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For decades researchers were baffled at the low rate of Coronary Artery Disease among the French population despite their very high consumption of saturated fats. The question of the infamous “French Paradox” can now at last be answered: the French habit of drinking red wine with each meal.
Scientists have now identified two components of red wine that are believed to exert beneficial effects on human health. The first is Oliomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPCs) which are the main component of Grape Seed Extract dietary supplements. Clinical studies conducted have shown OPCs to exert beneficial actions on a wide range of health factors. It speeds wound healing, slows tooth decay, protects against osteoporosis and lowers the risk of skin cancer by protecting the skin against the effects of UV damage on human DNA. The potential medical application of Grape Seed Extract most often studied is its ability to lower the risk of heart attack by inhibiting platlet aggregation, Coronary Artery Disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Resveratrol is not as well understood as OPCs but is another compound found in red wine and in Grape Seed Extract supplements. Clinical studies conducted by Harvard University indicate an increase in lifespan as well as anti-cancer effects of Resveratrol. OPCs and Resveratrol, taken together, work synergistically to produce a powerful cancer inhibiting compound. The effect of increased longevity is theorized to work by mimicking the chemical reactions usually observed in the body during calorie restricted diets, a known longevity enhancing lifestyle.
Daily supplementation of Grapeseed Extract or a daily glass of red wine may also help you stay youthful. OPCs and Resveratrol inhibit compounds which break down collagen in the body leading to increased collagen synthesis and retention. The amount of collagen in a person’s skin is the determining factor in skin wrinkling, sagging and other visible signs of aging.
OPC is a powerful antioxidant. According to Wikipedia, it can scavage up to twenty times more free radicals than vitamin C and up to fifty times more free radicals than Vitamin E. Proanthocyanidins are also one of the few antioxidants that are able to pass through the blood-brain barrier and protect our brains and the blood vessels in our brains from oxidative damage. This effect can cause an increase in mental acuity and focus and a decreased risk of stroke.
Given the wide range of potential benefits and the number of scientific studies supporting Proanthocyanidins claimed benefits; Grape Seed Extract may become the latest important tool in combating the damaging, free radical producing effects of pollution and smoking as well as the ill health effects of high fat, high cholesterol lifestyles and the heart disease and cancer that often results.