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This can have important implications to the quality of life for individuals with xerostomia because saliva protects mucosa and teeth, reducing the risk of tooth decay and poor oral hygiene.
A recently published pilot study1 found that supplementation with the French maritime pinebark extract Pycnogenol (Horphag Research based in Geneva, Switzerland) helped improve a condition called xerostomia, which is an abnormal dryness in the mouth due to insufficient secretions. Xerostomia may be associated with systemic conditions, follow treatments like chemotherapy, and is a side effect of over 400 prescription drugs. In can be particularly common among diabetics, and difficult to treat for them because of the impairments to the nervous system associated with the disease.
In the study, 24 diabetics and 24 non-diabetic healthy subjects with xerostomia were each divided to receive either standard management alone, or standard management in conjunction with 150 mg/day of Pycnogenol. Results showed that both diabetics and non-diabetics showed significant increases in salivary flow and decreases in oxidative stress with Pycnogenol supplementation, compared to standard management. Non-diabetics taking Pycnogenol saw an 82% improvement of saliva production, and diabetics saw a 70% improvement of saliva production, compared to no improvement in the control groups. Subjective mouth dryness also significantly improved in both diabetics and non-diabetics taking Pycnogenol.
Compared to controls, supplementation also significantly lowered the prevalence of mouth ulcers and sores in non-diabetics by 69% and in diabetics by 58%. This can have important implications to the quality of life for individuals with this condition because saliva protects mucosa and teeth, reducing the risk of tooth decay and poor oral hygiene.
1. Belcaro G et al. “Xerostomia: prevention with Pycnogenol® supplementation: a pilot study.” Edizioni Minerva Medica, vol. 68, no. 6 (2019): 303-307