Pine bark extract doesn’t reduce risk for heart disease

Pine bark extract, a popular supplement with antioxidant properties, does not help reduce blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors, according to a study in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine randomly assigned 130 people with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease to take 200 mg of pine bark extract or a placebo once a day for 12 weeks. Blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors such as cholesterol and blood sugar levels were measured at the start of the study and at 6 and 12 weeks.

The blood pressure for the 66 participants taking the placebo pills fell more than for those taking the supplement, although the difference was not statistically significant. Nor was there a significant difference between the two groups in the other measures of cardiovascular risk.

The researchers concluded that pine bark extract at the dosage used in the study “was not associated with improvement in cardiovascular risk factors. … Our results are consistent with a general failure of antioxidants to demonstrate cardiovascular benefits.”

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