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nightsurfer on 2009-12-18"Proanthocyanidin (PA or PAC), also known as procyanidin, oligomeric proanthocyanidin (OPC), leukocyanidin, leucoanthocyanin and condensed tannins, is a class of flavanols. Proanthocyanidins are essentially polymer chains of flavonoids such as catechins. One was discovered in 1936 by Professor Jacques Masquelier and called Vitamin P, although this name did not gain official category status and has since fallen out of usage. It was Masquelier who first developed techniques for the extraction of proanthocyanidins from certain plant species.
Proanthocyanidins have been sold as nutritional and therapeutic supplements in Europe since the 1980s, but their introduction to the United States market has been relatively recent.
In the human body, they might act as antioxidants (free radical scavengers). 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, emolliating blood vessels, lowering blood pressure, preventing blood vessel scleroses, dropping blood viscidity and preventing thrombus formation .
Additionally, studies have shown that OPCs may prevent cardiovascular diseases by counteracting the negative effects of high cholesterol on the heart and blood vessels.
Pycnogenol® is the name of such an OPCs commercial formulation.
OPCs are available from fresh grapes, grape juice, and red wine. Although in milligrams per ounce red wine may contain more OPCs than red grape juice, red grape juice contains more OPCs per average serving size. An 8 ounce serving of grape juice averages 124 milligrams OPCs, while a 5 ounce serving of red wine averages 91 milligrams. Many other foods and beverages also contain high amounts of OPCs, but very few come close to the levels found in red grape seeds and skins (which readily disperse into grape juice when crushed)