HOBOKEN, N.J.Pycnogenol, a natural antioxidant plant extract from French maritime pine tree bark, may significantly improve inner-ear blood flow, making it a natural option for those seeking relief from symptoms of Meniere's disease. (Minerva Medica 2014 June;105(3):245-54)
Some of the symptoms that can be relieved by Pycogenol include dizziness, ringing in the ear, hearing loss, inner-ear pressure and unsteady balance. These chronic symptoms can affect quality of life and result in missed work days, falls and lead to depression.
"More than 50 million Americans suffer from Meniere's disease and tinnitus, and because symptoms are often varied and inconsistent, these inner-ear issues are difficult to diagnose and treat," said Dr. Steven Lamm, a physician and nutritional medicine expert. "Building on previous research, this study suggests that Pycnogenol is a safe and natural option that may bring significant relief to those suffering from these conditions within a relatively short period of time."
In the study, conducted at the Italian Chieti-Pescara University, researchers treated and monitored 107 patients between the ages of 35 and 55 years who were diagnosed with Meniere's disease and suffering from symptoms like tinnitus. 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 to BM treatments, the Pycnogenol group supplemented with 150 mg/day of the patented pine bark extract. Results were recorded based on observational and reported scales for symptoms such as tinnitus, feeling of pressure and unsteady gait.
Inner-ear blood flow velocity was measured using a high-resolution, linear imaging probe. At baseline, flow velocity at the level of the affected ear was significantly lower in comparison with the other ear, showing cochlear hypoperfusion.
There was more significant improvement in all registry items at both three and six months in the Pycnogenol group as compared to the control group. After six months of observation, 87.3 percent of subjects in the Pycnogenol group were asymptomatic, as compared to just more than 34.6 percent in the control group.
Over the course of six months, researchers also found Pycnogenol to:
"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."
This study confirms previous findings from the catalog of research on tinnitus and inner-ear ailments, including a 2010 study that found Pycnogenol to be effective to significantly relieve tinnitus symptoms by improving blood flow in the inner ear.