OPC Factor and proanthocyanidins

By | March 22, 2009

OPCs (OPC Factor) or Oligomeric proanthocyanidins are getting attention in the anti aging community these days. They are what scientists call proanthocyanidins. As anti-oxidants, they are one of the most powerful antioxidants ever discovered, and thus, may prove useful in the fight against aging. Part of the flavanoids group (which includes rutin and hesperidin), they have the ability to neutralize free radicals into harmless substances in the body. Proanthocyanidins have as much as 50 times the ability of vitamin E to scavenge free radicals!

Free radicals are all around us, and are one of the prime causes of cellular aging. Unfortunately, our cells are exposed to all kinds of free radicals everyday, which bind to them and impair them from carrying out their functions properly. The air we breathe already contains free radicals and our water sources are choke full of it. Add to that, poor diet, pollutants and chemicals in food, and sleeping late, and you end up with health problems like premature aging.

Lately, OPCs and proanthocyanidins in general have been gaining increasing attention (along with resveratrol). Where are proanthocyanidins found? OPC Factor is most abundant in grapes and red wine, but generally, proanthocyanidins is abundant in apples, bilberry, cranberry, green tea, pine bark, red wine, peanuts (and anything to do with grapes).

red-grapes-red-wineIt’s a pity that today, it is difficult to obtain enough fruits and vegetables from our diets (and you can never have enough of them). Furthermore, proanthocyanidins are concentrated in the skin, bark, stems and leaves of plants, which are often discarded in food preparation, while the heat from cooking destroys whatever remains.

OPC Factor may increase energy levels as some studies have shown. They act within the cell membrane and inhibit the release of enzymes that damage the endothelium as well as support the collagen fibers in the cell walls. That’s why having a healthy intake of proanthocyanidins like OPCs can speed up wound healing, reduce varicose veins, improve the skin and blood circulation in the micro capillaries, and improve heart function. Bottom line – proanthocyanidins help you look younger. Yet, their greater potential may still lie in their cancer fighting abilities.

Taking OPC Factor along with CoQ10 and vitamin C, should be able to visibly improve skin tone and reduce wrinkles. I think many who are trying to bulk up on muscle by training hard and overloading on the whey protein fail to appreciate the healing effect of proanthocyanidins (like OPC Factor) on muscle cell and capillary recovery. It is not really mentioned much. One other thing to note, is they can cross the blood-brain barrier, thus are able to help keep the brain cells healthy.

Pretty impressive to me. If you consume a lot of fresh grape juice or red wine daily, you’re probably getting adequate OPCs, but not everyone has the luxury of drinking fresh grape juice every day. There might be other yet undiscovered plant sources out there, especially from tropical countries. The other alternative is buying them in capsule form (some brands stock them). Still, nothing beats a varied and balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruits. Nutrients always work best in synergy.