Antioxidants and OPC

Antioxidants and OPC

Scientific research has clearly demonstrated that free radicals contribute to the destruction of cells and tissue. Since numerous health problems and evidence of early aging result from cellular damage, it is extremely important to implement antioxidants to protect from an excess of free radicals.

In the meantime, free radicals have been associated with the development of more than 50 different disorders and diseases: arteriosclerosis, cardiac infarction, diabetes, rheumatism, autoimmune diseases, allergies, immunodeficiency, cancer, and many others. In particular, free radicals play a significant role by inflammatory or degenerative diseases.

Our modern living conditions lead to an increase in free radicals. Factors such as environmental pollution, alcohol, smoking, specific medication such as cytostatic agents or the pill, exposure to radiation, tumours, physical exhaustion, stress, excessive sunbathing and food additives promote the formation of free radicals, creating oxidative stress.

The formation and effects of free radicals

In order to produce energy, our organism needs oxygen. As part of this process, highly reactive, aggressive by-products called free radicals are formed. These free radicals are tiny components of chemical compounds, which have unpaired electrons. Since they strive to regain an electron to form an even number, they are highly reactive and pry electrons from other molecules. This leads to oxidation.

Free radicals are permanently produced by our body as a result of normal metabolic processes, but also through environmental influences. Some of them can be avoided through a healthy lifestyle, while others leave humans more or less helplessly exposed.

Free radicals preferably attack vital proteins and fats, but they can also turn against cell interiors, the genome or our cell membranes. The fine membranes of human cells are especially sensitive and are easily destroyed by these assaults. Cells damaged in this way will either die or mutate. Over years these defects accumulate and diseases develop or early aging takes place. Any tissue or organ can be affected.

The meaning of antioxidants

Free radicals only harm the body when they prevail and the organism is no longer able to control them. A healthy body is equipped with protective mechanisms, so-called antioxidants, such as enzymes (superoxide dismutase, SOD), the glutathione system or vitamins that neutralise these highly active substances to protect from an excess of free radicals. Antioxidants are able to release an electron without becoming free radicals themselves. Antioxidants thus provide free radicals with electrons and render them harmless. Their aggressiveness is hampered and the oxidation of cell structures and protein molecules is prevented. Antioxidants act as protective substances and radical interceptors.

Where are antioxidants found?

Via a balanced healthy diet with much fruit, vegetables and mushrooms many antioxidants are consumed, including vitamins A, B, C and E, beta carotene, lycopene, anthocyanins and allicin. Additionally, with secondary plant substances (flavonoids) substances are consumed which regenerate radical interceptors in the body. Since antioxidants mutually support and potentiate one another, it is important to ingest a variety as varied as they occur in nature.

Trace elements such as zinc, copper or selenium are essential for the activities of various enzymes which contribute to antioxidant processes. Scientists at Penn State University have found that mushrooms are so rich in antioxidants that they surpass many other foodstuffs.

OPC as the most effective antioxidant

The most effective antioxidant is OPC (Oligomere Proanthocyanidine), a member of the flavanone group. Grape seeds contain large amounts of OPC. It was discovered by French scientist Prof.Dr. Jack Arthur Masquelier who undertook experiments on peanuts in the early 1940s. He identified a colourless substance, highly effective in protecting blood vessels. In 1995, Masquelier was able to prove the existence of the same substance in grape skin and seeds and that the vessel-protecting properties of these flavanoles are more effective than those of flavonoids.

OPC has a nearly 100% bioavailability. Within seconds of consumption, it is traceable in the blood and disperses throughout the body. It is water-soluble and reaches its highest concentration in the blood after 45 minutes. 72 hours after consumption it is completely consumed. As with vitamin C, it can pass the blood-cerebral barrier and also unfolds its effect in the brain. In only 24 hours the blood vessels have doubles their resiliance.

According to studies conducted by the Pasteur and Huntington Institutes, OPC is non-toxic, non-carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and non-mutagenic (it doesn’t change genetic material). OPC binds to proteins, especially collagen, and thus strengthens the blood vessels, improves the blood circulation and can contribute to reducing plaques.

OPC also ensures higher resilience, better memory, slows down the aging process, and protects against caries and inflammations. In addition, it strengthens the immune system and regulates histamine release.

Due to OPC´s special effect on collagen, complexion and connective tissue are also improved. Likewise, antioxidants may be effectively used to treat hormonal disorders, psychological fragility and chronic exhaustion. Furthermore, direct antiviral (influenza and herpes virus) and antibacterial properties through proanthocyanidins have been determined.

OPC and natural vitamin C as perfect combination

OPC acts similarly to the cofactor in natural vitamin C. It reinforces its effectiveness and in particular activates the production of collagen. These two substances are synergetic, i.e. they mutually support and potentiate their antioxidant properties. Thus a combination of consumption of natural vitamin C and OPC to ensure maximum effectiveness is recommended.

The human body is not capable of producing OPC and, as for vitamin C, must be ingested through our food. However, on average we only consume 3 mg of proanthocyanidine per day, although an amount of 20 mg per each 10 kilos of body weight is recommended. According to scientific studies, the antioxidant effect of OPC is 50 times stronger than that for vitamin E.

In combination with natural vitamin C, OPC can be implemented for numerous chronic diseases, and is also highly recommended for the prevention of future health damage.

However, in this case it is also important not to use individual substances extracted from grape seeds, but instead to consume the whole seed with its grape seed oil. The synergy of all components is decisive.

OPC keeps us young longer

Oxidative stress plays a significant role in aging. The combination of OPC and natural vitamin C can thus become an integral part of the physical defence system and help to sustainably preserve health. For instance, by supporting the vascular system and its capillary functions, OPC prevents or retards beginning circulatory problems. In addition, various neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease or dementia are connected with chronic exhaustion caused by oxidative stress.

Quick recovery after sports 

During sport, the production of free oxygen radicals increases. Antioxidants such as OPC are able to detoxify the peroxides produced through heightened physical activity. Furthermore, OPC helps to normalise situations that trigger inflammatory reactions.