Erectile dysfunction is an embarrassing condition to those who suffer from it, and as a result, there tend to be a great many drugs and treatments that offer solutions to the problem.
From the aptly, if somewhat crudely named, ‘horny-goat weed’ to ‘royal jelly’, there are plenty of products that claim to be able to solve the issue – but few of them bear up under scrutiny. Two products that have been found to work are the amino acid L-arginine and pine bark extract, both of which have been strongly proven to work.
Pine Bark Extract Functions
Pine bark Extract contains strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and also helps with the absorption of nitrogen into the bloodstream. All of these characteristics can help with heart health, and pine bark extract lowers blood pressure and aids with the treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is believed that more health benefits of pine bark extract will be discovered as research continues.
French sailors in western Canada are believed to be the first to document the use of pine bark, after locals used it to treat the sailors’ scurvy and return them to health. Research into pine bark extract has been on-going since the 1970s. Increases in libido and sexual function have been reported by couples taking the supplement.
Erectile Dysfunction and Pine Bark Extract
Given the early positive results, pine bark extract has been widely studied and researched with regard to the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
Forty men, aged between 25 and 40, were studied in a fertility clinic in the Bulgarian city of Sofia1. Every day for three months, the men took a measured amount of L-arginine and aspartic acid dipeptide (the latter to aid with the absorption of the amino acid). For the second month of the trial, the participants also took 400 milligrams of pine bark extract, twice a day.
For the third month another 40 milligram dose of the extract was added, bringing the daily total up to 120 milligrams. The pine bark extract used was a patented formulation naturally extracted from the Mediterranean pine, known as Pycnogenol. The results, published in 2003, are comprehensive and promising.
It had already been shown that sexual dysfunction in men could be eased in 70 to 90 per cent of cases by taking a combination of L-arginine and pine bark extract. The Belgian project saw little effect from just taking the amino acid and dipeptide, with only two subjects reporting the recovery of sexual function.
After the second month, a full 80 per cent of the men regained their ability to have erections, a figure which increased to 92.5 per cent after the third month. There were no reported side effects at all.
The Effect of Pine Bark Extract on Sexual Function
Poor sexual performance is often caused by poor blood circulation through the vessels in the penis, which can prevent erections. This can be caused by cardiovascular issues and also by inflammation in the blood vessels. Pine bark extract improves blood flow and reduces inflammation simultaneously; thereby doubly improving the chances of regaining normal sexual health.
In a similar study in Japan, at Hiroshima University, researchers found that 180 milligrams of pine bark extract, in combination with L-arginine, boosted vasodilation by 42 per cent2. The Bavarian Julius-Maximilians University found that pine bark extract could reduce inflammation in just five days3.
The Bavarian institute also found that pine bark extract works to reduce pain and inflammation by inhibiting COX-1 and COX-2 (forms of cyclooxygenase) in the same way that aspirin and ibuprofen do, making it a natural analgesic4.
Why Combine L-Arginine with Pine Bark Extract?
Inflammation can deplete the body’s store of L-arginine. This directly affects blood pressure as L-arginine relaxes artery walls boosting blood flow. Combining the benefits of both substances can provide a reliable and natural answer to erectile dysfunction, with the added benefit of no side effects.
- “Stanislavov, R., et al, ” Treatment of erectile dysfunction with pycnogenol and L -arginine “, J Sex Marital Ther 2003 May-Jun, 29 (3 ), pp. 207-213” ↩
- “Nishioka, Kenji , et . al, “Pycnogenol French Maritime Pine Bark Extract, Augments Endothelium-Dependent Vasodilation in Humans,” Hypertension Research (2007 ) 30, pp. 775-780” ↩
- “Högger, P., et al., “Inhibition of NF -kappaB activation and MMP -9 secretion by plasma of human volunteers after ingestion of maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol), J Inflamm (Lond). 2006 January 27, Epub ahead of print published” ↩
- “Högger, P., et al., “Inhibition of COX -1 and COX -2 activity by plasma of human volunteers after ingestion of French maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol),” Biomed Pharmacother, 2006 Jan, published Epub ahead of print” ↩