The Consumer's Guide to Proanthocyanidins and OPCs and pine bark extract and grape seed extract

"OPCs" and "Proanthocyanidins" are Unreliable Labels in the Marketplace

Consumers need to know that there is no American industry standard for accurately identifying and quantifying products sold as OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidins) in the marketplace. The result is that most "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, the method of production, in which country the extract was made and according to what local standards it was produced.

Some "OPC" products contain nothing more than grape seeds or other plant parts which have been pulverized in a food processor --because producing extracts is infinitely less costly than isolating OPCs. Many manufacturers use chemical solvents which are quite different from water and ethanol extracts. The manufacturers that do isolate proanthocyanidins then fail to remove the many large "polymeric" 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 may be dangerous when taken in large amounts.

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.



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 a product's ingredients.


Sellers advertise their "grape seed extracts" as antioxidants and Free Radical Scavengers (referring to Jack Masquelier's patents and research) in spite of the fact that their products have almost nothing in common with his scientific methods used.

Compare Flavay's Supplement Facts: the other brands contain vague and untraceable extracts. Anything Else is Just Pretending.


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

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)


Dr. Jack Masquelier
PHOTO: Dr. Jack Masquelier (Bordeaux, France), inventor of FLAVAY® and many U.S. and int'l patents in regard to the isolation, identification and application of OPCs.

Proven Safe

Bioflavonoids (the subgroup of flavonoids and an enormous and extremely complex and varied category) are known to be mutagenic in large amounts therefore untested "extracts" may be dangerous to your health.

However, the highly defined FLAVAY® has been thoroughly tested for safety. Manufactured in France under the strict standards set forth by the French Ministry of Health, it has undergone intensive biological, toxicological, pharmacological and analytical research for the purpose of registration as a medicine in France. The 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, will not cause birth defects and is completely safe.

When the natural foods industry got wind of OPCs and of Dr. Masquelier's work, they engulfed it under a tidal wave called "grape seed extract" and manufacturers popped up like corn in a hot pan. 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 nonspecific "grape seed extracts" was created by using vague and general references to Dr. Masquelier and his impressive work and that of 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.

The Complex Organic Structure of OPCs

Unlike single nutrients such as vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol), OPCs are very complex and require specialized knowledge and technology in order to be accurately identified and quantified.

OPCs are organic clusters of dimers (2), trimers (3), tetramers (4) and pentamers (5)—and no larger.

Single catechins and single epicatechins act differently from those that are bonded as OPCs.

Dr. Masquelier received several patents for the commercial extraction and isolation of OPCs from pine bark and grape seeds. It is these highly defined complexes that have been subject to intensive biological, toxicological, pharmacological and analytical research; and approved in Europe as over-the-counter medicines.


Genesis: Carbocation: the single flavanol before it irreversibly becomes a single catechin, a single epicatechin, or part of a proanthocyanidin cluster. Dimer: two irreversibly bonded catechins and/or epicatechins.
Trimer: three irreversibly bonded catechins and/or epicatechins.
Catechin: the single flavanol after it irreversibly became a single catechin, not bonded as OPCs.
Epicatechin: the single flavanol after it irreversibly became a single epicatechin, not bonded as OPCs.
An ocean away, and driven by the fuel of profit, the "grape seed extract" industry was born in the 1990s. Consumers and many bona fide natural foods retailers embraced the term as supposedly meaningful to describe unidentified and untraceable materials that have almost nothing in common with Dr. Masquelier's scientific methods.


Isolating Oligomeric from Polymeric Proanthocyanidins



Oligo means few. Poly refers to many or much.

Proanthocyanidin clusters must have a certain molecular size to be effective.

Because of their molecular size, Polymeric Proanthocyanidins (PPCs, or tannins) cannot pass the intestinal tract into the blood and so are nonnutritive. Too large to fit between collagen fibrils, tannins are unable to repair decayed collagen.

Tannins show an affinity for proteins like OPCs but because of their larger size it takes on an unhealthy magnitude. Tannins are so powerful that they "crush" where OPCs gently stay in check with the delicacy of the tissues they protect. Tannins are more useful for tanning leather, which was common before organic tanning materials were replaced by chemicals.

OPCs: oligomeric proanthocyanidins are clusters of dimers, 2, trimers, 3, tetramers, 4, and/or pentamers, 5. PPCs: polymeric proanthocyanidins are clusters of hexamers, 6, or more, also known as tannins.
Selling PPCs (tannins) as OPCs is an unfair practice.

Certain producers of grape seed extracts leave the large proanthocyanidin molecules (PPCs, or tannins) in their products in order to bulk up the weight and then allow the consumer to wrongly believe they are consuming OPCs.
Flavay is the Name You Can Trust
Dr. Masquelier’s unequaled manufacturing process has been conducted for half a century at the very same facilities in France (shown above) and under the control of French Pharmaceutical inspection. These time-proven standards serve as a reliable assurance of the quality, consistency, 100% bioavailability and safety of FLAVAY®.

Flavay
Click here to Buy Flavay

Proven Therapeutic

60 Years of Science FLAVAY® is the name you can trust for the authentic pure OPCs complex defined and perfected by Dr. Jack Masquelier, inventor of many patents in regard to the isolation, identification and application of OPCs.

FLAVAY® is neither an "extract" nor a simple bioflavonoid (this is important because many are non-bioavailable). FLAVAY® is a highly defined, polyphenol complex comprised of pairs and triples of specific molecules called “flavan-3-ol” units.

Intensive biological, toxicological, pharmacological and analytical research was conducted for the purpose of registration in France and other countries in Europe. The 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, will not cause birth defects and is completely safe.

For quality, consistency,
100% bioavailablity and safety, consumers may rely upon FLAVAY®.



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