease in pulling (versus 7% decrease in control group)
  • 63% decrease in throbbing (versus 6% decrease in control group)
  • 72% decrease in aching (versus 3% decrease in control group)
  • 48% decrease in itching (versus 10% decrease in control group)
  • 52% decrease in electric shock sensations (versus 17% decrease in control group)
  • 61% decrease in sleep problems (versus 16% decrease in control group).

After four weeks, the need for pain management was also significantly reduced for those in the Pycnogenol group.

“Even when restless legs syndrome is properly diagnosed, medication to treat the condition includes pharmaceuticals that increase dopamine in the brain, resulting in side effects like nausea and sleepiness. Opioids or narcotic medications may be used to relieve more severe symptoms and can be extremely addictive,” says Pescatore.

Pycnogenol is available in more than 1,000 dietary supplements and health products worldwide. 

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