Side effects of pine bark extract include headache, nausea, dizziness and minor abdominal discomfort, according to Drugs.com. As of 2015, there is no available data or documentation regarding contraindications and drug interactions of pine bark extract.
Pine bark extract, also known as Pycnogenol, or maritime pine, contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help in improving circulation, preventing collagen from degradation and decreasing inflammation, states Drugs.com. Certain studies on pine bark extract indicate reduction in birch allergy symptoms, decrease in asthma symptoms, increase in athletic performance, and increase in mental function and memory, notes WebMD. Pine bark extract appears to reduce fluid retention and leg pain and heaviness in people with circulation disorders.
People with auto-immune conditions such as lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis should avoid using pine bark extract because it can cause the immune system to be extra active, which can worsen symptoms of these conditions, according to WebMD. Large doses of supplemental pine bark extract can increase the possibility of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders. Patients should stop taking pine bark extract about two weeks before surgery, as there are concerns of increased bleeding during and after surgery. Large doses can also significantly reduce blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes.