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Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins - What?!

Lets just say OPCs for short :)


So what is it? It is a class of nutrients important to our health. Bear with me here...

First we need to understand "free radicals"...


Free radicals are involved in the diseases and disorders commonly associated with growing older, such as arthritis, cancer or heart disease. However we can reduce our risk of these diseases by making use of OPCs which is a combination of antioxidant's. Free-radical pathology is the study of how these very reactive chemical species are involved in many disabling and fatal diseases.


"...Free radicals reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species are generated by our body....A balance between free radicals and antioxidants is necessary for proper physiological function. If free radicals overwhelm the body's ability to regulate them, a condition known as oxidative stress ensues. Free radicals thus adversely alter lipids, proteins, and DNA and trigger a number of human diseases. Hence application of external source of antioxidants can assist in coping with this oxidative stress. Synthetic antioxidants...have recently been reported to be dangerous for human health. Thus, the search for effective, nontoxic natural compounds with antioxidative activity has been intensified in recent years." (reference below)


Here is where the OPCs come into the picture. OPCs are a family of very powerful antioxidant nutrients. They are not just one nutrient but a group of very powerful antioxidant nutrients within the same family. They can:

* protect against the free-radical molecules, which speed up the aging process

* boost immunity

* ease allergy symptoms

* feed the skin keeping it smooth, flexible and youthful

* help relax blood vessels, improving blood circulation and normalize blood pressure

* Improve circulation and help keep blood cells slippery so they don't cause blood clots

* reduce inflammation

* strengthen blood vessel walls

* and more...


"An antioxidant is a molecule stable enough to donate an electron to a rampaging free radical and neutralize it, thus reducing its capacity to damage..... These low-molecular-weight antioxidants can safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged.... Although there are several enzymes system within the body that scavenge free radicals, the principle micronutrient (vitamin) antioxidants are vitamin E (α-tocopherol), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), and B-carotene. The body cannot manufacture these micronutrients, so they must be supplied in the diet."


To be considered an antioxidant, a compound must be so effective that a few molecules protect many other molecules by neutralizing bad molecules or fragments of molecules.

Bioflavonoids are a class of thousands of beneficial compounds found in plants. The structure of these antioxidant compounds enable them to easily donate electrons to other molecules.


There are thousands of bioflavonoids existing in nature. Scientists have identified over 4,000 of them so far. They are found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, cacao and in beverages such as tea and red wine. They give fruits their red, emerald green, blue and purple color pigments. (Think: blueberries, dark cherries, raspberries, red and purple grapes, beets, spinach....and so on...)


Proanthocyanidins also occur in plant metabolites found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, flowers, and bark such as the French Maritime Pine Bark.


Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins - are several units of proanthocyanidins joined together to form a series of oligo (many) proanthocyanidins or OPCs. Combined they are more powerful in fighting free radicals.


The top proanthocyanidins are:

* Pycnogenol (Pine bark extract - - from the French Maritime Pine tree)

* Grape seed extract

* Red wine extract

* Bilberry and

* Citrus bioflavonoids.


For more scientific information on free radicals go to link below

Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health


For information on the OPC formula that I use go HERE (Be sure to scroll down the page to see detailed information.)

The booklet "Live Better, Longer - The Science behind the Benefits of OPC" can be found on Amazon





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