Pycnogenol® - a long haul saviour for frequent flyers

 What is Pycnogenol®?

Pycnogenol® is a premium, natural ingredient extracted from the bark of French Maritime Pine trees (Pinus pinaster) containing a unique of phytonutrients, including procyanidins, bioflavonoids and phenols[1]. It contains oligomeric proanthocyanidin compounds (OPC’s) known for their antioxidant producing benefits, also found to be anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory[2]. Pycnogenol® is a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. This pine bark is a unique, natural and powerful blend of active compounds. 

Pycnogenol® is a trademarked name for extract from the bark of pine trees. This bark contains proanthocyanidins, a type of antioxidant in the flavonoids category. Pycnogenol® has been extensively clinically researched for a wide array of applications including heart and joint health.

“The source of Pycnogenol® is Europe’s largest forest in southwestern France near the famous Bordeaux region. The forest is a plantation of French maritime pink trees dating back to the times of Napoleon III. They are harvested for timber purposes after a period of 30-50 years. Neither pesticides nor herbicides are used in the forest. French forestry legislation provides that fallen trees are to be replaced every year”.

The benefits of Pycnogenol® have been studied for various chronic conditions and lifestyle applications. Published clinical trials have evaluated Pycnogenol® for its potential use in managing conditions such as cardiovascular disease, chronic venous insufficiency, diabetes and osteoarthritis[3]. Additional reports indicate it may help with thrombosis, hypertension, attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder, erectile dysfunction, retinopathy, gingivitis, and muscular cramps and pain.

Supplementing with Pycnogenol® has shown to be of great benefit to the frequent traveller as they can suffer the effects of spending hours on long-haul flights including fatigue, reduction in alertness and a decreased ability to perform mental and physical tasks.

The effective of Pycnogenol® in protecting against thrombotic events

Pycnogenol® appears to protect against deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and conditions associated with long-haul flights[4] by protecting blood vessel walls and promotes good blood circulation. A clinical study on passengers travelling on long-haul flights showed it has the ability to control the permeability of capillary walls, preventing oedema, inhibiting platelet aggregation and ultimately reducing thrombotic events.

A boost to the immune system

Any form of travelling can put the body under stress. The stress around the trip itself (the planning and adhering to a schedule), and the physical stresses of travel such as dry atmospheres at altitude, changes in air pressure, diet and eating times and a loss of sleep. Long-haul flights especially, can have a negative effect on the immune system making it easier for a traveller to become sick[5].

Flying exposes a traveller to cosmic radiation, produced from the stars including the sun. The amount of radiation depends on a few factors such as the length of flight, the altitude and the latitude; the farther north or south of the equator, the more radiation you will receive. Pycnogenol® is a powerful antioxidant[6] which can help protect against the radiation, which can weaken the immune system.

Reduces symptoms associated with travel fatigue

Travel fatigue is common amongst travellers at a time when they need to be at their physical and mental peak. Symptoms associated with travel fatigue include tiredness, insomnia, irritability, reduced concentration, digestive upset and headaches. 

Supplementing Pycnogenol® has been found to reduce the symptoms associated with travel fatigue[7], possibly due to the nutrient’s circulation benefits and antioxidant potency. 

With all of these studied benefits, Pycnogenol® is emerging as a natural, safe supplement for long-distance travellers.



[1] Rohdewald, P. (2002) ‘A review of the French maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol), a herbal medication with a diverse clinical pharmacology’ International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 40(4):158-168.

[2] Fine, A. (2000) ‘Oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes: history, structure and phytopharmaceutical applications’ Alternative Medicine Review: A Journal of Clinical Therapeutics 5(2):144-151.

[3] D’Andrea, G. (2010) ‘Pycnogenol: A blend of procyanidins with multifaceted therapeutic applications’ Fitoterapia 81(7):724-736.

[4] Belcaro, G. Cesarone, M. Rohdewald, P. et al. (2004) ‘Prevention of venous thrombosis and thrombophlebitis in long-haul flights with pycnogenol’ Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis 10(4):373-377.

[5] Wilder-Smith, A. Mustafa, F. Peng, C. et al. (2012) ‘Transient immune impairment after a simulated long-haul flight’ Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine 83(4):418-423.

[6] Verlaet, A. Van der Bolt, N. Brynaert, A. et al. (2019) ‘Toll-like receptor-dependent immunomodulatory activity of pycnogenol’ Nutrients 11(2):214.

[7] Belcaro, G. Cornelli, U. Dugall, M. et al. (2018) ‘Long-haul flights, edema and thrombotic events: prevention with stockings and pycnogenol supplementation (LONGFLIT registry study)’ Minerva Cardioangiolica 66(2):152-159.

Back to the top