OPC’s (Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins) are a set of bioflavonoid complexes that perform as free radical scavengers in the human body. Many names refer to this set of bioflavonoids, including PCO’s (Oligomeric Procyanidolic Complexes), leuco anthocyanin, anthocyanidin and still others. Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPC) are found in many plants throughout the plant kingdom with varying degrees of concentration.
Most notably Proanthocyanidins are found in pine bark, grape seed, and grape skin. However, bilberry, cranberry, black currant, green tea, black tea, and other plants also contain these flavonoids.
It is the molecular complex OPC that is important – not the fact that it comes from grape seed or pine bark.
OPC is unique and distinctly different from not only grape seed extract, but any other nutritional supplement available today. This super nutrient supports virtually every metabolic system in the body.
OPC is a complex of a specific molecule, technically known as a flavan-3-ol molecule. It is extremely unique that certain plants can bond flavan-3-ol molecules to form entirely new oligomeric molecular configurations called OPC. Two flavan-3-ol molecules together form a “dimer,” and three molecules bonded together form a “trimer.”
Interestingly, by itself, the flavan-3-ol molecule (also known as a catechin) is not highly bioavailable and has less biological activity than OPC in the body. However, bonded together as dimers and trimers [OPC] they become extremely biologically active in a profoundly effective way in the human body and are the source of a stunning array of proven health benefits.
In lay terms, OPC is a natural compound present in most fruits and vegetables, and particularly in plant bark, skin, and seeds. It is not usually found in our daily diets in quantities approaching therapeutic value, and the amount present in raw food is often destroyed during cooking. However, supplementation with OPC extracted from pine bark and from grape seeds has been shown to protect against cardiovascular and other degenerative diseases and to have numerous other benefits, including: lowering LDL cholesterol levels, reducing platelet aggregation, increasing the strength and elasticity of blood vessels, helping collagen repair itself, reducing edema and inflammation, relieving functional problems associated with varicose veins, lessening the tendency toward diabetic retinopathy, and improving skin health.