An emerging area of nutrition research is focused on improving brain health. Supplements with the potenital to enhance cognitive performance could have wide spread therapeutic. One supplement currently being investigated for its possible role in improving memory and other brain functions are the flavonoids called proanthocyanidins. Researchers from Australia and New Zealand tested the effects of a formula that consisted of an acqueos extract from the bark of New Zealand grown Pinus radiate which is a rich source of proanthocyanidins and other water-soluble flavonoids, flavonoids-conjugates and phenolic acids. Middle-aged men between 50 and 65 years supplemented with this formula or a placebo for 5 weeks. Before and after the supplementation period subjects were tested on a battery of computerized cognitive tests. Supplementation with Pinus radiate formula resulted in significant improvement in several measures including speed of response for the spatial working memory and immediate recognition tasks. These specific cognitive abilities tend to decline the most with age and therefore Pinus radiate has potential therapeutic value to help prevent the decline in cognitive performance associated with aging.

Pipingas A, Silberstein RB, Vitetta L, Rooy CV, Harris EV, Young JM, Frampton CM, Sali A, Nastasi J. Improved cognitive performance after dietary supplementation with a Pinus radiate bark extract formulation. Phytother Res. 2008 Sep;22(9):1168-74.