OPCS are one of the most powerful antioxidants known nutritionally, but are often confused with other polyphenols, flavonoids, proanthocyanidins and grape seed extracts. So let’s break this very confusing category down, to understand what OPCs are and why they are so special.
Short for oligomeric proanthocyanidins, OPCs are a group of naturally occurring compounds with important health benefits.
Professor Jack Masquelier first discovered OPCs in peanuts while undertaking his PhD in 1947. He went on to identify OPCs in parts of many other plants, finding especially strong concentrations in the inner lining of French pine bark and in the membranes of grape seeds. OPCs are not one thing, they come in many different shapes and sizes. Throughout his career, Professor Masquelier researched what combinations of OPCs demonstrated the most profound benefits and studied their remarkable effects of on human health.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN OPCs
As this figure shows, each OPC is made up of a single unit which is either a catechin or epicatechin, which are mirror images of each other. OPCs are formed when two or more of these units bond to form a structure or chain. Two units are called a ‘dimer’. Three 'trimers', four ‘tetramer’, and five, a ‘pentamer’.
Because there are two different types of starter units there are many different possible combinations that can make up OPCs.
Furthermore, OPCs are 3 dimensional and make different shapes. This happens because each link or bond between starter units (catechin or epicatechin) is located at different points on the starter unit.
This is why many different types of OPCs can be found in nature.
OPCs VERSUS GRAPE SEED EXTRACTS
While OPCs can be found in both grape seed and French pine bark extract, there are many other polyphenols also found in these substances. What grape seed and French pine bark extracts contain can vary greatly according to the varietals, geographical location and the extraction processes used in their creation. OPCs extracts often come from grape seeds or French pine bark, but the focus is on isolating the OPCs from those other polyphenols. The range of OPCs naturally present in the raw ingredient used varies and only very exacting extraction processes can identify them and extract them in precise ratios consistently. Professor Masquelier developed the first methods of extracting OPCs and was the first to do so on a commercial scale.
PROFESSOR MASQUELIER’S LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE FIELD OF OPCs
Professor Masquelier spent more than a decade at the end of his life ensuring the continued availability of his life’s work. His OPCs extracts continue to be authenticated by the original company he created to ensure batch to batch consistency and quality of his original OPCs ingredients. Identified by the MASQUELIER’s® mark they are carefully extracted using the same proven techniques developed by Professor Masquelier and contain the precise combination of OPCs that he refined and developed throughout his lifetime.