From Natural Products Insider, November 23, 2010. Posted April 9, 2012.
CHICAGO—Pycnogenol® can reduce costs for some of the 23.6 million American diabetes patients by reducing the amount or need for pharmaceutical drugs, according to Ronald R. Watson, Ph.D., professor, The University of Arizona, at the Natural Health Research Institute’s (NHRI) symposium on the cost effectiveness and safety of dietary supplements on Nov. 18, 2010.
Watson, one of the authors of a study on Pycnogenol’s reduction of cardiovascular risk factors (Zibadi et al., Nutr Res 2008;28:315-320), said the standardized extract from the bark of French maritime pine (Pinus maritima) offers a number of beneficial effects in the cardiovascular system, including reducing hypertension, improving endothelial function and nitric oxide (NO) production, slowing sugar absorption, prolonging satiety and lowering blood glucose levels.
The heart health benefits can reduce costs for millions of American diabetes patients by reducing the amount or need for pharmaceutical drugs, he said. Watson’s double blind, placebo controlled, 12-week study, studied 48 type 2 diabetes patients (40-75 years) who were on diabetes medication (sulfonylurea, metformin or glitazones), but still had high fasting blood glucose levels (>140 mg/dL). The patients were medicated with ACE-inhibitors, but remained borderline hypertensive (average baseline systolic blood pressure 137 mmHg).
He and his fellow researchers found Pycnogenol reduced fasting blood glucose by 16.7 percent, blood glucose levels by 10 percent, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by 12 percent, artery constriction by 17.8 percent and urinary albumin levels by 25 percent (signifies improved kidney function). At the end of the trial, 58.3 percent of the patients had a healthy blood pressure.
Watson then provided a cost analysis of Pycnogenol versus common diabetes drugs. Pycnogenol’s yearly cost of $223 was much lower than that of Ramipril ($608), Pravastatin ($608) and Nifedipine ($913). He added the side effects of Pycnogenol are quite minimal compared to these other drugs.
Pycnogenol, a natural product, can offer similar heart health benefits at a reduced cost to pharmaceutical drugs and should be considered as a treatment for those who suffer from diabetes, he concluded.