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OPCs – Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins 101

OPCs – Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins 101

In the past couple of weeks we have been fortunate enough to have a guest series posted by Megan Kizer. Megan is a close friend of mine who is currently studying Biochemistry at Binghamton University.  In our last two Newsletter posts, Megan has done an excellent job in helping us develop a base understanding of the relationship which exists between free radicals and antioxidants (click these links to read more).  In this weeks post, Megan has decided to get a little more focused and introduce to us a specific antioxidant compound known to us as OPCs, or Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins.  We hope you enjoy…


What are they?

Proanthocyanidins are chemical compounds that have the basic building block structure shown in the image above. The ring structure with alcohol (OH) groups attached is the polyphenol moiety. These OH groups and ring structures of polyphenols can combine with other polyphenols or organic compounds to form proanthocyanidins. The proanthocyanidins can then oligomerize, which means combining with itself either once or twice. Oligomerization can make a dimer (two proanthocyanidins) or a trimer (three proanthocyanidins). The oligomeric proanthocyanidins make up a general class of antioxidants, abbreviated as OPCs.


What do they do chemically?

Two lines, as seen in the chemical compound represent a double bond. A double bond is simply an excess of electrons. When double bonds are placed one bond away from each other, as we can see in the ring structure, the molecule forms a rich “cloud of electrons”. This particular structure is what makes OPCs such powerful antioxidants. The abundance of electrons in the rings and the oxygen atoms attached to the rings allow OPCs to donate electrons to radical species while remaining neutral compounds themselves. Each ring has the ability to donate electrons to free radicals, so the multitude of rings founds in OPCs are what contribute to the antioxidant potency of these compounds.


Where are they found?

OPCs are naturally produced compounds found in plants. The highest OPC content can be found in plant skin, seed and seed coating, in particular grape seeds and barks. This is why some plant extracts are used as antioxidant supplements, they contain the most OPCs. Optihealth Product’s, OPCXtra contains four prominent sources of OPCs: grape seed extract, red wine extract, pine bark extract, and green tea extract. The combination of these extracts and other antioxidants found in OPCXtra will cover all the bases, working together to rid the body of dangerous free radicals.  


To learn more about OPCXtra and the Super Antioxidants which this isontonic formula contains, please follow the link below.  I hope you have enjoyed this piece and have learned something new about OPCs.

Best of Health,



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