According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than 25 million Americans have asthmas. This is 7.7% of adults and 8.4% of children. Asthma has been increasing steadily since the early 1980s in all age, sex and racial groups.
Right now there is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed with proper prevention of asthma attacks and treatment. More Americans than ever before have asthma and its one of this country's most common and costly conditions.
Asthma is defined as a lung disease that causes obstruction of the air passages. It's the result of chronic inflammation, which activates immune cells recruited to the bronchi, which in turn causes swelling and greatly impairs breathing ability.
Asthmatics experience periods of wheezy breathing and breathlessness with periods of relative or complete freedom from symptoms. Allergens or irritating things such as: pollen, animal hair, chemical irritants, smoke and dust can trigger asthma symptoms. Even cold air and exercise can trigger asthmatic episodes.
Oxidative stress has been linked to the development and exacerbation of asthma.
Inflammation is a key component of asthma, and free radicals can increase inflammation in the lungs by activating immune cells and stimulating the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Free radicals can also damage lung tissue and airway cells, leading to bronchoconstriction and airway hyperresponsiveness, which are characteristic features of asthma.
Antioxidants, including OPCs, can help counteract oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals and reducing inflammation.
A few studies with pine bark extract against asthma have been conducted. In a 2004 study, asthmatic children supplementing with pine bark extract showed a significant reduction of inflammatory mediators that cause the inflammation and bronchi constriction that are commonly associated with asthma.
Pine park extract also improved pulmonary function (how well the lungs are working) and significantly decreased asthma symptoms AND dramatically lowered the need for people to use their rescue inhalers with albuterol.
Pine barks antioxidant activity and powerful anti-inflammatory properties work well to sooth the irritation that causes the bronchi to constrict and swell, making breathing difficult.
In the study breathing improved after only one month and continued with consistent supplementation of pine bark. The severity of asthmatic symptoms also decreased, as well as the reliance on a rescue inhaler.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences found that supplementation with grape seed extract, which is a rich source of OPCs, improved lung function and reduced asthma symptoms in people with mild-to-moderate asthma.
While more research is needed to fully understand the effects of oxidative stress on asthma and the potential benefits of antioxidant supplements, it is clear that oxidative stress plays a role in the development and exacerbation of asthma. Incorporating antioxidant-rich foods and supplements, such as OPCs, into a healthy diet may have potential benefits for managing asthma symptoms and reducing the risk of complications associated with the condition.