Last updated: August 9, 2021

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You have heard that pine bark extract is effective against potency problems and the risk of thrombosis? But you are not yet convinced of the effect and would like to learn more about the intake, scientific background and necessary criteria for the purchase of pine bark extract? Then you have come to the right place. This is the pine bark extract test 2021.

Here we inform you about all the important facts about pine bark extract. We explain what the extract is made of, what effects it has and where it can be bought. In addition, interesting questions about the extract are answered.


  • Pine bark extract is mostly obtained from the bark of the French maritime pine, Pinus pinaster. That is why this extract is often also called pine bark extract.
  • The extract of Pinus pinaster contains vitamins and antioxidants. This increases the body's antioxidant defence capacity and has anti-inflammatory effects, which can strengthen the immune system.
  • In combination with L-arginine, pine bark extract can promote testosterone production and potency in men. The oligomeric procyanidin (OPC) contained in it does not cause any side effects.

The Best Pine Bark Extract: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for pine bark extract preparations

In the following, we show you which aspects you can use to decide between the different pine bark extracts. The criteria you can use to compare pine bark extract include:

In the coming paragraphs, we explain what is important in each of the criteria.

Dosage form

Pine bark extract is almost always offered in capsule form. If you are vegan, you need to make sure that the capsule shell is free of animal ingredients. Most capsules are made without gluten, lactose, fructose and soy, but check the manufacturer's instructions. As capsules are quite large, they should be swallowed with water or food.

However, there is also pine bark extract in powder form. This is especially suitable for people who do not want to swallow large capsules. The powder will keep if you keep it well sealed, cool and dry. Currently, there are only a few suppliers who offer the powder form. Since the ingredients are the same in both capsules and powder, you can choose which form you prefer.


Pine bark extract capsules should contain as much pure pine bark extract as possible and a high OPC content. The lower these values are, the more the effect of the product diminishes. With capsules, you should pay attention to how many milligrams of pine bark extract per capsule or what percentage of pure pine bark extract is contained in them.

A good guideline is at least 500 mg of high-dose pine bark extract per capsule.

The capsule shell usually consists either of hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (vegetable capsule shell) or of gelatine and is thus of animal origin. Pine bark extract is often sold together with other ingredients. These include L-arginine, grape seed extract, vitamin C, coenzyme Q10, etc. Enriching the extract with other OPCs, vitamins and amino acids helps to provide a boosting effect.


The dosage indicated on the packaging should always be followed. The recommended intake can vary from 1 capsule to 6 capsules per day. For antioxidant purposes, at least 20 mg of pine bark extract should be taken daily. Otherwise, the usual dosage is between 30 mg and 200 mg daily. The following table shows how many mg of pine bark extract per day are appropriate for various complaints.

Complaint dosage
Osteoarthritis/arthritis 100 mg - 150 mg
Asthma 2 mg / kg body weight
Hypertension 100 mg - 200 mg
Diabetes 50 mg - 200 mg
Erectile dysfunction 120 mg + L-arginine
Menopausal complaints 200 mg
Muscle complaints/cramps 200 mg
Platelet formation (disorder) 25 mg - 200 mg

The extract should be taken for at least two to three months to see effects. Pine bark extract can also be taken permanently. There is no scientific evidence to the contrary.


When buying pine bark extract, you should make sure that it does not contain any harmful additives. These include magnesium stearates, colourings, preservatives and fillers. The product should also be free of genetic engineering, pesticides, heavy metals and microbiological contaminants.

Attention should be paid to quality seals. Vegetarians/vegans and allergy sufferers should look out for traces of gluten, lactose and gelatine in the product description.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about pine bark extract answered in detail

In order to inform you comprehensively about the effectiveness of pine bark extract and to give you an understanding of the current state of science, we have summarised all the important information in the following sections.

What is pine bark extract and how does it work?

Pine bark extract is usually obtained from the bark of the French maritime pine, Pinus pinaster. This is why this extract is often also called pine bark extract. The effective components of the food supplement are mainly the oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC). The proportion is usually 85% - 90%.

This is a group of flavonols with a high antioxidant effect. The name Pycnogenol is now protected as a trademark product. Many studies are conducted with the standardised Pycnogenol extract.


Pine bark extract can help relieve a variety of ailments. (Image source: Andrija Vukanovic/unsplash)

OPC are secondary plant compounds that help plants mainly to protect against UV radiation, climatic conditions and parasites. They are also found in grape seeds, coconuts, ginkgo leaves, apples and red wine.

As can be seen, especially barks, peels and seeds contain larger amounts of OPC. The following is known about the effects of pine bark extract:

Has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects

In a scientific study, the strong antioxidant properties of pine bark extract were found to have the ability to scavenge free radicals. Among other things, treatment with pine bark extract in the test subjects led to an increase in antioxidant enzymes.

Based on these results, it seems that pine bark extract increases the body's antioxidant defence capacity and therefore also has anti-inflammatory effects. This can strengthen the immune system.

