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From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Pycnogenol ???
Date: 29 Oct 1996

In <5549fk$> writes:

>Can someone tell me what pycnogenol does and is it worth the cost?

   Benzopyrones (the proanthocyanidins in pycnogenol and grapeseed, and
related compounds in silymarin and many other "bioflavonoid" type
preparations, such as rutin) primarily act to reduce edema caused by
protein leaking out of capilaries.  They do this by action on the
capillaries, and also (perhaps mainly) by stimulating macrophages which
deal directly with the exudated proteins (proteases).  Edema is a
component of inflammation, the final common pathway of many, many,
painful and degenerative conditions.  For these conditions the
benzopyrones are somewhat helpful symptomatically, and perhaps even
operate directly on some of the secondary "causes" of the problems in
the diseases.  Edema, after all, is not just a benign secondary effect.
 It can be painful, and there is evidence that it also influences the
pathology in everything from injury to autoimmune problems.

   As for whether or not grape seed extract (cheaper than Pycnogenol)
is worth what you pay for it, you'll have to try it and see.  So far as
I can tell, it's harmless, and has not significant dangerous
interactions with any other medication.

                                                  Steve Harris, M.D.

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