Benefits of Pine Needle Extract as A Brain Support Supplement

Benefits of Pine Needle Extract as A Brain Support Supplement

The intricate biochemistry and structure of the human brain make it uniquely vulnerable to decline over time. Oxidative stress, inflammation, impaired circulation, and loss of nerve cell signaling can all contribute to neurological dysfunction. This has driven interest in natural products that can support overall brain health and enhance cognition.

One promising botanical is pine needle extract derived from various pine tree species. As a brain support supplement, pine needle extract is an excellent addition to your health regimen. By incorporating it into your daily routine, you can unlock the numerous health-supportive advantages it offers for cognitive function, memory, and neurological health.

This article will provide a comprehensive breakdown of the benefits of pine needle extract and how to incorporate this nootropic supplement into your wellness regimen with the help of Ascent Nutrition.

Pine Needle Benefits for Brain Health

The wonders of nature never cease to amaze, and pine needle extract is no exception. This natural supplement, derived from the needles of only a select few pine trees, is brimming with potential benefits for supporting brain health and overall well-being.

The needles of pine trees contain a variety of phytochemicals, including naturally occurring shikimic acid, plant acids, procyanidins, free radical scavengers, vitamin C, and flavonoid glycosides, that work synergistically to offer health-supportive effects for the brain.

Read on for an in-depth look at the science behind how pine needle extract supports brain health, blood circulation, and myelin sheath integrity to optimize neurological function.

We will also discuss how pine needle compounds help support the body in counteracting the effects of environmental toxins like glyphosate on gut flora, which form a critical link to brain function through the gut-brain axis.

Here are the benefits of pine needle extract as a brain support supplement:

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Support Nerve Cell Health

One of the key compounds found in pine needles that makes them beneficial for brain health is naturally occurring shikimic acid. Shikimic acid plays an important role in supporting the myelin sheath [1].

The myelin sheath is a fatty insulating layer that surrounds nerve fibers and allows them to transmit signals rapidly. Myelin facilitates communication between brain cells and is essential for cognitive function.

Unfortunately, factors such as aging, inflammation, and oxidative stress can damage the myelin sheath, leading to a decline in cognitive function.

By supporting healthy myelin, shikimic acid helps support efficient cell-to-cell communication through nerve cell axons. This leads to enhanced cognitive processing speed, memory, learning capabilities, and other brain functions dependent on nerve signaling.

Rich in naturally occurring shikimic acid, pine needle extract is an excellent brain support supplement for helping maintain optimal myelin health and integrity of the myelin sheath. Along with its free radical scavengers, pine needle extract provides multi-targeted support for brain cell communication and cognition.

Pine Needle Benefits for Memory

Pine needles contain several compounds that may aid memory and enhance cognitive performance [2].

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers sought to examine the “hippocampal memory enhancing activity of pine needle extract” [3].

Their findings suggested that pine needle extract could be a potent nootropic supplement to support memory via several mechanisms. Some of the benefits of pine needles for memory include:

  • Promoting hippocampal neurogenesis – i.e., the process by which new nervous system cells are formed.

  • Free radical scavenging properties. Free radicals can damage neurons involved in memory and learning. The free radical scavengers in pine needles help to facilitate the neutralization of these reactive molecules, helping reduce oxidative stress in brain cells.

  • Promoting the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is an important molecule involved in memory and learning.

  • Stimulation of the cholinergic system (i.e., nerve cells that respond to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine) has been shown to promote neuroplasticity and enhance memory consolidation, learning, and attention [4]. Pine needle compounds help promote optimal levels of acetylcholine, which is linked to enhanced memory consolidation and recall [5].

So in multiple ways, from stimulating neurotransmitters to supporting the brain’s defenses against oxidative damage, pine needle extract provides broad support for different aspects of memory and cognition.

Promote Healthy Gut Flora

Glyphosate is a commonly used herbicide that inhibits the shikimic acid pathway, which is present in plants and gut bacteria [6]. This pathway is essential for the synthesis of key amino acids and other important compounds.

