Pine bark extract (pycnogenol) is an adaptogen and natural supplement that is sourced from the maritime pine tree growing in Southwest France. This tree is defined by it’s long needles and typically grows 90-120 feet tall.
In France, pine bark extract is used to treat a variety of ailments such as ADHD, cognitive decline, and erectile dysfunction. As opposed to adderall or ritalin, pine bark extract can be used as a natural way to treat low attention spans and help cognitive function by improving blood flow to the brain.
The main benefits for weightlifters from pine bark extract is the boost in nitric oxide, higher mental focus, and lower stress hormones. There is also evidence that suggests pine bark extract helps the body repair tissue and raises pain thresholds which could both be beneficial for workout recovery as well as overall joint and body health during lifting.
Benefits of Pine Bark Extract
Pine bark extract has multiple effects. Some effects that have been found to be experienced after taking pine bark extract are a stimulation of nitric oxide release, better cell signaling, increased endurance during physical activity, lower stress, antioxidant effects, improved mood, focus, mental energy, repair of body tissue, lessened amount of pain, fixed ED, better skin health, and more.
This long list of effects from pine bark extract may seem exaggerated but there is research to back up many of these effects from the supplement. Keep in mind that when these studies are referencing pycnogenol that this term is interchangeable with pine bark extract, both referring to the same thing.
A study done by California State University found that pine bark extract increased endurance during exercise by 21%. This endurance increase is theorized to result from pine bark extract’s ability to lower oxidative stress. This lowering of stress may also allow testosterone to work more effectively. This study also found that pine bark extract was able to preserve muscle mass and strength in those who supplemented with it compared to those who didn’t.
A third study on pike bark extract provided further evidence that this supplement improved athleticism, strength, and endurance by administering subjects the Army Physical Fitness Test after they had either been given pine bark extract or placebo. The group that was given the pine bark extract had improved training and performance in comparison to the group given placebo.
Further studies have been done on its effect on focus, cognitive function and overall stress. This study found that pine bark extract reduced stress levels and improved cognitive function. Stress hormones are catabolic so a decrease in them will allow the anabolic effects of testosterone to be greater. Other studies such as this one and this one both showed a boost in mood, cognitive function, and mental focus as well.
This study on pine bark extract also found lower amounts of oxidative stress and less inflammation after training in those who took the supplement then worked out.
There are more studies than these but these are the main ones which relate to lifting and give clear conclusions and detailed research methods.
What Is the Best Dose of Pine Bark Extract?
The optimal dose for taking pine bark extract is 200-400mg daily. This is a supplement that has effects which can build up over time so taking it at this amount on a day to day basis is the best way to get the benefits for lifting from pine bark extract.
More than a gram can be taken with no adverse side effects but to be safe and test your body’s reaction to pine bark extract, use around 200mg starting out then gradually increase this dose if there are no desired effects being felt.
If you feel slightly sedated that is likely because your dose is too high and your blood pressure has dropped too low from the improved nitric oxide release by pine bark extract. This is rare but if it is the case for you, simply lower your dose until these side effects diminish.
Best Pine Bark Extract Supplement
The best source for pine bark extract is a source that offers pine bark extract that’s been standardized to 95% proanthocyanidin.
The best place to get pine bark extract standardized to 95% proanthocyanidin is the 250g pure powder pine bark extract available at Bulk Supplements.
This pine bark extra is also available in 100g but the 250g is the best value and will provide a longterm supply without a high cost.
Bulk Supplements is the best place to buy pine bark extract because their pine bark extract has been standardized to 95% proanthocyanidin which means it will be the most effective and also will deliver all the benefits of pine bark extract without needing to take huge doses.
Pine bark extract is a great supplement for lifting. It is not necessary for results but can increase athletic performance and recovery by improving blood flow and lowering oxidative stress.
The main effects of pine bark extract are mental focus, better athletic performance, enhanced workout recovery, reduced inflammation, cure for ED, better skin, lower oxidative stress, improved cognitive function, reduction in stress hormones, and elevated nitric oxide.
The elevated nitric oxide and reduced stress are the primary components of pine bark extract for improved lifting. If you take pine bark extract make sure it is standardized and use it initially at doses of 200-400mg. The best standardized pine bark extract is available here.