Defined as a cluster of health conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels, metabolic syndrome is a big factor in the risk of heart disease and premature death. One out of three Americans suffer from this health problem.
Fortunately, metabolic syndrome can be treated using natural pigments found in the bark of French maritime pine. These natural compounds are called oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs).
OPCs are strong anti-inflammatory compounds that counter systemic chronic inflammation. The antioxidant activity of OPCs allow them to prevent diseases caused by inflammation, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and of course, metabolic syndrome. (Related: French pine bark, gotu kola combo prevents the buildup of deadly heart plaque by 95%.)
In 2013, researchers from the Universita degli Studi "G. d'Annunzio" Chieti - Pescara (Ud'A) conducted an experiment using the bark of French maritime pine. They administered 150 milligrams of the pine bark extract to adult patients with metabolic syndrome on a daily basis. The trial period lasted for six months.
They found that taking the pine bark extract reduced the blood sugar levels of participants by more than 14 percent. They were also less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.
In addition, treated patients grew thinner around the waistline. This weight loss indicated a decrease in abdominal fat, which in turn reduced the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
The French maritime pine bark extract also lowered the patients' blood pressure and triglyceride levels. Conversely, the treatment increased the amounts of HDL or good cholesterol in their bodies.
Last but not least, the Ud'A researchers examined the antioxidant properties of the extract. Their results showed that the compound decreased oxidative stress levels by nearly 35 percent.
They concluded that the bark extract from the French maritime pine could manage blood sugar, blood pressure, and the accumulation of fats. The extract could also prevent the development of metabolic syndrome.
A lack of physical activity and high intake of calories are the primary causes of metabolic syndrome. Chronic inflammation is also believed to play a big part in the progression of the disease.
Oligomeric procyanidins are not limited to being antioxidants. They also possess anti-allergenic, anti-aging, anti-bacterial, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory effects.
They prevent inflammation by decreasing the expression of nuclear factor-kappa B. This protein is related to inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis.
OPCs benefit the cardiovascular system by lowering the level of C-reactive proteins (a potential risk factor for heart disease) and reducing plaques associated with atherosclerosis.
They also reduce the tendency of platelets to clump together in the bloodstream, thus decreasing the chance of a deadly blood clot forming inside a blood vessel. This is a boon for smokers who are prone to such clotting.
As demonstrated in the study, the bark extract could support the fragile endothelium lining found in blood vessels. It could also get small blood vessels to dilate further, improving the flow of blood in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases. The extract also increased the ability of the heart to pump blood and naturally lowered blood pressure with an effectiveness similar to pharmaceutical drugs.
It is advisable that metabolic disorder patients first consult with an integrative healthcare provider before trying out French maritime pine bark extract. It should not be taken with blood thinners.