This Month: Pycnogenol

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Need proof that antioxidants do more than simply fight free radicals and improve health? Try this antioxidant.

What: Pycnogenol is a trademarked antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that helps with the production of nitric oxide.

Where: Unless you’re in the habit of licking European tree trunks, you’ll only find Pycnogenol in a bottle. It’s an extract of the bark of a species of maritime pine tree, which grows in a certain area along the coast of southwest France.

Why: First, it will keep you healthy by reducing systemic inflammation and fighting any free radicals that might be floating around. But second, it increases the function of an enzyme called nitric oxide synthase, whose job is to convert arginine into nitric oxide in the body. If you’re taking arginine, Pycnogenol helps ensure that as much as possible gets changed into nitric oxide.