The Benefits of OPCs
What are OPCs?
OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidins) are a dietary supplement. They are a group of very potent antioxidant nutrients from the family of bioflavanoids. Some work primarily as antioxidants while others impede the actions of harmful substances in the body. Antioxidants can be attributed to reducing the probability for more than sixty diseases (Passwater, 2007).
Bioflavonoids are found in vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, grains, cacao, and in wine and tea. Along with their antioxidant benefits, bioflavonoids have anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, antiviral, and anticarcinogenic properties (Passwater, 2007).
Proanthocyanidins are a plant substance most often found in bark, flowers, seeds, nuts, vegetables, and fruits. The best sources of proanthocyanidins are red wine, pine bark, and grape seeds(Passwater, 2007). OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidins) can be found in small amounts in some foods. The two primary origins of OPCs are pine bark extract (Pycnogenol) which is produced from the bark of the French maritime pine tree and grape seed extract which are produced from the seeds of the wine grape. Another potent source of OPCs is red wine extract (Passwater, 2007).
Benefits of OPCs
According to Dr. Richard Passwater (2007), a research biochemist, the five most essential effects of OPCs are their power to:
Defend cells and destroy free radicals (damaging reactive cells in the body)
Help fight off many infections and improve the function of the immune system
Serve as a binding agent for skin protein's collagen and elastin which protects tissue and seals off porous capillaries
Improve the performance of the all the body's blood vessels
Prevent minute blood cells from binding together which inhibits circulation difficulties such as strokes, deep vein thrombosis, and heart attacks
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(two other important OPCs), the effect is much more substantial than the sum of their individual results. They can help improve other antioxidants in the cells. OPCs have effective immune-supporting, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-blood clotting processes. They are extremely potent antioxidants that are efficient against many types of harmful free radicals. Pycnogenol is extremely effective due to the strong combination of OPCs. It is many times more potent than both Vitamin C and Vitamin E (Passwater, 2007).
Significant Effects of OPCs:
- Support the immune system
Help relieve allergy symptoms and hay fever
Increase skin's elasticity and assist in keeping skin smooth
Assist in defending against complications of diabetes
Aid in improving blood circulation and normalizing blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels
Increase memory retention and ability to learner
Defend against harmful free-radical particles that can increase the aging process and increase the likelihood of heart disease, cancer, and more than sixty other diseases
Decrease inflammation and aid in restoring and maintaining joint flexibility
Decreasing the effects of stress
Decreasing the chance of cataracts
Defend the linings of blood vessels, strengthen the walls of blood vessels, and reduce swelling (Passwater, 2007).
The health benefits of taking an OPC supplement are immeasurable. From reducing the risk of cancer to slowing the aging process; from relieving allergies to treating symptoms of ADHD, the research on OPCs is substantial.
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Passwater, R. A. (2007). Live better, longer: The science behind the amazing health benefits of OPC (oligomeric proanthocyanidins). California: Basic Health Publications, Inc.