When it comes to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, you may find it difficult to properly treat symptoms. Most of those that have ADHD will get treatment which includes taking pharmaceutical medications, although there are other options including natural ones. One of the natural options that have come to light in the last few years is pine bark. Throughout this article, we’re going to look at this natural extract, its benefits, and its downsides. At the end, we invite you to ask further questions concerning pine bark and ADHD.
What is Pine Bark Extract?
Pine bark extract is a natural herbal supplement that’s made from meridian pine bark. Many have found it to be a powerful anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant effects. Pine bark contains large amounts of polyphenols like procyanidins, catechins, and phenolic acids which is a natural treatment for cardiovascular, inflammation complications as well as erectile dysfunction issues. Although over the last few years, there have been those that claimed that pine bark extract is beneficial for ADHD treatment. ¹
Pine Bark Extract and ADHD: Does it Help?
Polyphenols are found in pine bark extract and can be immensely helpful in protecting neurons against injury. Furthermore, they can promote memory, learning, and cognitive functionality. In those with ADHD, this can be beneficial as their cognitive functions are hyperactive and thus unregulated. If you introduce polyphenols into you’re treatment routine, you may calm hyperactivity. In turn, you’ll also be able to regulate cognitive functions such as attention, memory retention, and mood regulations. ²
What Does the Research Say?
Unfortunately, there’s only so much research into pine bark’s effects on ADHD. Still, some research suggests it can help:
- In a 2006 study, children with ADHD showed promising results of calming hyperactivity and aiding in classroom attention through pine bark extract. When the supplement was taken away, their symptoms reemerged. This led researchers to believe that pine bark extract had some effect. Not to mention, that it’s a safe and therapeutic option to treat hyperactivity and other ADHD symptoms in children. ³
- In a 2016 introspective study, it was observed how pine bark extract and other natural treatment options worked in conjunction with pharmaceutical medication for ADHD. While results were promising, the authors agreed that further research was necessary. ⁴
- In a 2017 study, Pycnogenol® and a placebo were given to a group of individuals with ADHD. Those that received Pycnogenol had reduced ADHD symptoms, whereas those who were given the placebo showed little change. However, the research team wanted to see more long-term results of Pycnogenol on other aspects of ADHD behaviors like anxiety and OCD-like behaviors that can emerge in specific cases of ADHD. They saw therapeutic benefits to the Pycnogenol blend of pine bark extract. ⁵
Pine Bark Extract and ADHD Dosage Recommendation
Pine Bark Extract is available on the market in various different forms, including dry powders, liquid tinctures, and capsules. Each form might have varying strengths to their products.
In the treatment of ADHD, studies found beneficial results from a name brand of pine bark extract called Pycnogenol, which is available on the market by different distributors at a standardized dose of 100mg. For children trying to use pine bark extract for pediatric ADHD treatment, studies have used only 1mg capsules of Pycnogenol, taken once daily. ⁶
Still, around 75mg of pine bark extract twice a day is considered the proper dose for adults.
What are the Side Effects of Pine Bark Extract?
There aren’t too many severe side effects to pine bark extract. However, there are some mild ones: ⁷
- Stomach discomfort
There are also some drug interactions, concerns for blood clotting, and those experiencing autoimmune diseases. If you struggle with liver function issues, prolonged pine bark extract may further complications. Those that are undergoing anti-rejection medication treatment should be aware that pine bark extract can have a negative impact on immunity for said patients. ⁸
Pycnogenol ADHD Reviews
BulkSupplements.com provides all-natural ingredients in a grounded-up form that they sell in pouches or capsules. They only source sustainable and quality-controlled ingredients. With over 500 pure nutritional supplement ingredients, the brand dedicates itself to maintaining all health code and government regulations.
BulkSupplements provides their own grounded-up powdered form of Pine Bark Extract in various different sizes, from 3.5 ounces to 11 pounds. They also manufacture capsules of their Pine Bark Extract at 500mg dosage in a package of 100 gelatin capsules.
Since the 1980s, Life Extension has been a sustainably sourced, trusted natural supplement manufacturer. According to their mission statement, Life Extension provides clinically supported dosages of ingredients and sources high-quality ingredients that they pass on to the consumer at reasonable rates.
For pine bark extract they provide the following products:
- Their own Pycnogenol blend supplement dosed at 100mg in 60 vegetarian capsules.
- An Arterial Protect blend, which includes Pycnogenol and Gotu kola, helping facilitates blood flow and vascular protection.
Healthy Origins is a family-owned and operated natural supplement company. They carefully scrutinize the manufacturing formulation of their ingredients and products to ensure their customers are consuming a clean product.
Currently, Health Origins provides three different options for their own Pycnogenol blend in vegetable capsules. They have three dosing options: a 30mg option, a 100mg variety, and a 150mg choice. Each of these products has different sizes with one consisting of 60 veg capsules and another offering 120 veg capsules.
