Maritime Pine Bark Extract is a potent free radical neutralizer.

It contains powerful proanthocyanidins which cross your blood-brain barrier.

In the brain, proanthocyanidins fight oxidative stress, boost blood flood, and improve cognitive function.

Thanks to its unique compounds, Maritime Pine Bark Extract helps you:

  • Protect the Brain – Antioxidants in Pine Bark Extract are 50X stronger than vitamin C and 30X stronger than vitamin E. (1, 2, 3) They protect your brain from free radical damage, cognitive decline, and premature aging. In addition, Pine Bark Extract helps boost brain plasticity by optimizing hippocampus activity.
  • Alleviate ADHD – Maritime Pine Bark Extract helps regulate your norepinephrine and dopamine levels. It also balances the GSH-disulphide reductase and glutathione ratio in the brain. Which is important for reducing ADHD symptoms. (4)
  • Boosts Cerebral Function – Pine Bark Extract raises nitric oxide levels in your brain. This makes your blood vessels dilate, which helps with nutrient and oxygen delivery for repairing and growing new brain cells. Your brain stays young and sharp, in essence. (5)

Let’s take a closer look at how Pine Bark Extract works in your brain and how it affects your mental performance. Why not start off by explaining what Maritime Pine Bark Extract is.

What is Maritime Pine Bark Extract?

Maritime Pine Bark Extract is extracted from Pinus Pinaster trees found in the Mediterranean region.

These trees have been around for thousands of years. And they adapted to their windswept and salty environment by developing a network of powerful antioxidants.

It turns out, these antioxidants, called proanthocyanidins, are also beneficial to us.

They help:

  • Protect from inflammation and brain cell damage – Pine Bark extract’s active compounds help negate the damage of oxidative stress. They also work to inhibit proinflammatory gene expressions which are seen in Alzheimer’s disease. (6, 7)

Another process of inflammation that Pine Bark Extract helps prevent is called glycation.

This is when fats and proteins bind to sugars, creating harmful molecules which cause inflammation and oxidative stress. Pine Bark Extract counters this by reducing your blood sugar levels. (8)

  • Enhance your brain cell membranes – Neuronal membranes play a key role in protecting the brain cell and maintaining the cell’s fluidity and ability to communicate with other neurons.

Pine Bark Extract protects your neuron membranes from toxins such as heavy metals. It also makes your brain cells more resilient to free radicals.

In other words, Pine Bark Extract reduces your risk of stroke and neurodegenerative diseases. (9)

A typical Pine Bark Extract will have between 65-75% proanthocyanidins.

You can also find these antioxidants in dark chocolate, grapes, tea, and wine.

How it Works

The process of how Pine Bark Extract works in the brain is complex. But the explanation can be broken down into several mechanisms of action (10):

  1. Firstly, Pine Bark Extract crosses your blood-brain barrier.
  2. In the brain, it works to boost nitric oxide levels. This dilates your blood vessels and enhances blood flow.
  3. By boosting cerebral circulation, Pine Bark Extract provides your neurons with fuel to work at their best. Which translates to faster thinking and clearer memory.
  4. Pine Bark Extract also contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants that protect your neuronal tissue.
  5. This ultimately improves cognition as well as mood, due to Pine Bark Extract’s positive effects on neurotransmitters.

People who use this supplement report that Pine Bark Extract significantly enhances their memory, mood, focus, and decision-making.

Clinical evidence backs these people up.

A study with 60 volunteers aged between 35-55 tested the effects of Pine Bark Extract on their brains.

One half of the group received 50mg of Pine Bark Extract, 3 times daily for 3 months.

The other group received nothing. They instead simply led a healthy lifestyle.

12 weeks later, researchers found that people who supplemented with Pine Bark Extract (11):

  • Had a 16% improved mood on average
  • Their sustained focus increased by 13.4%
  • The oxidative stress in their brains reduced by 30%
  • And their overall cognitive performance improved by 8.9% on average

What’s most impressive here, isn’t the improved mood, or less oxidative stress, or enhanced cognition.

It’s the increase in their attention span.

These days, people’s attention span has shrunk to become shorter than that of a goldfish. It went from 12 seconds to 8 seconds on average.

Being able to maintain sustained focus has become a rare and sought-after ability. And Pine Bark Extract can be of great help in this regard.

maritime pine bark extract forest

Brain Pathways Pine Bark Extract Effects

Brain Energy

Maritime Pine Bark Extract helps support your brain cell’s mitochondria, the energy ‘factories’.

It does this by enhancing the oxygen and glucose delivery to your neurons.

Animal research suggests that antioxidants in Pine Bark Extract also enhance the oxygen capacity of your mitochondria.