Given the prevalence of the herbicide glyphosate in our modern world, many people may be exposed to glyphosate residues in food. Over time, this can negatively impact the shikimic acid pathway function and alter the gut microbiome.

Preserving the function and integrity of the Shikimic Acid Pathway is important for maintaining healthy gut flora populations.

The health of our gut flora, also known as the microbiome, plays a significant role in our overall well-being, including our brain health. The gut and the brain are connected through a complex network known as the gut-brain axis, which allows the two systems to communicate and influence each other [7].

The gut flora has a major influence on the gut-brain axis and overall brain health in the following ways:

  • Producing Neurotransmitters – Many neurotransmitters implicated in mood, appetite, cognition, and stress response like serotonin, GABA, dopamine, and acetylcholine are synthesized by gut bacteria.

  • Regulating Inflammation – Gut microbes modulate inflammatory pathways linked to cognitive decline and neurodegeneration. Dysbiosis can trigger excessive inflammation in the gut.

  • Influencing Neuroplasticity – Gut flora release compounds like short-chain fatty acids that support neuroplasticity and hippocampal neurogenesis.

  • Maintaining Blood-Brain Barrier Integrity – Gut bacteria metabolites fortify the blood-brain barrier, protecting the brain from toxins and oxidative stress.

  • Direct Neuronal Signaling – Vagal nerve fibers directly link the GI tract with the brain, allowing gut microbe signals to rapidly influence brain function.

Given the gut flora's major role in mental health and cognition, protecting the shikimic acid pathway from glyphosate's effects is key.

Pine needle extract is a natural source of shikimic acid that helps nourish gut microbes, safeguard neurotransmitter production, and maintain the gut-brain connection [8].

Potent Free-Radical Scavengers

Pine needles are rich in a variety of free radical scavengers [9]. Free radicals are unstable reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can damage neurons and brain tissue through oxidative stress.

Key compounds in pine needles with free radical scavenging capacity include:

  • Polyphenols like flavonoids, stilbenes, and phenolic acids - These restrain oxidation and protect brain cell membranes and DNA

  • Carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein – These neutralize singlet oxygen and peroxyl radicals

  • Vitamin C – Directly scavenges diverse ROS and regenerates other free radical scavengers like vitamin E

  • Terpenoids like monoterpenes – These exhibit broad antioxidant effects and support antioxidant enzymes

  • Trace minerals like selenium – These help form enzymes like glutathione peroxidase, which are key in the body’s free radical scavenging activities.

In particular, pine needles have very high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) values – a measure of total free radical scavenging power. The polyphenols, carotenoids, vitamin C, and terpenoids act synergistically as free radical scavengers.

This provides pine needle extract with exceptional free radical scavenging activity to counteract oxidative damage from:

  • Normal metabolic processes that generate ROS

  • Exposure to environmental toxins

  • Neuroinflammation

  • Accumulation of misfolded proteins

Through these mechanisms, the free radical scavenging capacity of pine needle extract supports brain health by preserving optimal redox balance, promoting nerve cell membrane integrity, and helping support the body’s ability to reduce oxidative stress damage on neurons and brain tissue.

By protecting against oxidative stress, pine needle extracts support the structural integrity and healthy functioning of the brain's neurons. This, in turn, promotes cognitive function, memory, and learning abilities.

Support Healthy Blood Circulation

Another benefit of pine needle extract as a brain support supplement is its role in promoting healthy blood circulation, which is essential for delivering oxygen, glucose, and nutrients to the brain. Robust cerebral blood flow also allows efficient removal of metabolic wastes.

The naturally occurring plant acids, procyanidins, and flavonoid glycosides in pine needle extract are known to support heart health and improve blood flow. As a result, this can lead to enhanced cognitive function and overall brain health.

Some of the key mechanisms through which pine needles may support brain circulation include promoting vasodilation and supporting a healthy inflammatory response [10] [11].

