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But does it perform better with vitamin C and zinc?
Whether used on its own or as part of an immunity formula, Pycnogenol may be able to shorten the common cold. The pine bark ingredient did as much in a series of trials performed by Italian researchers and published in the journal Otorinolaringologia.
In one trial, 73 subjects consumed Pycnogenol or an over-the-counter treatment upon onset of common cold. In a second trial, 196 subjects with common colds were assigned to consume Pycnogenol alone, with vitamin C, with zinc, or with both vitamin C and zinc for five days. Supplementing with the pine bark ingredient effectively reduced duration of the common cold in subjects to an average of four days instead of seven days. Reduced symptoms included runny nose, nasal obstruction, sore throat, sneezing, cough, and even high temperature.
The researchers say that Pycnogenol performed better with vitamin C because of the synergistic antioxidant effect and because natural immune cells called leukocytes require vitamin C to recover from the cold. The antioxidant effect may have been responsible for less inflammation and swelling in the nasal mucus membrane, said Pycnogenol supplier Horphag Research (Hoboken, NJ).
The researchers determined that an optimum dose of each ingredient was 100 mg of Pycnogenol, 200 mg of vitamin C, and 30 mg of zinc.