Pine bark extract Pycnogenol effective in improving inner ear ailments, study finds

Could be used in the treatment of dizziness, ringing in the ear, hearing loss and unsteady balance

A natural extract from French maritime pine tree bark called Pycnogenal could significantly improve inner-ear blood flow, making it suitable for treating the symptoms of Meniere's disease, according to a new study published in the June issue of Minerva Medical.

Researchers found that nearly 90% of patients were free of all inner-ear-related symptoms, such as dizziness, ringing in the ear, hearing loss, inner-ear pressure and unsteady balance, within six months of supplementing their diet with Pycnogenol.

In the study conducted at the Chieti-Pescara University in Italy, researchers treated 107 patients between the ages of 35 and 55 who were diagnosed with Meniere's disease and suffering from tinnitus symptoms. All patients were managed with best available management (BM), which included anticholinergics, benzodiazepines, antihistamines, corticosteroids, low salt diet and avoidance of caffeine, alcohol or other stimulants. In addition, the Pycnogenol group took 150mg/day of the patented pine bark extract supplied by Horphag Research.

After six months of observation, nearly 90% (87.3%) of subjects in the Pycnogenol group were asymptomatic, compared with nearly 40% (34.6%) in the control group.

'The important effect of Pycnogenol on improving microcirculation makes it a safe and natural option for those seeking relief from the symptoms of Meniere's disease, including tinnitus,' said Gianni Belcaro, lead researcher of the study.

'Because Pycnogenol also has proven anti-inflammatory activity and antioxidant action, it may also help protect against the onset of tinnitus.'

Horphag Research (USA), based in Hoboken, New Jersey, is the North American distributor for the Pycnogenol brand of the pine bark extract.

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