To address this problem, a clinical study was conducted with 66 healthy recreational sports enthusiasts to explore the benefits of using Pycnogenol® in reducing the occurrence of muscle cramps and alleviating muscular pain during and after intensive exercise [Vinciguerra et al., 2006]. The study employed a placebo-controlled approach, with participants documenting their cramp episodes and pain levels using a visual analogue scale ranging from "no pain at all" (0) to "unbearable pain" (10). Baseline values were established during a two-week pre-treatment phase. Subsequently, the participants were divided into two groups: one received Pycnogenol® supplementation while the other received a placebo. After four weeks, the pain levels and cramping episodes were reassessed. Additionally, the researchers evaluated whether the benefits of Pycnogenol® persisted or if a relapse occurred by conducting a follow-up assessment one week after discontinuation of the supplementation.
Muscle cramps and pain are common issues that affect athletes, both during physical activity and in the recovery phase that follows. These discomforts are often attributed to insufficient conditioning and stretching of the body. In particular, when engaging in sports activities in warm weather, it is crucial to maintain proper hydration with electrolytes like potassium and magnesium. It has been increasingly recognised that cramping and painful muscles result from the limited blood circulation that hampers the supply of oxygen, nutrients, hydration, and electrolytes to the working muscles.
To ensure hydration was not a contributing factor to muscle cramps, participants were advised to consume at least 1.5 litres of water daily. The study results showed a significant reduction in the severity of cramping pain, with both athletes and recreational sports enthusiasts experiencing a decrease to 13% and 25% of their respective pre-treatment values after four weeks of Pycnogenol® treatment. Upon discontinuing Pycnogenol® intake for one week, a minor and statistically insignificant increase in cramping pain scores was observed.
In terms of cramp frequency, the group of healthy recreational subjects reported a decline from an average of 4.8 incidents per week at baseline to 1.3 after four weeks of Pycnogenol® supplementation. The group of athletes, who initially experienced a higher rate of muscle cramps with an average of 8.6 episodes per week, saw their frequency decrease to an average of 2.4 per week with Pycnogenol®. Importantly, after discontinuation of Pycnogenol® supplementation for one week, the average cramp frequency did not increase in any of the three groups, indicating a lasting effect of Pycnogenol®.
In summary, Modex which contains pycnogenol in a clinically proven dose offers a promising solution to address the problem of cramping and painful muscles in athletes. By improving blood circulation and enhancing the supply of vital substances to the muscles, Pycnogenol® helps reduce the severity and frequency of muscle cramps, thereby providing relief and improving athletic performance.
We have been conducting clinical trials with La Trobe University and one of our founders is here talking to Dr Chris Van Der Poel about the importance of muscle oxygenation during and after exercise during a VO2 max testing session with former elite cyclists Tommy Nankervis.