Arizona College of Public Health Study Conducted in Iran Indicates Pycnogenol® Helpful in the Management of Asthma
A pilot study at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman Arizona College of Public Health provides evidence that a trademarked extract of French maritime pine bark, Pycnogenol®, can be helpful in managing chronic asthma. The study was designed and approved by the Human Subjects Committee at the Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
Twenty-six patients, who had been referred to the Mashhad University of Medical Sciences and who fulfilled the American Thoracic Society criteria for asthma, were enrolled in the study and randomly assigned to take either Pycnogenol or a placebo for the first period of four weeks and then "crossed over" to the alternate regimen for the next four weeks.
"Almost all of the 22 patients who completed the study responded favorably to Pycnogenol when compared to the placebo, most saying they noted improvement in their breathing ability," explains Ronald R. Watson, PhD, principal investigator on the study and professor at the Arizona College of Public Health. "In addition, no adverse effects were observed."
Three of the 26 enrollees dropped out of the study, two because of non-compliance and one because of pregnancy.
Asthma, which affects up to 5 percent of the U.S. population, is characterized as a chronic inflammatory process. Oxidants, organic dust, airborne allergens, chemical substances, cold air and virus infections can trigger asthma attacks. Most attacks last minutes to hours and patients usually recover completely afterward.
In other studies, Pycnogenol has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects and tremendous antioxidant capacity, says Dr. Watson. Available without a prescription as a natural nutritional supplement, it now is used throughout the world as a remedy for different diseases including hypertension.
"The pilot study showed that Pycnogenol has the ability to decrease asthma attacks in asthmatic patients," adds Dr. Watson, whose laboratory has long been interested in antioxidants in health promotion. "Based on these encouraging results, we recommend conducting a study in a larger group of asthmatic patients."
Established by the Arizona Board of Regents in January 2000, the Mel and Enid Zuckerman Arizona College of Public Health is the first public health college in the four corner states and represents a tri-university collaborative effort among the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University. The Arizona College of Public Health's mission is to promote the health of individuals and communities with a special emphasis on diverse populations and the Southwest. Programs concentrate on the reduction of health disparities, the development and maintenance of healthy communities, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.