Study shows daily use of Pycnogenol can improve attention span, decision making and memory for baby boomers

Natural pine bark extract found to help boost overall cognitive performance, including daily decision making and stress management, for those older than 55

New research delivers exciting news for baby boomers - people aged 55-70 - and those seeking natural ways to boost daily mental performance. A new study published in the Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences shows daily use of Pycnogenol, a natural plant extract from French maritime pine tree bark, may help improve attention span, memory, daily decision making and the ability to manage people and finances, as well as overall cognitive function.

The year long, peer-reviewed study conducted at Chieti-Pescara University in Italy and published in the December 2015 Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences, included 77 participants between 55-70 years of age, all of whom were generally fit and followed a healthy lifestyle but, had high levels of oxidative stress.

'Cognitive function continues to be a health priority, especially for my boomer patients," said physician and nutritional medicine expert, Dr Fred Pescatore. 'This research is good news to those seeking safe and scientifically supported natural options for daily cognitive function. What I found compelling about this study is the measurable effect Pycnogenol had on the adult participants in relation to memory, attention span and ability to manage everyday tasks. Those who took Pycnogenol in this study reported feeling more focused while making decisions and stronger when it came to tasks like dealing with people and managing finances.'

According to a survey conducted by the CDC (2013), one in eight boomers report confusion and memory loss more often. Of these people, one third reported that confusion or memory loss interfered with their work, social activities or ability to do household chores.

In the university study, 38 participants supplemented Pycnogenol 50mg/twice daily in combination with a controlled health plan; 39 participants in the control group followed the controlled health plan alone. The health plan involved a regular sleep regimen of at least 8 hours per night, balanced meals with reduced caffeine, salt and sugar intake, and regular exercise.

Although there is no single solution to improved cognitive function, lifestyle patterns - including adequate amounts of sleep, diet and daily exercise routines - have shown to increase attention span and improve mood. In the study, after 12 months of daily supplementation with Pycnogenol, results were shown to

  • significantly improve daily decision making (72% improvement with Pycnogenol/-5% with control)
  • measurably improve attention span (41.2% improvement with Pycnogenol/1.9% with control)
  • significantly decrease oxidative stress (-28% decrease with Pycnogenol/no significant variation in control)
  • significantly improve memory (37.3% improvement with Pycnogenol/-9.8% with control)
  • boost ability to deal with people (57% increase with Pycnogenol/-5% with control)
  • strengthen ability to manage finances (32% increase with Pycnogenol/-12% with control).

'As we found with previous research indicating the effectiveness of Pycnogenol on improving some cognitive function aspects, this standardised antioxidant showed measurable positive effects on memory, attention and daily task-related decision making. We continue to see a significant performance with Pycnogenol in reducing oxidative stress and how that factors into improving overall cognitive function. This research adds to a body of science for Pycnogenol, demonstrating its benefits for adults, ages 55 and older,' said Dr Gianni Belcaro, lead researcher of the study.

Results of the study were measured using an Informant Questionnaire on Cognitive Decline in the elderly (IQ Code), daily tasks, cognitive function, oxidative stress and the short Blessed tests (SBT) to evaluate cognitive functions (COFU).

Dr Pescatore also noted study findings on improving mood and quality of sleep. 'Intriguingly, the sleeping score of participants increased by 72% in this study, indicating a measurable improvement in sleep quality. As science shows, the better quality of sleep we get, the better cognitive function we have as we age,' said Pescatore.

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