NOW Supplements is one of the largest and most recognized supplement manufacturers and distributors. They create supplements containing all-natural as well as sustainably sourced ingredients. They’re a family-owned company that creates affordably priced products for everyone can take.
For pine bark extract, NOW offers two different options:
- One that contains the patented blend known as Pycnogenol. It’s a natural extract originating from the bark of the maritime pine that grows along the coast of southwest France. They have this blend in three different varieties: a 30mg option, a 60mg variety, or a 100mg choice.
- Furthermore, they also offer a generic pine bark supplement, which is available in 240 mg in 90 veg capsules.
Swanson Superior Herbs
Swanson Superior Herbs started in 1969 in Fargo, North Dakota. Since then, they’ve been creating and distributing low-cost, sustainably sourced natural ingredients and supplements. Their products go through rigorous testing and approval from internal and external scientists and experts.
When it comes to pine bark extract, Swanson Superior Herbs offers their own blend at a dosage of 50mg in 100 vegetable capsules.
Other Natural Alternatives for ADHD
While pine bark is an option for those going through ADHD treatment, there are other alternatives to pharmaceuticals. We’ve compiled a list of the common as well as beneficial natural alternatives for ADHD:
Typically grown in tropical environments, bacopa monnieri (commonly referred to as Brahmi) has been used in herbal medicine for centuries as a memory and cognitive aid. ⁹
Due to the neurological benefits of Brahmi, researchers looked into the natural ingredient’s impact on those with ADHD. They found the supplement may decrease ADHD symptoms. Not to mention, it’s a safe and effective natural treatment option. ¹⁰
For centuries, ginseng has been used to increase brain function and energy. There are a number of different strains of ginseng, with the Korean red ginseng showing some potential to ease ADHD symptoms. In one study, children with ADHD were given red ginseng over the course of eight weeks. It was found to calm symptoms and reduce anxiety in a social setting. ¹¹
Gotu kola is a naturally-sourced ingredient that is typically found in Asian and South African countries. It has active ingredients that are beneficial for brain development in children and regulating brain functionality in adults. ¹²
This is especially helpful for those with ADHD as its active ingredients include vitamins B1, B2, and B6 which facilitate increase brain function and aid in calming overactive neurotransmitters. A study done to look into the benefits of Gotu Kola on participants suffering from ADHD showed the natural ingredient’s benefits including reducing anxiety, which is a common symptom in ADHD patients. ¹³
Omega-3s are an essential nutrient that we can naturally get from consuming fish and other proteins. Although those that have a deficiency in omega-3s can have difficulties with brain functionality, especially with neurotransmitters which help with sending information from neurons in the brain. ¹⁴
Those with ADHD have neurotransmitter and dopamine complications wherein they produce too much serotonin. Having an increase in omega-3 fatty acids can help stabilize neurotransmitters and, in turn, aid in reducing ADHD symptoms. Several studies have shown that an increase in omega-3 levels in those with ADHD has a better ability to reduce hyperactivity, decrease inattention, and increase memory retention.
ADHD, like any other mental health condition, can be a disorientating and disruptive disorder. Those that have ADHD may feel they need to resort to pharmaceutical remedies to try and stabilize their symptoms. However, there are other options such as pine bark extract.
Pine bark has shown an ability to calm ADHD tendencies in a safe and effective way without having the rough side effects that typical ADHD medication comes with. Still, it’s important to speak with your doctor before taking pine bark extract.
Still have questions about pine bark and ADHD?
We invite you to ask them in the comments section below. If you have any further knowledge on this topic – whether personal or professional – we’d also love to hear from you.
¹ Research Gate: Review of the French Maritime Pine Bark Extract, Pycnogenol
² American Association for the Advancement of Science: Pine bark reduces ADHD Statement
³ National Center for Biotechnology Information: Treatment of ADHD with Pycnogenol
⁴ National Center for Biotechnology Information: Natural Product-Derived Treatments for ADHD
⁵ National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of Pycnogenol® on ADHD
⁶ National Institute of Health’s MedlinePlus: Maritime Pine Dosage
⁷ Versus Arthritis Organization: Pine bark extracts Safety & Side Effects
⁸ RxList: Pycnogenol Interactions with Medications
⁹ National Center for Biotechnology Information: Neuropharmacological Review of Brahmi
¹⁰ National Center for Biotechnology Information: Evaluation of Brahmi in children suffering from ADHD
¹¹ National Center for Biotechnology Information: Clinical Effects of Korean Red Ginseng on ADHD in Children
¹² Mount Sinai: Gotu Kola Overview
¹³ National Center for Biotechnology Information: Study on Gotu kola on acoustic startle response
¹⁴ National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements: Omega-3’s Fatty Acids Factsheet