Free radicals and chronic inflammation can destroy entire cells and cause a cascade of DNA damage that plants the seeds of more than 60 different diseases.
Chronic inflammation is both cause and effect of all the major killers associated with our senior years: heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, dementia and cancer. It’s crucial to reduce chronic inflammation if you want to stay healthy, and taking antioxidants is one way to do that.
But not all antioxidants are created equal. Some are more powerful than others. Some are more bioavailable—meaning your body is better able to absorb and use them.
There’s one antioxidant — and a brand-name supplement that contains it — which is considered by some health experts to be “the greatest nutritional breakthrough of our century.” 1
I’m not sure I’d go that far, but for several years I’ve been keeping my eye on this antioxidant and I’ve been more and more impressed with it. Keep reading and I’ll tell you what it can do for you…
Oliver was doomed to die from
But then he found out what to do. . .
Oliver had reached the end of the road in his seven-year fight against cancer. His doctors didn’t think this 32-year-old man would live through the night.
But when I talked to Oliver six years later, he was the picture of health! He got rid of his cancer completely.
Yes, Oliver found the answer — his own cancer miracle.
I sat down with him and his doctor and they told me an incredible story. . . a story that could help save you or someone you love from this dreaded disease.
If you’d like to hear it, click here now.
The supplement I’m talking about — Pycnogenol® — is the little-known brand name of French maritime pine bark extract (Pinus pinaster).
Pine bark extract has been used by North American Indians for thousands of years to prevent diseases (including scurvy). They so revered the pine tree, they called it “the tree of life.”
It’s often marketed as an anti-aging product because of its ability to tighten and tone the skin — aging skin is another side effect of free radicals — but it’s also been shown to:
✔ protect your body against toxins and pollutants…
✔ strengthen the immune system…
✔ reduce the risk of developing cancer…
✔ and fight cancer cells that are already present.
The active ingredient in pine bark extract is a highly bioavailable flavonoid called oligomeric proanthocyanidin (OPC), which can also be extracted from grape seeds, peanut skin and witch hazel bark.
The reason OPC is so valuable to your health — and why it’s called “the Hercules of antioxidants” — is that this antioxidant is 20 times more powerful than Vitamin C and 50 times stronger than Vitamin E.1
Because OPC is such an excellent scavenger of free radicals, it does a much better job of reducing inflammation and restoring cellular health than other kinds of antioxidants. And it can not only heal the body, but protect it as well.
Let’s take a look at just a handful of ways OPCs and Pycnogenol can boost your health and keep cancer at bay. For the purposes of this article, I use OPC and Pycnogenol interchangeably. Most of the studies I’m using have been conducted on Pycnogenol, and you can’t be sure that non-branded OPC products will produce the same results.
OPCs fight skin cancer while reducing the signs of aging
In 2016 the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology reviewed the clinical evidence of Pycnogenol’s effects on human skin. The authors noted that Pycnogenol has been shown to provide photoprotection for the skin, meaning it gives your skin the molecular ability to fight off oxidative damage from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.2
This, in turn, lowers your risk of developing skin cancer from the inside out. It’s sort of like sunscreen in a pill.
Here’s another one…
In a study published in the journal Photochemistry and Photobiology in 2004, researchers exposed hairless mice to mild solar-simulated UV rays five days a week for 35 weeks.
The test group received a topical dose of Pycnogenol ranging from concentrations of 0.05% to 0.2% after the UV exposure, while the control group received no additional treatment.
In the first ten weeks, the mice receiving the Pycnogenol rubdown showed reduced sunburn effects and an increased immune response to the damaging effects of the radiation.
Beginning at 11 weeks, skin tumors started forming in both the control group and the test group mice receiving the low 0.05% concentration.
But in the group receiving the topical Pycnogenol at a concentration of 0.2% — four times as much — “tumor appearance was significantly delayed until 20 weeks.” 3
Not only that, but all of the control mice had at least one tumor by the 30-week mark, while the group receiving topical Pycnogenol at 0.2% concentration had 15% fewer incidences of tumors, with some mice remaining completely tumor-free.
In the mice that developed tumors, the group receiving Pycnogenol had an average of 3.5 tumors at 35 weeks, while the control group had an average of 5 tumors.
OPCs also work with vitamin C to shield skin cells from free radical attack, regenerate collagen and strengthen and restore permeability of capillaries.
This allows more oxygen and nutrients to reach and nourish the skin cells, which repairs cells and promotes elasticity and better circulation, giving Pycnogenol the proven anti-aging properties it’s known for.
OPCs fight many other kinds of cancer
A number of studies have been conducted to see the effects of OPCs on lab-cultured cancer cells. The results suggest that OPCs may be effective not only against skin cancer but against a variety of internal cancers, too:
In 2005, research revealed OPCs in small doses can destroy colon cancer cells:
Just 100 micrograms per milliliter (µg/mL) of OPC applied to SNU-C4 colon cancer cell lines in vitro significantly increased the activity of caspase-3, the enzyme responsible for inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death).4
OPCs can also shut down prostate cancer cells and stop them from spreading:
In an in vitro study published in the journal Prostate, researchers tested the effects of OPC on LNCaP prostate cancer cell lines. They discovered that not only did OPC induce apoptosis, but it showed an anti-proliferation effect as well.5
A recent study published in 2016 in the Journal of Clinical Biochemical Nutrition found that Pycnogenol induced a similar reaction in human oral squamous cell carcinoma HSC-3 cells as in the colon cancer cells.
That is, Pycnogenol induced apoptosis by activating the caspase enzymes in the cancer cells, prompting the researchers to conclude that “Pycnogenol may be a potential candidate for the chemoprevention or chemotherapy of human oral cancer.” 6
This type of cancer forms in the connective tissues and/or bones and can be very difficult to treat, especially in the elderly.
In the January 2015 issue of the International Journal of Oncology, researchers published findings about the use of Pycnogenol compared to three other antioxidants (taxifolin, catechin and epicatechin) to induce apoptosis in HT1080 human fibrosarcoma cells.
They found that 300 mg of Pycnogenol induced apoptosis by activating a variety of enzymes, not just one as in the previous examples. The other antioxidants produced only moderate activation, and nothing as much as the Pycnogenol.7
As antioxidants go, OPC seems to be a powerful restorer of cell health.
How to benefit from OPCs and Pycnogenol
Ramping up your OPC intake with supplements is the easiest way to benefit from this strong and clinically proven antioxidant.
Unfortunately, Pycnogenol, as a branded and patented product, is more expensive than most supplements. If that’s a problem, you do have the option of taking other OPC products. Look for those that contain at least 65% oligomeric proanthocyanidin.
These are often called some variation of “OPC,” such as pine bark OPC. Grape seed extract is probably the most well-known source of OPC, and I warmly recommend it because it’s well-backed by published studies. Check the labels for concentration and purity so you’re sure to get a quality product.
There are different types of anthocyanidins and it’s possible that those in Pycnogenol are different, and better. The manufacturers make a big point of the fact that it’s made from a particular species of French pine tree, and they aggressively contest the claims of competing pine bark extracts that try to profit from some of the glow of Pycnogenol.
I have no way to sort out these competing claims. If you want to be sure you’re getting “the real thing” – and you can afford it – Pycnogenol is the way to go. If your finances are limited I don’t think you’ll go wrong with grape seed extract.