Nature’s potential benefits for menopause: Study says pycnogenol might ease hair loss
02 Feb 2023 --- The Mediterranean pine tree bark antioxidant pycnogenol has shown the potential to improve hair density in menopausal women. Extracted from the bark of the Maritime pine, which grows on the southwest coast of France, the extract is said to offer extensive natural health benefits as it contains bioflavonoids, procyanidins and phenolic acids.
“Hormonal changes during menopause can affect hair growth rate, hair diameter and diameter distribution. Scalp hair density often decreases with age, leading to a heightened perception of hair thinning,” says Dr. Fred Pescatore, author and renowned natural physician.
“Poor hair quality can have a significant psychological impact and may lead to increased anxiety and depression,” he notes.
Pescatore details that for women seeking hair health support and those frustrated by hair loss during menopause or a continued pattern of hair thinning, this study reveals a new application for an ingredient that has proven antioxidant and circulatory benefits, in addition to its already established benefits for skin care and other menopausal effects.
Differences between groups
The study included 63 menopausal women between the ages of 45 to 60. Of these, 33 consumed 150 mg of pycnogenol daily, and the remaining 30 got a placebo.
The findings showed that the intervention group received a significant increase in hair density and improved scalp microcirculation, while reducing transepidermal water loss (TEWL) – water that passes through the skin to moisturize the outer cells.
Measured at the start of the trial, two and six months in, hair density increased by 30% in the first two months and a 23% increase after six months.
The researchers say that the control group also experienced increased hair density, although the results were insignificant.
Regarding microcirculation at the scalp, the researchers analyzed blood volume variations. They found that the observed hair density increase was associated with decreased resting flux on the skin. Additionally, the more prolonged supplementation was used, the less resting flux was observed – a 21% decrease after two months and a 44% decrease after six months.
Lastly, the TEWL saw a decrease in the scalp skin among the intervention group and not in the control group. Measured with a Vapometer, after two months, the pycnogenol-consuming group saw a 2.5 decreased TEWL value, while the control group saw a 6.0 increase. Six months in, the intervention group saw an increase of 1.0 and the control group an increase of 4.8.
“This study included various complex and sophisticated measurement tools, which embeds an added layer of trust in the results of this study for those looking for a natural path to address female pattern hair loss or overall hair health,” says Pescatore.
The pine tree in science
In a Belgium-based study, the pine tree bark has previously demonstrated effects on pediatric Attention-Deficit Hyper Disorder (ADHD). The natural extract may help manage impulsivity and hyperactivity in young children and provide an alternative to the typical treatment, methylphenidate hydrochloride (MPH).
Additionally, a recent US-based study, also led by Pecatore, found potential benefits for Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS).
“RLS is often missed or dismissed in diagnosis, but it’s a real health condition rooted in microcirculation. Many patients feel helpless and unheard because the symptoms seem exaggerated or imagined,” he explained, and detailed that “it’s not in your head, it’s in your legs.”
Further studies in natural remedies for menopause have been called for as they are “infrequently included among pharmaceutical and herbal treatments for menopausal symptoms.”
Pointing to the fact that every menopausal woman is different, putting this transition that all women go through in the context of aging and inflammatory research offers a departure from the conventional idea that menopause is a sickness that has to be “cured.”
“Pycnogenol is a leading ingredient for circulation, healthy skin, joint health and more, supported as safe and effective by 40 years of research. This study reveals a new application of an effective ingredient with powerful antioxidant properties to benefit hair quality,” Pescatore concludes.
Edited by Beatrice Wihlander
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