Is Pycnogenol Safe?
To help avoid complications with Pycnogenol, safety precautions should be fully understood. For instance, talk to your healthcare provider before using it if you have a bleeding disorder or an autoimmune disease. Pycnogenol can potentially cause problems in people who have these conditions. Also, Pycnogenol safety concerns pertain to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and to people who have certain allergies.
Pycnogenol® is an herbal supplement that is claimed to be beneficial for a number of uses. You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking it if you have:
- A bleeding disorder
- An autoimmune disease, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus
- Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Warnings and precautions to be aware of concerning the safety of Pycnogenol include the following:
- Theoretically, Pycnogenol may "thin" the blood by preventing blood platelets from sticking together. This can increase the risk of bleeding, especially if you have a bleeding disorder or if you take other blood thinners. Although studies have not shown this to be a problem, it is a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before taking the supplement if you have a blood disorder.
- Pycnogenol is a dietary supplement and is, therefore, not as closely regulated as prescription or non-prescription drugs. Also, it can be marketed without any proof that it is either safe or effective. Do not assume that just because it is sold in the United States that it is safe or effective.
Also, look for a Pycnogenol product that is made by a reputable manufacturer. Your pharmacist is a good resource for information about which manufacturers are the most reputable. Although only one manufacturer makes Pycnogenol extract, many different companies use the extract to make dietary supplements.
- Pycnogenol may stimulate the immune system. While this is a beneficial attribute for many people, it can cause problems for people with autoimmune diseases, in which the immune system attacks the body. These diseases include, but are not limited to, multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
- Pycnogenol may interact with some medications (see Pycnogenol Drug Interactions).
- It is not known if Pycnogenol is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women (see Pycnogenol and Pregnancy and Pycnogenol and Breastfeeding).