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OPCs can make a heart happy

February 10, 2019 GMT

Grape seed extract supplements have been on the shelves of your local health food store for quite a while. Known for years as a heart-healthy antioxidant, recent data has shown the impressive benefits the active property of this extract can have on the cardiovascular system.

An Italian medical study in 2013 found that both of the groups with pre- or mild hypertension taking grape seed extract had improvement in blood pressure. Even more impressive was that 93 percent of the high dose group, 300 milligrams a day, had their blood pressure return to normal levels in just four months.

Oligomeric proanthocyanidins, otherwise known as OPCs are the grape seed’s heavy hitter of an active property. These OPCs have been shown to promote the release of nitric oxide, which allows blood vessels to relax and increases blood flow. This action, at least in part, could shed a light on why grape seed extract performed so well in the study. Everyone, from heart-healthy consumers to elite athletes, is looking for products that promote higher nitric oxide levels, so high-OPC grape seed extracts could be a good supplement to include in many supplement regimens.

Not all OPCs are created equal. Tannins, another group of properties in grape seeds, seem to interfere with the absorption of OPCs. So, look for grape seed supplements that state that they are “low tannin” or “tannin free.” Unfortunately, many cheaper grape seed supplements have been found to be adulterated with lower quality OPCs from peanut skins, so be sure that you buy grape seed supplements from a highly trusted brand.

In addition to cardiovascular benefits, grape seed OPCs are showing great promise in supporting healthy blood sugar levels, promoting a healthy inflammation response and protecting brain health. For obvious reasons, many are praising grape seed OPCs, not only as a cardiovascular superstar, but also as a great antioxidant with a wide variety of benefits.

Travis Lemon is a certified herbalist and co-owner of Tulsi at The Market in Huntington. He has worked in the natural health and wellness industry for over 14 years. He can be contacted at