Natural Alternatives: Pycnogenol-Proanthocyanadin for ADHD

People share stories about Pycnogenol and Proanthocyanadin for naturally treating ADHD symptoms, plus story on manufacturers of dietary supplement products settling charges on false ADHD claims.

Natural Alternatives for ADHD

Bill Scott of Michigan wrote to us about his grandson, Christopher...

"My purpose in writing is to agree that Ritalin helps to focus the person, so they will pay attention (some times), but it does nothing for behaviour problems. We started giving Christopher a substance called PYCNOGENOL about 8 months ago and it has helped tremendously with his behaviour problems. PYCNOGENOL is made from the bark of the Maritime Pine Tree in the south of France. It is from the family, PROANTHOCYANIDIN, of which there are many cheaper alternatives. You can purchase, from health food stores, straight Proanthocyanadin,or...we have been using grape seed extract, with about the same results. Christopher is about 142 lbs at 12 years of age,and we give him a 50Mg tablet 3 times per day.

I am not a doctor, but from what I have read it works like this, and I will be using the term Proanthocyanidin, because that is the root family. All of these "food supplements" are basically anti-oxidants, which act to transport free-radical damage out of the body. They are 50 times more powerful then aspirin. One needs to be aware that if the child has FM (Fibromyalgia), you shouldn't be using any plant based product. Assuming that your child may not also have FM, there should not be a problem. For kids with E-I (Emotional Impairment) disturbances and/or ADHD, the body produces defective DOPAMINE, or, not enough of it. Remember, I am not a doctor, so check with your Pediatric Neurologist. Anyhow, the ADHD person's body has these toxins running around in the blood stream as a result of the free-radical damage caused by defective Dopamine production. What an anti-oxidant does is to help transport these toxins out of the body, thereby giving some relief to the person's body and brain which are off the richter scale with who-knows-what."

Shelley Johnston writes......

"Just a quick note to pass along, we have found effalex to be ineffective for Jeffrey and are currently looking for alternatives. I have tried Pycnogenol without much success, but I must say it helped my older son who suffers from adhd but in a much less severe fashion."

Deborah writes......

"I found your website today and like the links. I have a 7 year old son with ADHD. I won't use Ritalin, but he is using Pycnogenol and capsules that contain evening primrose oil and flax seed oil. I started Pycnogenol at 5 yrs of age, and it made a noticable improvement in his behavior in one week. Once regular school started and we had LOTS more problems, I've added the evening primrose and flax seed oils. They seemed to help some also. I thought of discontinuing Pycnogenol, and haven't given it to him for about two weeks, but his behavior has deteriorated somewhat so I guess I'll buy some more....

I have not found anything that gives me an always compliant, quiet, and focused child. I think the natural remedies take the edge off but don't turn a child into someone else. So...don't expect miracles from these natural remedies. They just make the world for your child a little easier to handle."Rosie writes......

"I just read your artical regarding, Melotone syrup; I didn't now it existed I am glad to here about it.

My son is 81/2 he his on Dexadrine & Clonidine, last month he was so hyper we didn't now what to do any more. Surfing the net I found an antioxidant. He his still on his med but I give him 2 50mg in the morning, and now he his calm, more focus, he is doing great at school. We are so pleased.

I recommend you look at it on world web type proanthenol and there are lots of info. The product is called Masquelier Original OPCs.

This summer I want to stop his med and try only the Proanthenol. I don't sell the product I am just pleased with the result"

Click here for more information on Pycnogenol. If you're in the U.K., Holland and Barrett Health Shops do Pycnogenol Gold, which we assume is the same, though we've not tried it ourselves.

In addition to the above information you should also be aware of the following...

Supplement firms to settle charges on ADHD claims

May 15, 2000
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Two manufacturers of dietary supplement products touted as helping to manage or cure attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that the claims they made for their products lacked adequate scientific substantiation, the FTC said.

The companies, Boston-based Efamol Nutraceuticals and Massena, Iowa-based J&R Research, would be prohibited by the proposed agreements from making certain claims about their products without adequate substantiation.

Efamol markets two supplements containing essential fatty acids, Efalex and Efalex Focus, which the company has promoted in a series of magazine advertisements.

One Efalex ad claims that studies "show that some children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder... have problems converting essential fatty acids into the long chain forms the body needs to maintain optimum eye and brain function."

"Only Efalex provides the precise combination of these important fatty acids--G.A., DHA and AA--to properly manage this deficiency," the ad states.

Another ad asserts that "nutritional research conducted at a major American university" has backed up the essential fatty acid deficiency theory for ADHD.

To promote its pycnogenol supplement for ADD/ADHD, J&R Research--a general partner in the Longmont, Colorado-based multi-level distributorship Kaire International--created advertising materials that it sold to Kaire distributors.

Pycnogenol "is becoming a very attractive first-line method of choice by many physicians, in preference to conventional drug administration" for children with attention disorders, the materials state. "Also, in most cases, traditional drug therapy can usually be discontinued--or significantly reduced--provided the patient continues to consume pycnogenol."

The FTC noted that the two new agreements represent the agency's third and fourth cases involving products marketed to treat ADHD. Companies advertising unsubstantiated treatments for the condition "prey on a vulnerable population of parents who seek a 'natural' alternative to prescription medications," such as Ritalin, according to a statement released by the agency.

"Our fear is that parents who fall for the claims may ignore proven, and perhaps essential, treatments for their child's disorder," FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Jodie Bernstein explained. "That's why parents should exercise caution in giving supplements to their kids."

Along with barring the companies from making unsubstantiated claims, the proposed agreements include other provisions, such as a clause requiring the firms to make copies of advertising and consumer correspondence available to the FTC on request for a period of 5 years.

The commission has voted five to zero to accept the agreements for public comment. The Efamol and J&R Research proposals will be published in the Federal Register and open to comment until June 12 and July 12, respectively. After the comments period closes, the FTC will decide whether to make the agreements final.

The FTC has developed "Promotions for Kids' Dietary Supplements Leave Sour Taste," which offers pointers for parents. It is available on the Internet at

Further information about Pycnogenol can be found at:

Ed. Note:Please remember, we do not endorse any treatments and strongly advise you to check with your doctor before using, stopping or changing any treatment.


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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 26). Natural Alternatives: Pycnogenol-Proanthocyanadin for ADHD, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 16 from

Last Updated: February 12, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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