Consumer's Guide to

OPCs Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins

Ambiguous claims like "Finest Quality" or "Standardized" or "Extra OPC" are dubious to the trained observer who is left guessing about the origin and composition of the ingredients, and in which country and according to what standards it was produced.

"OPCs" and Grape Seed Extracts are Unreliable in the Marketplace

Consumers need to know that there is no industry standard for accurately identifying and quantifying products sold as OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidins) in the marketplace. For example, many "OPC" products claim to be standardized for "polyphenols," but that's not useful because the vast majority of polyphenols are unhealthy for consumption as they prevent nutrient absorption. (89,189-194)

So, because there is no industry standard, most so-called "OPC" products contain unidentified and untraceable extracts typically labeled vaguely as "grape seed extract" or "pine bark extract." Even the trained observer is left guessing about the origin of the ingredients, method of production, and in which country and according to what standards it was produced.

Unfortunately, most so-called "OPC" products contain nothing more than grape seeds or other plant parts which have been pulverized in a food processor—because producing extracts is extremely cheaper, easier and faster than isolating OPCs. Also, manufacturers use chemical solvents rather than water and food-grade alcohol. Manufacturers who actually isolate proanthocyanidins then fail to remove the many large proanthocyanidins from among the small ("oligomeric") proanthocyanidins (the importance of molecular size is discussed below). There is also wide variation between grape seeds used as well as seed separation, drying and storage. All of these differences have significant impact on the final composition--and why most are antinutritive and experts warn that they may be dangerous when taken in large amounts. (89,187,194)

Nevertheless, sellers of these so-called "OPC" products are currently borrowing research conducted on other products to support the efficacy of their own. The differences, if even known by the seller, are conveniently left unmentioned and consumers have little or no means to make the distinction.

OPCs are very complex (much more than other phytonutrients) so there is as much confusion as there are commercial opportunists. The result is pandemic misinformation.

bottle of OPC Polyphenols with Supplement Facts says grape seed extract: production method? standards used? solvents?

Most so-called "OPC" products contain nothing more than grape seeds or other plant parts which have been pulverized in a food processor. So it's no wonder that experts warn that "grape seed extracts" are "likely to make you sick" in high doses because grape seed extracts typically contain large doses of large proanthocyanidins and bioflavonoids which can be unhealthy for consumption. (192-194,246)

Sellers advertise "grape seed extracts" as antioxidants and Free Radical Scavengers (referring to Jack Masquelier's U.S. Patent No. 4,698,360) in spite of the fact that their products have almost nothing in common with the scientific methods used for that patent.

Sellers advertise their *grape seed extracts* as antioxidants and Free Radical Scavengers (referring to Jack Masquelier's U.S. Patent No. 4,698,360) in spite of the fact that their products have almost nothing in common with the scientific methods used for that patent. Anything Else is Just Pretending. Compare Supplement Facts, other brands contain vague and untraceable extracts. Flavay Supplement Facts shows Standardized oligomeric proanthocyanidins complex, concentrated single and 2 to 5 units of flavay-3-ols and organic acids from Vitis vinifera grape seed and Pinus maritima French Maritime pine bark. Buy Now

"Certain bioflavonoids are mutagenic at high doses." —Jack Masquelier, et. al, “Flavonoides et pycnogenols,” Int. J. Vit. Nutr. Res., 1979. (89)

Flavonoids sold in high doses, including "grape seed extracts" are "likely to make you sick." —U.C. Berkeley Professor Martyn T. Smith, et al., Free Radical Bio. & Med., 2000. (194)

A commercially-produced "grape seed extract," was found to have prooxidant activity, causing researchers to express caution about its safety and question its benefits. —Antioxidant/prooxidant activity of a polyphenolic grape seed extract. Food Chem. 2010. (187)

(Above:) Dr. Jack Masquelier (Bordeaux, France), inventor of the patents for the isolation, identification and application of oligomeric proanthocyanidins (known also as pycnogenols).

Only One is Proven Safe

Whereas grape seed extracts contain bioflavonoids (the subgroup of flavonoids and an enormous and extremely complex and varied category), these are known to be mutagenic in large amounts therefore untested extracts may be dangerous to your health.

Flavay - International and U.S. Patents and Clinically Proven

However, the highly defined Flavay® has been tested as a medicine for safety. Manufactured in France under the strict standards set forth by the French Ministry of Health, Flavay® has undergone intensive biological, toxicological, pharmacological and analytical research for the purpose of registration as a medicine in France. Rigorous testing to meet the standards required by the health ministries of France, Germany and other European countries demonstrate that Flavay® is 100% bioavailable, nontoxic, nonallergenic, noncarciogenic, nonmutagenic and is completely safe.

