Pycnogenol improved cognitive function, attention and exam results in students

Pycnogenol improved cognitive function, attention and exam results in students

Siema Vital Blog

Pycnogenol improved cognitive function and exam results in students

Zahariev Angel

An observational study in Pescara, Italy assessed the effects Pycnogenol on cognitive function, attention and mental performance in healthy university students. Fifty-three (53) students (aged 18-27 years) were administered 2×50 mg Pycnogenol tablets daily for 8 weeks. Fifty-five (55) similar students were followed up as a control group. All participants were considered ‘average’ students at inclusion based on their university test performance.

The actual, practical efficacy of Pycnogenol supplementation on cognitive performance was confirmed by evaluating the students’ marks obtained at academic examinations during the second month of treatment (weeks 5-8). Two comparable groups of 12 controls and 16 Pycnogenol subjects were evaluated for their examinations.


The cognitive performance of the subjects in this study was evaluated in a real challenging situation like the university examinations. Evaluating cognitive function and attention and their variations, particularly in normal subjects, is a difficult task. Coming out the tests themselves, generally changes test results. Most improvements may be due to the familiarization of the tested subjects with the tests. It would therefore be always better to test cognitive functions on actual daily tasks with an important motivational aspect like in this research assessing results of students to university examinations.

The number and proportion of failed tests were 9/84 (10.71%) in the control-group vs. 7/ 112 (6.25%) in the Pycnogenol- group (the difference of -4.46% of failures was statistically significant, P<0.043).

The average test mark (ranging from 0 to 30 with 18 set as the minimum value to pass the test) was 23.8 in the control group vs. 26.1 in the Pycnoggenol-group (a significant difference of +2.29) equivalent to 7.6%, p<0.024).

Importance of the Study

The study we present here is the first to investigate the effects of Pycnogenol in young healthy students. Students on the Pycnogenol-group statistically performed better than controls in a wide series of cognitive performance tests. The success rate of the exams and the average marks obtained were significantly better in the Pycnogenol group.

The study investigated 3 parameters of the mood rating scale24: anxiety, alertness and contentedness. All 3 parameters were statistically improved by 8 week supplementation with Pycnogenol compared to baseline and to the control group. This confirms previous results that indicated that patients with osteoarthritis treated for, at least, 4-6 weeks with Pycnogenol improve both their physical performances and their mental attitude and mood. However, it is the first time that this effect on mood could be shown in young healthy subjects.

In conclusion the study indicated a role for Pycnogenol to improve cognitive function in healthy students


Luzzi R és mtsai. Pycnogenol® supplementation improves cognitive function, attention and mental performance in students. Panminerva Medica 2011 Sep; 53 (3 Suppl 1): 75-82.

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