Products from OPC extracts
Notes and Differences
OPC extracts and products
OPC, these are oligomer procyanidins or proanthocyanidins. They are a part of the group of flavanols, but not to the group of flavanoids, which they are sometimes mistakenly categorized in. The bark of the stone pine or the red grapes contain a high amount of proanthocyanidins, for example catechin, epicatechin, ECGallate, taxifolin and TFGlucoside.
These substances are so-called monomers, that means that they usually appear as single molecules. Catechins appear in green tea and explain its positive healthy effect. But as long as these molecules stay on their own (monomer proanthocyanidins) their effect is low. Only if they connect to multi-chain (= oligomer) molecules, the healing features appear. Proanthocyanidins become oligomer proanthocyanidins (OPC).
But there's also a requirement for the effect of the OPCs: The chains can only consist of a maximum of 5 molecules (pentamers). With 6 molecules, the OPCs can no longer enter the cell walls, because the chain is too big. This way, the OPCs cannot take effect. Only dimer (two-parted-chains) up to pentamers, the maximum, have a high bioavailability, that means they take effect in the body. The most effective OPC extracts are the ones with a high amount of short-chained OPCs. Ideally dimers and trimers. The amount of these two and three-parted chains should be about 30%.
That's why you should not only pay attention to the quantitative OPC content when choosing a product. Many suppliers advertise with unbelievable OPC contents of 200mg per capsule for a sensational price. The amount of OPCs alone doesn't say anything about their effects. As mentioned above, only short-chained OPCs are biologically effective. Request the chromatographic breakdown from every supplier. There you can see the percentual distribution of the OPC chains.
Rule: The higher the amount of short-chained OPCs, the more effective the compound.