Best Pine Needle Brain Support Supplement

As we strive for optimal cognitive function, the popularity of nootropic supplements has skyrocketed in recent years.

Brain support supplements like Lion’s Mane Mushroom and Algae Oil DHA are designed to enhance cognitive function, memory, and overall brain health. Pine needle extract, with its natural components and unique benefits, is emerging as a promising addition to the nootropic supplement category.

As a brain support supplement, Pine Needle Extract provides a natural and effective solution to help promote optimal neurological health and overall well-being. Its various components work synergistically to support brain function, memory, and overall cognitive health.

However, not all pine needle extract supplements are created equal.

If you’re looking for a pine needle supplement to support your brain health, consider Ascent Nutrition. Our pine needles are sustainably wild harvested from White Pine (Pinus strobus) trees in remote Canadian forests, ensuring the supplement is as clean and pure as nature intended.

Ascent Nutrition's Pine Needle Extract stands out due to its unique composition, containing potent free-radical scavengers, essential oils, vitamin C, and naturally occurring shikimic acid extracted into Organic Vegetable Glycerin (unlike other sources that use alcohol as the preservative).

Visit our product page for more information on pine needle benefits, suggested use, and customer reviews.


  1. Lu, F., Yin, D., Pu, Y., Liu, W., Li, Z., Shao, Q., ... & Cao, L. (2019). Shikimic acid promotes oligodendrocyte precursor cell differentiation and accelerates remyelination in mice. Neuroscience Bulletin, 35, 434-446:

  2. Lee, J. S., Kim, H. G., Lee, H. W., Kim, W. Y., Ahn, Y. C., & Son, C. G. (2017). Pine needle extract prevents hippocampal memory impairment in acute restraint stress mouse model. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 207, 226-236:

  3. Lee, J. S., Kim, H. G., Lee, H. W., Han, J. M., Lee, S. K., Kim, D. W., ... & Son, C. G. (2015). Hippocampal memory enhancing activity of pine needle extract against scopolamine-induced amnesia in a mouse model. Scientific reports, 5(1), 9651:

  4. Power, A. E. (2004). Slow-wave sleep, acetylcholine, and memory consolidation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101(7), 1795-1796:

  5. Hasselmo, M. E. (2006). The role of acetylcholine in learning and memory. Current opinion in neurobiology, 16(6), 710-715: 

  6. Leino, L., Tall, T., Helander, M., Saloniemi, I., Saikkonen, K., Ruuskanen, S., & Puigbo, P. (2021). Classification of the glyphosate target enzyme (5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase) for assessing sensitivity of organisms to the herbicide. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 408, 124556:

  7. Appleton, J. (2018). The gut-brain axis: Influence of microbiota on mood and mental health. Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal, 17(4), 28:

  8. Li, X., Mo, K., Tian, G., Zhou, J., Gong, J., Li, L., & Huang, X. (2023). Shikimic Acid Regulates the NF-κB/MAPK Signaling Pathway and Gut Microbiota to Ameliorate DSS-Induced Ulcerative Colitis. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry:

  9. Koutsaviti, A., Toutoungy, S., Saliba, R., Loupassaki, S., Tzakou, O., Roussis, V., & Ioannou, E. (2021). Antioxidant potential of pine needles: a systematic study on the essential oils and extracts of 46 species of the genus Pinus. Foods, 10(1), 142:

  10. Chen, G. H., Li, Y. C., Lin, N. H., Kuo, P. C., & Tzen, J. T. (2017). Characterization of vasorelaxant principles from the needles of Pinus morrisonicola Hayata. Molecules, 23(1), 86:

  11. Chiu, H. F., Wang, H. M., Shen, Y. C., Venkatakrishnan, K., & Wang, C. K. (2019). Anti‐inflammatory properties of fermented pine (Pinus morrisonicola Hay.) needle on lipopolysaccharide‐induced inflammation in RAW 264.7 macrophage cells. Journal of food biochemistry, 43(11), e12994: 

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