What are OPCs

Pines

Oligomeric proanthocyanidin (OPC) also known as Proanthocyanidin, procyanidin, leukocyanidin, leucoanthocyanin is a class of flavanol. OPCs were discovered in 1948 by Jack Masquelier.

Proanthocyanidins have been sold as nutritional and therapeutic supplements in Europe since the 1980s. Proanthocyanidins are the main vascular compound in red wine which is linked to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and to lower overall mortality. Proanthocyanidins are present at higher concentrations in wines from areas of southwestern France and Sardinia which are associated with increased longevity in the population.

A patented extract of apples and maritime pine bark called Pycnogenol bears 65-75 percent proanthocyanidins (procyanidins).Thus a 100mg serving would contain 65 to 75mg of proanthocyanidins (procyanidins). Studies show that proanthocyanidins antioxidant capabilities are 20 times more powerful than vitamin C and 50 times more potent than Vitamin E. So, to focus a little more on the Pycnogenol, which Is what the bulk of the studies have focused on:

 

 

Pycnogenols

  • have been shown to optimize the production of nitric acid in the artery walls so as to relax them and allow greater blood flow and reduced pressure.
  • has been found to normalize platelet aggregation so as to facilitate normal blood flow. Dr. Steven Lamb in his book the “Hardness Factor” even recommends it as an addition to men’s sexual health.
  • have antioxidant activity and they play a role in the stabilization of collagen and maintenance of elastin — two critical proteins in connective tissue that support organs, joints, blood vessels, and muscle.
  • possibly because of their effects on blood vessels, proanthocyanidins have been reported in double-blind research to reduce the duration of edema after face-lift surgery from 15.9 to 11.5 days.
  • Proanthocyanidins found in French maritime pine bark and grape seed extract work directly to help strengthen all the blood vessels and improve the delivery of oxygen to the cells.
  • Proanthocyanidins also have an affinity for cell membranes, providing nutritional support to reduce capillary permeability and fragility, giving support to the idea that it can help reduce the progression of diabetic retinopathy.
  • OPCs may help protect against the effects of internal and environmental stresses such as cigarette smoking and pollution, as well as supporting normal body metabolic processes.
  • The effects may include depressing blood fat, lowering blood pressure, preventing blood vessel scleroses, dropping blood viscosity and preventing thrombosis formation.
  • Studies have shown that OPCs may prevent cardiovascular disease by counteracting the negative effects of high cholesterol on the heart and blood vessels.
  • Pycnogenol has also been shown to help normalize blood glucose (sugar) levels, and delay sugar absorption.

So over all, OPC’s have shown themselves to be a great addition to mostly anyone’s health regimen. So where do you get them from? Although I believe in getting most of your nutrients from whole foods, in this case I find that the best source is a supplement made with pycnogenols. It is very important to make the distinction here because there are a lot of products on the market claiming to have OPC’s (and I don’t doubt they do), but most of the studies have been done on pycnogenols which are a special patented extraction of maritime pine bark. My favorite formulation is one that is delivered in a powdered, “isotonic” form. AN isotonic formula, when properly mixed with specific amount of water, ensures a more rapid absorption into the small intestines where most of the nutrient is absorbed. Isotonix OPC-3 has show itself to be one of the most popular formulations out in the market today with many copycats. Isotonix OPC-3 is the only isotonic capable Pycnogenol in the market to date. The only contra indications that I have come across are if you are allergic to any of the ingredients (obvious) or you have some type of fructose malabsorbtion.

My recommendations for dosages are 1mg for every pound of weight that is what the studies seem to be using and it works.

Obviously the usual disclaimer applies here- if you plan on taking any supplement consult with your physician this is general knowledge and not meant to be advise for any one individual.

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