Has a partial vasodilatory or blood pressure-lowering effect

In a literature search on the effect of pine bark extract (here: Pycnogenol brand) on blood pressure, studies from various databases up to 2019 were examined and the result summarised. The meta-analysis showed no significant improvement in systolic blood pressure after Pycnogenol treatment.

However, there is one study that proves that pine bark extract helps to reduce the risk of thrombosis and thus also contributes to vasodilatation. In a twelve-month study, the effectiveness of compression stockings and oral administration of Pycnogenol on symptoms of post-thrombotic syndrome was compared.

The study result shows that Pycnogenol can have a significant long-term protective effect for people after a thrombotic event. The extract is at least as effective as compression stockings for post-thrombotic treatment, while the combination of stockings and the pine extract produced the most effective results.

Effective against erectile dysfunction

A study of 50 men investigated the effects of a combination of plant extracts and amino acids on male erectile function. The subjects were given a combination of pycnogenol, roburins, L-arginine, L-citrulline or placebo.

Sexual well-being was assessed by the International Index of Erectile Function. Treatment over a period of one month showed normalisation of erectile function in the majority of men. There were no side effects, making this a good alternative to Viagra. Research has also been done on other effects against various ailments such as osteoarthritis, asthma, diabetes, menopause and ADHD.

Who should take pine bark extract?

Pine bark extract is suitable for relieving a wide range of conditions and is therefore suitable for many people. If stated on the packaging, this supplement is also suitable for vegans. This product is also suitable for allergy sufferers, provided it has undergone a high-quality extraction process.

Pine bark extract has a particularly positive effect on inflammatory processes in the body. It strengthens the immune system and is therefore suitable for people with a weak immune system.

Pine bark extract is also very suitable for athletes, as the muscles can relax due to its circulation-promoting effect. The risk of thrombosis can also be reduced. Due to a lack of data, pine bark extract should not be taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding. OPC also has a blood-thinning effect. Therefore, you should not take the extract if you are taking blood-thinning medication.

How much do pine bark extract products cost?

The price of the extract depends on the additional ingredients and the amount of filling. Pine bark extract with other substances such as L-arginine and grape seed extract, for example, is offered at a lower price than pure pine bark extract.

type costs
pure pine bark extract 10 to 125€
pine bark extract with substances such as L-arginine and grape seed extract 7 to 30€

What types of pine bark extract are there?

When buying pine bark extract, it is important to note that you can choose between different types of extracts. These include pure pine bark extract, pine bark extract plus arginine and pine bark extract plus grape seed extract. Extracts are also often fortified with other ingredients such as vitamin C, but these three variants are the most common.

Pure pine bark extract

Because of its purity, pure pine bark extract contains many antioxidants and has a high OPC content. As already mentioned, OPC helps to protect the body from free radicals and thus prevent the most common inflammatory processes.


The OPC found in pine bark extract can help strengthen the immune system. (Image source: Anastasiia Ostapovych/unsplash)

When buying, make sure that the product does not contain additives such as magnesium stearate and L-ascorbic acid.

Pine bark extract plus L-arginine

L-arginine is a semi-essential amino acid that can be produced by the body itself. But it can also be absorbed through food. In combination with pine bark extract, L-arginine is especially suitable for increasing potency in men and reducing erectile dysfunction. This amino acid is also popular with athletes for muscle and fitness training. Of course, this combination can also be taken by women, for example during sports.

Pine bark extract plus grape seed extract

In these food supplements, extracts from pine bark and grape seeds are combined. These extracts are usually enriched with other ingredients such as zinc, selenium and vitamin C to provide multifunctional support for the body.

The OPC in these combination products is very high and effective, as both extracts complement each other. Among other things, the immune system is strengthened with prolonged intake and the cells are protected against oxidative stress.

What side effects can the intake of pine bark extract bring with it?

As pine bark extract is a food supplement and not a medicine, the side effects are very low. In rare cases, digestive problems and intolerances may occur. The maximum dosage should also be observed. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, there could be problems with pine bark extract, so it should not be taken. Due to its blood-thinning effect, the extract should not be taken while taking blood-thinning medication.

What are the alternatives to pine bark extract?

There are a number of herbal extracts that are similar in composition. For example, extracts from:

  • Willow bark
  • Grape seed
  • Berry peel
  • Pomegranate
  • Rosehip
  • Leaf extracts like green tea

They are all rich in antioxidant substances and OPC and therefore have anti-inflammatory properties just like pine bark extract. These extracts can be bought either in capsule or powder form.


The seeds and skins of grapes are also rich in OPC and valuable antioxidants. (Image sources: Jene Yeo/unsplash)

The ingredients from the rinds, skins and seeds help minimise inflammatory processes throughout the body. It can also lower blood pressure and improve circulation in the legs. It can also give the skin a firmer appearance and provide it with more moisture.

Image source: Diego Vito Cervo / 123rf

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