Every time I say “OPC” I feel like I should be singing a rap song of some sort….”You down with OPC, yeah you know me.” Maybe Naughty By Nature needs another rap writer for their group…or maybe they need to get some Better Health By Heather.
So what exactly are OPC’s? I’m sure some of you are wondering, especially since quite a few of you are taking them on a regular basis. OPC stands for oligomeric proanthocyanidins and OPC’s are considered the most powerful of all antioxidant nutrients. Wikipedia describes OPC’s as a class of flavonoids that acts as antioxidants in the human body. OPC’s are found in some foods in very small amounts. The two main sources of OPC are pine bark extract produced from the bark of the French maritime pine tree and grape seed extract produced from the seeds or pips of the wine grape. Red wine extract is also a powerful source of OPC’s.
OPC’s have always been present in certain foods in small quantities but were not well studied until recently. According to Richard Passwater, PhD, who began researching OPC’s in 1960, OPC’s have a number of key actions. They can: (1) Boost immunity; (2) Ease hay fever and allergy symptoms; (3) Help keep skin smooth and youthfully flexible; (4) Help protect against complications of diabetes, such as retinopathy; (5) Help relax blood vessels, thereby improving blood circulation and helping to normalize blood pressure; (6) Protect against dangerous free-radical molecules (see my previous entry) which speed up the aging process and may set the stage for diseases including cancer and heart disease; (7) Reduce inflammation and help restore and maintain joint flexibility; (8) Reduce the effects of stress; (9) Reduce the risk of cataracts; and (10) Strengthen blood vessel walls, protect the linings of blood vessels, and reduce edema (swelling).
To read more in-depth about OPC’s you can check out Dr. Richard A. Passwater’s book entitled, “Live Better, Longer: The Science Behind the Amazing Health Benefits of OPC.” You can live better, live longer, and have more energy and more time to get down with your favorite rap songs.
You down with OPC?