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What do they do?
Proanthocyanidins—also called "OPCs" for oligomeric procyanidins or "PCOs" for procyanidolic oligomers—are a class of nutrients belonging to the flavonoid family.

Proanthocyanidins have antioxidant activity and they play a role in the stabilization of collagen and maintenance of elastin—two critical proteins in connective tissue that support organs, joints, blood vessels, and muscle.1 2 Possibly because of their effects on blood vessels, proanthocyanidins have been reported in double-blind research to reduce the duration of edema after face-lift surgery from 15.8 to 11.4 days.3 In preliminary research, proanthocyanidins were reported to have anti-mutagenic activity (i.e., to prevent chromosomal mutations).4

Proanthocyanidins have been shown to strengthen capillaries in double-blind research using as little as 100 mg per day.5 In another double-blind trial, French researchers reported that women with chronic venous insufficiency had reduced symptoms using 150 mg per day.6 In another French double-blind trial, supplementation with 100 mg taken three times per day, resulted in benefits within four weeks.7

Proanthocyanidins (200 mg per day for five weeks) have improved aspects of vision (visual performance in the dark and after exposure to glare) in healthy people.8 9 A product that is high in proanthocyanidins has been shown to prevent and reverse abnormal blood clotting in smokers.10

Where are they found?
Proanthocyanidins can be found in many plants, most notably pine bark, grape seed, and grape skin. However, bilberry, cranberry, black currant, green tea, black tea, and other plants also contain these flavonoids. Nutritional supplements containing proanthocyanidins extracts from various plant sources are available, alone or in combination with other nutrients, in herbal extracts, capsules, and tablets.

Proanthocyanidins have been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information)

Health Concerns

Chronic venous insufficiency


Capillary fragility


Pancreatic insufficiency
Varicose Veins

Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support and/or minimal health benefit.





Who is likely to be deficient of grape seed?
Flavonoids and proanthocyanidins are not classified as essential nutrients because their absence does not induce a deficiency state. However, proanthocyanidins may have many health benefits, and anyone not eating the various plants that contain them would not derive these benefits.

How much grape seed is usually taken?
Flavonoids (proanthocyanidins and others) are a significant source of antioxidants in the average diet. Proanthocyanidins at 50–100 mg per day is considered a reasonable supplemental level by some doctors, but optimal levels remain unknown.

Are there any side effects or interactions with grape seed?
Flavonoids, in general, and proanthocyanidins, specifically, have not been associated with any consistent side effects. As they are water-soluble nutrients, excess intake is simply excreted in the urine.

At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with Proanthocyanidins.