5-HTP is an amino acid. Amino acids are substances that build proteins in your body. 5-HTP is related to serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood, sleep, and pain. It is available as a supplement and is generally considered safe, although some contaminated supplements have caused dangerous side effects.
There's good evidence that pycnogenol helps with eye damage caused by diabetes.
More research is needed to see how this supplement affects all of these conditions.
Pycnogenol may help with other conditions as well. They include:
Pain during pregnancy
We need more research to know for sure if pycnogenol helps treat these conditions.
Optimal doses of pycnogenol have not been set for any condition. Quality and active ingredients in supplements may vary widely from maker to maker. This makes it very hard to set a standard dose. Ask your doctor for advice.
Can you get pycnogenol naturally from foods?
Traditionally, people might drink a brew made from pine bark -- rich in pycnogenol -- as a treatment.
What are the risks?
Tell your doctor about any supplements you're taking, even if they're natural. That way, your doctor can check on any potential side effects or interactions with medications.
Side effects. Pycnogenol seems safe for use in adults for up to 6 months. It may cause side effects such as:
Risks. Pycnogenol may stimulate the immune system. So it may not be safe for people with immune disorders, such as:
Interactions. If you take any medications regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using pycnogenol supplements. They could interact with medicines to suppress the immune system, chemotherapy drugs, and blood thinners.