A new study has revealed that Pycnogenol, an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, improves kidney function in patients with metabolic syndrome.
In patients with metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure and blood glucose gradually impair kidney function, which in turn affects the organ`s ability to filter waste from the body.
"The results of this study demonstrate Pycnogenol`s ability not only to control hypertension, but also to restore kidney function in those impacted by metabolic syndrome. Surprisingly, people taking Pycnogenol not only demonstrated lower blood glucose levels, but also significant weight loss during the six months, yielding optimistic results for managing this condition," said Dr. Peter Rohdewald, a lead researcher of the study.
The controlled study carried out at the Nephrology Unit at the L`Aquila Hospital in Italy investigated 58 hypertensive patients who presented all of the criteria for diagnosis of metabolic syndrome, as defined by the World Health Organization: hypertension, high blood lipids, high fasting blood glucose and obesity. Furthermore, all patients showed early signs of kidney problems as judged by elevated amounts of proteins (albumin) present in their urine.
Patients were divided into two groups and instructed to follow a healthier lifestyle with dietary improvements, moderate exercise and effective management of health risk factors. Both groups were treated with anti-hypertensive medication Ramipril, taking a standard dosage of 5 mg twice a day, with one group of 31 patients taking Pycnogenol in addition to the medication.
In the group taking Pycnogenol, 50 mg Pycnogenol tablets were taken three times a day, a total dosage of 150 mg of Pycnogenol per day. Urine was collected during a 24-hour period for quantification of the protein albumin in the urine at baseline and again after six months of treatment. Fasting blood was drawn for standard blood analysis. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate were monitored in the morning.
"The number of people affected by metabolic syndrome is ever increasing and kidney disease is a growing concern. Pycnogenol cannot compensate for an unhealthy lifestyle, but certainly offers some urgently needed help. Our study suggests that essentially all major characteristics of metabolic syndrome are improved with Pycnogenol as part of a healthier lifestyle," said Rohdewald.
A study has been published in the issue of Panminerva Medica .