Phytotherapy Research Published online ahead of print.
Seven weeks of supplementation with the branded pine bark extract Pycnogenol® reduced the level of non-prescription antihistamine medication use to only 12.5%. Fifty percent of participants in the placebo group required the antihistamines.
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen or fungal spores, most commonly grass pollen. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, about 60 million people in the U.S. are affected by allergic rhinitis.
The immune system mistakes the spores for harmful invaders and white blood cells—T-helper type 2 (Th2) lymphocytes—produce protein-like cytokines, such as interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-5 and IL-6, which in turn promote the synthesis of immune system immunoglobulins (Ig), which bind the pollen and fight it off.
Participants took 100 mg per day of the pine bark extract supplement throughout the allergy season.
Results showed that IgE levels increased by 32% in the placebo group, compared with only 19% in the pine bark extract group.
Pycnogenol decreases nasal and ocular symptoms in allergic rhinitis patients.
It takes about five weeks for Pycnogenol to impact hay fever symptoms. Relief from allergies was better the longer the subjects were on Pycnogenol prior to the allergen exposure. The best results were found with subjects who took Pycnogenol seven to eight weeks ahead of the allergy season.
I have seen good results for my patients using Pycnogenol, Phyto Complete (Metagenics) and Perimine (Metagenics) for allergy symptoms.