This leads to improved energy metabolism, and ultimately, better cognitive function. (12)

Cerebral Blood Flow

Polyphenols in Pine Bark Extract bind to collagen in your blood vessel walls, protecting it from damage.

Not only that, these polyphenols also interact with your blood vessel’s inner lining to stimulate the production of nitric oxide (NO).

  • NO helps your blood vessels relax and become wider. Which in turn, improves circulation throughout the body – including the brain. (5, 13)

The better the blood flow to your brain, the better the glucose and oxygen delivery. This also means improved neurogenesis and brain cell function.

What’s more, Pine Bark Extract inhibits the formation of plaque in your blood, keeping it non-sticky and flowing smoothly. (14, 15)

Brain Cell Protection

Over the course of millennia, the Maritime Pine tree has developed unique methods to protect itself from external threats.

One of these methods is growing a network of antioxidants. Most powerful of which are tannins (proanthocyanidins).

Belonging to a group of polyphenols, tannins are shown to help (16):

  • Improve neuron’s resilience – Tannins, aka, proanthocyanidins, are 20-50 times stronger than antioxidants such as vitamin C and E. As a result, they are extremely potent at protecting brain cells from oxidative stress which accelerates aging.
  • Enhance brain neuroplasticity – Antioxidants found in Pine Bark Extract can help protect your brain by boosting its ability to adapt to stressors and environment via the mechanism of neuroplasticity. The more pronounced your neuroplasticity is, the easier it will be for you to learn a new skill or information.


Flavonoids such as those in Pine Bark Extract can boost the growth of new neurons. Especially in the hippocampus, the area of the brain crucial for reasoning, thinking, memory, and cognition.

Flavonoids link to (17):

  • A rise in Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Preservation of the existing neurons from damage
  • Improvements in mental function

Research suggests that flavonoid’s regenerative capabilities extend beyond just improving your cognition. They also have the potential to reverse age-related cognitive decline. (18)

trail with maritime pine bark extract trees

Clinical Evidence of Pine Bark Extract’s Benefits

Helps With ADHD

Pine Bark Extract can be a natural alternative to ADHD drugs, according to research.

A study from Slovakia tested the effects of Maritime Pine Bark Extract on ADHD children for the duration of one month.

  • One group received Pine Bark Extract
  • Another group received a sugar pill

In kids with ADHD, levels of dopamine and noradrenaline (NA) were higher in urine than those of children without ADHD.

Treatment with Pine Bark Extract lowered ADHD children’s dopamine and NA in the urine. They became less hyperactive. And as a positive surprise, their oxidative stress levels were lower, too. (19)

Even more impressive was this study, where 61 ADHD children received either 1mg/kg of Pine Bark Extract or placebo every day for 1 month.

They went through a series of cognitive tests before, and after taking the extract.

The results showed that children who took Pine Bark Extract had:

  • A significantly lower hyperactivity
  • Greater focus and sustained attention than before the trial
  • Improved visual and motor skills
  • Enhanced concentration

Ultimately, the study’s organizers concluded that Pine Bark Extract could be an effective and natural way for alleviating ADHD symptoms. (20)

Boosts Memory

A study from Australia looked into the benefits of Maritime Pine Bark Extract on memory and attention.

The research gathered 101 patients between the ages of 60-85. They gave these people 150mg of the extract every day for 12 weeks.

The patients then went through a series of cognitive tests, including:

  • Working memory
  • Attention
  • Psychomotor skills
  • Episodic memory

The results showed evidence that Pine Bark Extract-group improved their working memory during the trial. (21)

Improves Cognition

If you’re a student who’s looking for an edge when preparing for an exam, Pine Bark Extract could help.

A study from Italy tested the cognitive effects of Maritime Pine Bark Extract on students between the age 18-27 years old.

As usual, one group of students got a real deal. Another group took a placebo pill.

The research reported better executive function, memory, mood, and attention in students who took Pine Bark Extract. Leading to the conclusion that it can boost cognition in healthy young people. (22)

mind creativity boosting effects of maritime pine bark extract


Maritime Pine Bark Extract suggested dose is:

  • 100mg, 3 times a day, when taking an extract with 95% proanthocyanidins

Alternatively, the recommended dose of Pine Bark Extract is 1.4mg per pound of body weight.

So if you weigh 175lbs, your dose should be 245mg of the extract per day.

This dosage should be spread evenly throughout the day.

One dose in the morning, another at noon, and the last dose in the later afternoon.

You can take Pine Bark Extract without food as it’s water soluble.

Side Effects

In most cases, Pine Bark Extract is a safe supplement when taken in suggested doses.

