Brain Health,
Smart Drugs,

#078: Pine Trees and Pycnogenol

May 29, 2015

This week Jesse and Dr. Jeffry Strong wander into a forest of lesser known plant extracts, discussing Pycnogenol, a product derived from the bark of a unique species of pine trees. Its effects range from anti-oxidation and reduction of inflammation to circulatory-system and cognitive improvements.

One theory to Pycnogenol’s success is that it has a much higher bioavailability than many other plant extracts. This is due to the main parts that make up the pine bark extract can be transported by erythrocytes (red blood cells), particularly one of the main metabolites, δ-(3,4-dihydroxy-phenyl)-γ-valerolactone. Instead of floating around in the plasma of the blood — where there isn’t as much room — these pieces get the VIP treatment! Erythrocytes account for more than 99% of total cellular space in human blood! That means there’s more space for uptake. There is also a glucose-fueled transport already established on erythrocytes, and this facilitates the uptake of the metabolites as well. With this two things in it’s favor, maritime pine bark extract has better potential simply because more of it gets where it’s supposed to go.

*Pycnogenol is a key ingredient in NEXUS, Axon Labs‘ flagship nootropic stack.

In the Ruthless Listener Retention Gimmick, Jesse shares some interesting facts about the world’s most readily-available cognitive enhancer: coffee. How much coffee is too much coffee, he asks – after drinking a gallon of the stuff himself.

Show Notes
  • 00:00:44

    Delving into the world of Pycnogenol.

  • 00:02:32

    This Week In Neuroscience: The role of Myelin sheaths in motor learning.

  • 00:05:08

    Thank you for the great reviews on iTunes.

  • 00:05:30

    A little teaser about the Axon exclusive Overdose Editions.

  • 00:07:00

    Introducing Dr. Jeffry Strong.

  • 00:09:04

    The history of Pycnogenol.

  • 00:12:42

    What is scurvy and the research behind strengthening blood vessels.

  • 00:14:09

    Changes in regulations and the emergence of Pycnogenol as an antioxidant.

  • 00:15:57

    Most common usage of Pycnogenol.

  • 00:17:46

    Can Pycnogenol be a double-edged sword?

  • 00:18:29

    Other dietary sources of Pycnogenol.

  • 00:19:55

    Studies involving cognitive effects of Pycnogenol.

  • 00:26:33

    Mechanism of action and a very interesting study.

  • 00:28:06

    What is the flip side of using Pycnogenol?

  • 00:29:46

    Dr. Strong's personal usage of Pycnogenol.

  • 00:32:19

    Ruthless Listener Retention Gimmick: Can you overdose on caffeine?

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