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Proanthocyanidins in foods

Related Terms

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Background

  • Proanthocyanidins are a group of chemical compounds found in many types of plants and are an important part of the human diet. Proanthocyanidins belong to a larger category of plant chemicals called flavonoids. Proanthocyanidins are sometimes called OPCs, an abbreviation for oligomeric procyanidins, or PCOs, an abbreviation for procyanidolic oligomers, both classes of nutrients belonging to the flavonoid family.
  • A variety of plants contain proanthocyanidins, including teas, black currant, bilberry, cranberry, grape seed, and grape skin. These useful antioxidant chemicals are also found in making red wines.
  • Although proanthocyanidins have been sold in Europe since the 1980s, they have not appeared in U.S. markets as therapeutic and nutritional supplements. Nutritional supplements containing proanthocyanidins are sold alone or in combination with other agents as tablets and capsules. Some health experts recommend that individuals consume between 50 and 100 milligrams of proanthocyanidins per day.
  • The proanthocyanidins present in red wine are thought to contribute to the "French Paradox," a hypothesis that attributes lower occurrence of heart disease in countries where moderate amounts of wine are a regular part of the diet.
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Proanthocyanidin Content in Selected Foods

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Theory and Evidence

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Safety

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.