How to slam the brakes on cognitive decline—decades before it sets in

It never ceases to amaze me that so many doctors still neglect microcirculation in pursuit of “bigger” problems like coronary artery disease.

Not that coronary arteries aren’t important—obviously, they are. But we’re learning more and more every day about just how critical your body’s tiniest blood vessels really are. And with each new study, I’m more and more proud to have been preaching about microcirculation from the start.

But unfortunately, I’m also more and more concerned about what will happen to all those patients who have unwittingly neglected their own delicate microcirculation. Especially since new research shows that the damage may set in far earlier than you’d ever expect.

Take this shocking recent study, for example. Researchers at UC Davis assessed nearly 2,000 participants from the Framingham Heart Study, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and arterial tonometry (a measure of arterial stiffness).

Results showed that early signs of stiffening arteries are a smoking gun for structural brain changes linked to cognitive decline—including reductions in white matter and deteriorating gray matter.

Not shocking news by itself…until you consider that these changes were evident among healthy adults in their 40s.

This is the first study to identify this devastating trend in people so young. But it makes a lot of sense, when you think about it.

And if your larger arteries are starting to stiffen, it’s a pretty sure bet that your microcirculation has already been compromised for a while. And among many critical roles, these tiny blood vessels are responsible for delivering oxygen and nutrients to your brain.

This is exactly why Pycnogenol™ remains at the very top of my “Desert Island” supplement list, year after year.

As I’ve explained here before, clinical research shows that this specialized pine bark extract targets collagen and elastin, which are the building blocks that line your blood vessels and capillaries.

These two proteins break down over time, which can lead to leaky capillaries in the brain—and eventually, those telltale “stiffening” arteries. But Pycnogenol helps to replenish these two critical substances—maintaining flexibile vessel walls and free-flowing circulation.

In the end, the moral of this story is simple: Take 100 mg of Pycnogenol every day. Because you don’t want to wait until you have “big” problems to start paying attention to your microcirculation. If you do, it could be too late.


Maillard P, et al.  Stroke, 2016; 47 (4): 1030