In the 1990s, when the American natural foods industry learned about OPCs and of Dr. Masquelier's work in France, they engulfed it under a tidal wave called "grape seed extract" and manufacturers popped up everywhere. But there is no relevant pharmaceutical, nutritional, biochemical or analytical definition of "grape seed extract" nor is there one standardized manufacturing method. There are no commonly accepted, clear analytical "fingerprints" for qualifying grape seed extract. In fact the term is so broad and so vague that "grape seed extract" can and does mean just about anything.

Unfortunately the demand for grape seed extracts was created by using vague and general references to the work of Dr. Masquelier and his colleagues. The tragedy is that the vast majority of purchasers of grape seed extracts, "OPCs," and branded pine bark extract believe they are buying the same product that was invented and researched by Dr. Masquelier and registered in France by the French Ministry of Health. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What are Oligomeric ProanthoCyanidins (OPCs)?

Oligo (small) Pro (before) antho (plant) Cyanidins (with red pigment).

Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCS) refers to specific plant chemicals which are small and before color (and for that reason, colorless).

Unlike other nutrients which are are comparatively simple, OPCs are very complex and require specialized knowledge and technology in order to be accurately identified and quantified.

OPCs are Small (2-5) Molecules of Proanthocyanidins

Not all proanthocyanidins are healthy for consumption. Only the small proanthocyanidins are healthful, and these are known as oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPCs.

"Oligo" means few or small.

Only the small (2-5) clusters of proanthocyanidins are small enough to fit between collagen fibrils and gently protect delicate tissues. (Clusters of 6+ are too large and their affinity for proteins is too strong to be healthful.)

The Complex Synergy of Catechins and Epicatechins (Singles)

Where the single catechins and single epicatechins are highly beneficial in OPCs, the same molecules are nonnutritive when isolated.

Organic Acids

Flavay - International and U.S. Patents and Clinically Proven

OPCs are highly perishable when isolated from other substances called organic acids. Therefore, Flavay® retains small amounts of these organic acids (including caffeic acid, cinnamic acid, fumaric acid, gallic acid, vanillic acid) as these preserve the OPCs and significantly contribute to the beneficial effects of Flavay®.

Large Proanthocyanidins (6+) Must Be Removed for Effectiveness and Safety

Whereas both small and large proanthocyanidins bind to collagen proteins, the large clusters of proanthocyanidins (6+) are so powerful that they crush where the small OPCs (2-5) gently stay in check with the delicacy of the tissues they protect. The large proanthocyanidin molecules cannot pass the intestinal tract into the blood because they are too large to fit between collagen fibrils and unable to repair decayed collagen. (3,4)

Large Proanthocyanidins (6+) are Unsafe and Anti-nutritive

Most importantly, large-clusters of proanthocyanidins are antinutritive and can be unhealthy for consumption. Large proanthocyanidins cause proteins, carbohydrates and nutrients to become indigestible and can result in toxic effects. (192-194,246)

Large proanthocyanidins are known as "tannins" and were traditionally used for tanning leather before natural tanning materials were replaced by chemicals. Today, the large proanthocyanidins are used in production of eco-friendly plastics, resins and adhesives. (195,196)

Selling Grape Seed Extracts as OPCs is an Unfair Practice

The vast majority of producers of grape seed extracts (and pine bark extracts) leave the majority of the large proanthocyanidins molecules in their products in order to bulk up the weight and then allow the consumer to wrongly believe they are consuming OPCs.

Large proanthocyanidins, also known as tannins, are antinutritive, unsafe in large doses, used in manufacturing exo-friendly plastics, adhesives and resins, and tanning leather. Small, oligo, proanthocyanidins strengthens collagen, improves circulation, reduces inflammation, terminates free radicals, protects cells from oxidation. Singles, flavan-3-ol complexes, very nutritive but only when retained along with its organic small-molecule partners.

Greater than the sum of its parts.

The science of manufacturing Flavay® is complex. Where the single flavan-3-ol molecular groups are highly beneficial, the same molecules are nonnutritive when isolated from their natural partners. So, organic groups of singles and small-clusters of specific molecules are selectively preserved while antinutritive large-clusters of molecules are removed. Organic acids are retained to preserve bioactivity in the otherwise highly-perishable molecular complexes.

The Original and Only True Standard
for Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins Since 1947

Flavay - International and U.S. Patents and Clinically Proven

Patented Manufacturing Processes

Authenticity ∙ Purity ∙ Effectiveness

More than 70 years of solid scientific research, patents and clinical studies, rigorous manufacturing controls and comprehensive identity-testing safeguard quality and consistency of Flavay®.

Flavay® is the name you can trust for the original, patented and perfected, pure and unadulterated, small-cluster oligomeric proanthocyanidins complex manufactured in France where it has been tested as a medicine for safety and validated by the French Ministry of Health and approved for over-the-counter use.

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