An examination of the effects of the antioxidant Pycnogenol on cognitive performance, serum lipid profile, endocrinological and oxidative stress biomarkers in an elderly population

J Psychopharmacol. 2008 Jul;22(5):553-62. doi: 10.1177/0269881108091584.


The study examines the effects of the antioxidant flavonoid Pycnogenol on a range of cognitive and biochemical measures in healthy elderly individuals. The study used a double-blind, placebo-controlled, matched-pair design, with 101 elderly participants (60-85 years) consuming a daily dose of 150 mg of Pycnogenol for a three-month treatment period. Participants were assessed at baseline, then at 1, 2, and 3 months of the treatment. The control (placebo) and Pycnogenol groups were matched by age, sex, body mass index, micronutrient intake, and intelligence. The cognitive tasks comprised measures of attention, working memory, episodic memory, and psychomotor performance. The biological measures comprised levels of clinical hepatic enzymes, serum lipid profile, human growth hormone, and lipid peroxidation products. Statistically significant interactions were found for memory-based cognitive variables and lipid peroxidation products, with the Pycnogenol group displaying improved working memory and decreased concentrations of F2-isoprostanes relative to the control group.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Human Growth Hormone / drug effects
  • Human Growth Hormone / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Plant Extracts


  • Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids
  • Lipids
  • Plant Extracts
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • pycnogenols