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Pine-bark extract doesn't lower blood pressure levels

The list of nutritional supplements that live up to their promises keeps getting shorter. The latest one on the firing line is pine-bark extract. Although it's been touted by supplement makers as a way to lower blood pressure, researchers here discovered that it doesn't.

In a study published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researcher Randall Stafford, MD, PhD, and his colleagues report that a 12-week trial found that the extract, which is an antioxidant, didn't have any effect on the blood pressure levels of people involved in a clinical trial.

“While there’s a good biological basis to presume that antioxidant supplements might have a beneficial effect on heart health, this study is another example that they don’t,” said Stafford, associate professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center.

The study did confirm that the pine-bark extract was safe for consumption even though it didn’t improve heart health, but Stafford said many other dietary supplements haven’t undergone the same rigorous safety testing.

The study is yet another warning to consumers to be cautious about the health claims for nutritional supplements.

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