If you’ve ever flown across time zones, you’re probably familiar with jetlag, a disorder that causes a variety of temporary mental and physical issues such as insomnia, fatigue, irritability and an impaired ability to concentrate. It is caused due to the body's inability to immediately adjust to the time in a different zone while traveling. As the body struggles to cope with the new schedule, temporary impairments may set in. In short, just when you want to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in a new place like Asia, Europe, or a distant locale in the US, jetlag gives you a not-so-fresh feeling.
However a new study published in the journal of Minerva Cardioangiologica reveals a pine bark extract from the French maritime pine tree called Pycnogenol® reduces jetlag in passengers by nearly 50 percent. That’s great news, especially with the holidays right around the corner.
The two-part study, conducted at the G. D'Annunzio University in Pescara, Italy, consisted of a scoring system and brain CT scan. Pycnogenol® lowered symptoms of jetlag such as fatigue, headaches, insomnia and brain edema or swelling. Passengers also experienced minimal lower leg edema, a common condition associated with long flights.
According to its website, Pycnogenol®’s four key properties are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, selectively binding to collagen and elastin, and aiding in the production of endothelial nitric oxide, which helps to vasodilate blood vessels.
Dr. Gianni Belcaro, a lead researcher of the study, attributes the results to Pycnogenol's® circulation benefits and antioxidant potency.
Passengers in the scoring portion of the study indicated a 56% lower score for the symptoms below, amounting in a significant reduction of all jetlag signs and symptoms. Moreover, symptoms lasted only for an average of 18.2 hours as compared to 39.3 hours in the control group.
- dehydration and loss of appetite; headaches and/or sinus irritation; fatigue;
- disorientation and/or grogginess; nausea and/or upset stomach; insomnia and/or
- highly irregular sleep patterns; irritability; irrational behavior;
- alteration in mental performance (easy crossword)
- alternations in general wellbeing
- hours of duration of any signs/symptoms
- nights of altered/disturbed sleep
In the CT portion of the study, symptoms were evaluated using a rating scale providing scores according to the severity. Sleep alterations, short-term memory alterations, disorientation, neurological signs/symptoms of instability, anxiety, minor cardiac alterations (heart rate, blood pressure), lower limb swelling, fatigue and other, a-specific signs/symptoms (cramps, joints/muscular pain, blurred vision, vertigo, mild sickness, increase in body temperature, appetite loss, headache, mild tongue swelling) were all significantly lower by 61.5% on average.
While more research needs to be conducted on this topic, Pycnogenol® is emerging as natural, yet safe option for long distance travelers.
Pycnogenol® can be found in supplements from Vitamin Shoppe, Whole Foods, GNC and Herbalife among others.