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Proanthocyanidins

Proanthocyanidins—also called "OPCs" for oligomeric procyanidins or "PCOs" for procyanidolic oligomers—are a class of nutrients belonging to the flavonoid family.

Uses

Used for Amount Why
Chronic Venous Insufficiency 50 to 100 mg two to three times daily Proanthocyanidins have been shown to strengthen capillaries in double-blind research.
Capillary Fragility 150 mg daily Proanthocyanidins extracted from grape seeds have been shown to increase capillary strength in people with hypertension and diabetes.
Retinopathy 150 mg daily Found in pine bark, grape seed, and other plant sources, proanthocyanidins may help slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy.
Sunburn 1.1 to 1.66 mg per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of body weight per day during periods of high sun exposure These flavonoids may increase the amount of ultraviolet rays necessary to cause sunburn.

How It Works

100 mg per day is considered a reasonable supplemental level by some doctors, but optimal levels remain unknown.

Where to Find It

Proanthocyanidins can be found in many plants, most notably pine bark, grape seed, and grape skin. However, bilberry, cranberry, black currant, green tea, black tea, and other plants also contain these flavonoids. Nutritional supplements containing proanthocyanidins extracts from various plant sources are available, alone or in combination with other nutrients, in herbal extracts, capsules, and tablets.

Possible Deficiencies

Flavonoids and proanthocyanidins are not classified as essential nutrients because their absence does not induce a deficiency state. However, proanthocyanidins may have many health benefits, and anyone not eating the various plants that contain them would not derive these benefits.

Side Effects

Flavonoids in general, and proanthocyanidins specifically, have not been associated with any consistent side effects. As they are water-soluble nutrients, excess intake is simply excreted in the urine.

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known interactions with this supplement.


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