That said, there are cases where you should avoid taking Pine Bark Extract, such as:

  • If you take anticoagulant medication which thins your blood. Combining it with Pine Bark Extract can cause internal bleeding.
  • High doses of Pine Bark Extract can interact with diabetes medication and drop your blood sugar too low, which can be dangerous.
  • If you have an autoimmune disease like arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Pine Bark Extract boosts your immune system and can worsen these conditions.
  • If you’re on any kind of medication, you should always consult with your doctor first. That’s always the safest and smartest route to go.

Also, some users report that Pine Bark Extract potentiates the effects of alcohol.

While there’s no clinical evidence of this, it’s worth keeping in mind when going out.

maritime pine needles

FAQ – Your Questions Answered

Does Pine Bark Extract lighten skin? Studies suggest that Pine Bark Extract improves skin hydration while reducing pigmentation. A result of this might be lighter-colored skin.

Can Pycnogenol (AKA Pine Bark Extract) cause insomnia? Pycnogenol is a patented form of Pine Bark Extract. And to answer the question, no, Pine Bark Extract won’t cause insomnia. In fact, research suggests that it can have the opposite effect – improving sleep quality and duration.

Does Pine Bark Extract lower blood pressure? Clinical evidence on Pine Bark Extract and blood pressure is conflicting. Some studies show that it has no effect on blood pressure, while others report a mild reduction in blood pressure. One thing is certain, though: Pine Bark Extract stimulates Nitric Oxide release, which dilates your blood vessels and improves blood flow to the brain.

maritime pine bark extract sources


Maritime Pine Bark Extract is a potent nootropic not only for the elderly but also for the youth.

Clinical evidence shows that it can boost blood flow to the hippocampus, resulting in:

  • Reduced ADHD symptoms
  • Better working memory
  • Improved focus and cognitive abilities
  • Enhanced mood

Pine Bark Extract contains potent antioxidants. These include proanthocyanidins which protect your brain from damage and improve its neuroplasticity.

Proanthocyanidins also fight free radicals and promote cerebral blood flow.

In youth, they are shown to reduce hyperactivity, promote sustained focus, and improve memory.

And in elderly, proanthocyanidins help keep their brains young by slowing cognitive decline.


  1. Free radicals and grape seed proanthocyanidin extract. Importance in human health and disease prevention. (source)
  2. Electron paramagnetic resonance studies of radical species of proanthocyanidins and gallate esters. (source)
  3. Polyphenolics in grape seeds-biochemistry and functionality. (source)
  4. Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPCs). (source)
  5. Activation of Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase by ProanthocyanidinRich Fraction From Croton celtidifolius (Euphorbiaceae): Involvement of Extracellular Calcium Influx in Rat Thoracic Aorta. (source)
  6. Effect of polyphenolic extract, Pycnogenol, on the level of 8-oxoguanine in children suffering from attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. (source)
  7. Inhibition of NF-κB activation and MMP-9 secretion by plasma of human volunteers after ingestion of maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol). (source)
  8. Antidiabetic effect of Pycnogenol French maritime pine bark extract in patients with diabetes type II. (source)
  9. The effect of Pycnogenol on the erythrocyte membrane fluidity. (source)
  10. A review of the French maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol), a herbal medication with a diverse clinical pharmacology. (source)
  11. Pycnogenol® improves cognitive function, attention, mental performance and specific professional skills in healthy professionals aged 35-55. (source)
  12. Acute administration of grape seed proanthocyanidin extract modulates energetic metabolism in skeletal muscle and BAT mitochondria. (source)
  13. Modulation of endothelial nitric oxide by plant-derived products. (source)
  14. Vascular effects of wine polyphenols. (source)
  15. Grape Seed Proanthocyanidin Extracts Enhance Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase Expression through 5′-AMP-Activated Protein Kinase/ Surtuin 1–Krüpple Like Factor 2 Pathway and Modulate Blood Pressure in Ouabain Induced Hypertensive Rats. (source)
  16. Immunomodulating Activity of Aronia melanocarpa Polyphenols. (source)
  17. The neuroprotective potential of flavonoids: a multiplicity of effects. (source)
  18. Flavonoids and cognition: The molecular mechanisms underlying their behavioral effects. (source)
  19. Urinary catecholamines in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): modulation by a polyphenolic extract from pine bark (Pycnogenol). (source)
  20. Treatment of ADHD with French maritime pine bark extract, Pycnogenol. (source)
  21. An examination of the effects of the antioxidant Pycnogenol on cognitive performance, serum lipid profile, endocrinological and oxidative stress biomarkers in an elderly population. (source)
  22. Pycnogenol® supplementation improves cognitive function, attention and mental performance in students. (source)

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  • Real Jb October 23, 2021

    900 mg taken 2Xs a day would be cause for ???