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Dr. Tori Hudson, Portland, Oregon, Blog Healthline Blog

pine bark tree imageThe purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate the preventive effects of oral pine bark extract (Trademarked product: Pycnogenol®) 150 mg/daily in individuals with a history of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI).

Both men and women, the study subjects had to have had at least three symptomatic UTIs in the previous year, two episodes of which had to have occurred in the previous 6 months, and symptomatic UTI but not enough to show bacterial presence on a urinalysis.  The dose of Pycnogenol® was 150 mg/day for 2 months with 25 in the treatment group and 25 receiving no treatment.  There was about a 50% decrease in number of symptomatic episodes in the Pycnogenol group from 3.1 to 1.6 vs 3.22 to 2.9 in the control group in the 2 month period.

Commentary:  This study indicates some preventive or prophylaxis effect with Pycnogenol® in the occurrence of presumed UTIs in men and women.  There were no side effects from the product as well.  It is unfortunate that we cannot document the presence of bacteria and then a decline in bacteria…either from a microscopic analysis or a culture.  That would have made the study stronger.  They also measured oxidative stress which showed improvement with Pycnogenol®, indicating an inflammatory component without infection was improved by the Pycnogenol®.

This brings me to mention another study using Pycnogenol® for recurrent UTI and/or interstitial cystitis also from 2021. (A. Ledda, S. Hu, M. R., et al.  “Pycnogenol® Supplementation Prevents Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections/Inflammation and Interstitial Cystitis”, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2021, Article ID 9976299, 8 pages, 2021.)  This pilot study compared the prophylactic effects of Pycnogenol® or cranberry extract in individuals with recurrent UTI or interstitial cystitis (IC).  One group was given 150 mg/day Pycnogenol®, another was given 400 mg/day cranberry extract, and a group served as a control in a 2-month open follow-up. A total of 64 subjects completed the study.   All subjects had significant symptoms (minor pain, stranguria – a slow and painful spasmodic discharge of urine drop by drop, repeated need for urination, and lower, anterior abdominal pain) at the outset of the study.  The incidence of UTI symptoms, in comparison with baseline, decreased significantly; there was a more pronounced decrease in the rate of recurrent infections in the Pycnogenol® group and the improvement in patients supplemented with Pycnogenol® was significantly superior to the effects of cranberry. At the end of the study, all subjects in the Pycnogenol® group were infection-free (vs. cranberry). Significantly, more subjects were completely symptom-free after 2 months of management with Pycnogenol® (20/22) than with standard management (18/22) and cranberry at 400 mg (16/20).Pycnogenol logo

Reference: Cotellese R, Hu, S, Cesarone M, et al.  Pycnogenol® supplementation prevents inflammation and symptoms in recurrent, non-severe urinary infections.  Panminerva Med. 2021 Sep;63(3):343-348.

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