Pycnogenol softens menopause problems
Pycnogenol reduces menopause problems. All menopause problems. Gynaecologists at Ham-Ming Hospital in Taiwan drew this conclusion after giving 75 women aged between 45 and 55 a daily dose of 200 mg Pycnogenol.
The researchers gave 75 women, who were all going through menopause, 2 capsules each containing 100 mg Pycnogenol spread over the day. A control group of 80 women took a placebo. The researchers do not make it clear in their publication how they came up with the idea of giving Pycnogenol to menopausal women.
The Taiwanese researchers asked the subjects to complete the Women's Health Questionnaire before, during and after supplementation. This is a standardised list of questions that doctors use to measure the extent to which women suffer from typical menopause symptoms. The women answer the questions with the following scores:
1 = heavy discomfort ; 2 = clear discomfort; 3 = little discomfort; 4 = no discomfort.
The women in the placebo group experienced little change throughout the study.
The women who took Pycnogenol on the other hand did experience an improvement of all symptoms. Scores improved for depression, hot flashes, sex, concentration, restlessness and sleep. To be honest, it seems too good to be true, but never mind.
Pycnogenol supplementation also lowered 'bad cholesterol' LDL levels by 10 percent. The concentration of the 'good cholesterol' HDL rose in the Pycnogenol group, but not by a statistically significant amount.
The researchers don't think that Pycnogenol has an oestrogenic effect. Instead, they suspect that the positive effects they recorded are due to the effect of Pycnogenol on the blood vessel walls. Pycnogenol boosts the concentration of nitrogen monoxide, NO, in the blood vessel walls, making the blood vessels suppler. Before menopause it is estradiol that regulates the concentration of nitrogen monoxide in the blood vessels, but after the menopause the ovaries stop producing estradiol. Supplementation with Pycnogenol can partly compensate for this decrease in estradiol.
"Pycnogenol may offer an alternative method to reducing climacteric symptoms without unwanted effects", the researchers conclude.
The study was funded by the hospital where the researchers work.
Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2007;86(8):978-85.
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