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OPC-3 was recommended to me over this past spring for relief of an allergy (complete with respiratory distress, severe congestion and constant coughing)I'd developed out of the clear blue. I took three capfuls each morning on an empty stomach for ten days and the allergy was gone within one week. I didn't order another bottle once I'd finished, figuring the allergy was over. All the symptoms were back within two weeks. Once I got back into the regimen of taking it, the allergy disappeared again. This is some of the information I've been able to dig up on OPC-3. All I can say is read it and let me know whether this makes more sense than taking antibiotics and medications which have adverse side effects. This super antioxidant is even safe for children (in the case of the very small ones, by all means check it out with your pediatrician first). What could be more healthy than to put back the very nutrients we are SUPPOSED to be getting into our systems, but are not? Is it any wonder, then, we as a people are becoming less and less hardy? I'd be willing to bet our ancestors didn't have to deal nearly as much with illnesses of this nature as we do today. : : Through many years of research, science has begun to understand and unlock the power and potential of the most powerful antioxidant combinations and related bioflavonoids available. For those individuals concerned or just curious about having a longer, healthier quality of life, this newest research and new products now available because of intensive study will perk your ears, if not your interest. Anyone out there with concerns on how to boost your immune system, decrease your body's allergy response, and/or boost energy levels, should take note on some new discoveries in the fields of botany and biology. Bioflavonoids are complex organic plant compounds found mostly in fruits, vegetables, and bark that provide some nutritional benefit to the human body. They are extracted from plant sources such as grapes, cranberries, citrus fruits, and the bark of pine trees. This new class of bioflavonoids is called Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins, or just OPCs for short. There are more than 20,000 different types of flavonoids of which OPCs are considered the most potent. A number of the 20,000 flavonoids are either poorly absorbed by the intestine or have biological properties which make them unsuitable as nutrients. Recent studies delving into the hidden secrets of bioflavonoids has revealed many effects on cells and molecules throughout the body. A review of Medline, a major on-line biomedical database, over the years 1983 - 1998 indicates that there have been more than 1,200 scientific papers written on the subject of "proanthocyanidins" and "flavonoids", so it is clear that this is an area of intense research to understand their beneficial activities in the body. Now a new super-antioxidant product that is called OPC-3 is available. Its power-source is derived from three rich sources: grape seed, red wine, and pine bark extract. OPC-3 is an isotonic-capable formulation that is water-soluble, highly bioavailable and safe to use. Bilberry (related to blueberries) and citrus rind extracts provide excellent sources of additional bioflavonoids. While it is understood that these plant extracts share common molecules as the building blocks for proanthocyanidins such as catechin, epicatechin, and taxifolin, each extract has its own unique spectrum of proanthocyanidins. Therefore, each plant extract is not composed of a single compound, but represents a large collection of similar, as well as unique, polyphenolic compounds. In other words, it is the combination of several sources of bioflavonoids that make OPC-3 so very effective. So what is so special about OPC-3's ingredients? Well, for one, Grape Seed Extract yields 10% more of the vital active constituents than pine bark. Secondly, most of the important clinical research documenting the health value of this special class of bioflavonoids (OPCs) has been done by researchers using grape seeds extract. This type of extract is abundant and can be obtained in large quantities from the various wine-producing areas of America and Europe. Pine Bark Extract is used mainly because the original inspiration of OPC dietary supplementation was from the bark of the French maritime pine tree. By far, the most potent concentration of OPCs yet extracted have been from pine bark and grape seeds. Red Wine Extract has been included in OPC-3 because it has properties similar to grape seed and pine bark extracts. In addition, red wine extract contains high levels of polyphenols from grape skins that are beneficial in bolstering the body's antioxidant defenses. Scientists have learned that antioxidant nutrients known as "polyphenols" are the key factors in red wine extract that have been shown to reduce cardiovascular maladies among the French - even with their cholesterol-rich diet of meats, cheeses, and creamy sauces. Nowhere are these polyphenols as concentrated as they are in the red wine that so many French people drink with their meals. So just how do these antioxidants do their job? Well for one, taking several antioxidants can form a network or circuit to repair oxygen radical damage in human cells. Water-soluble compounds such as vitamin C and the proanthocyanidins reside in the cytoplasm or predominantly water-containing portion of a cell, whereas vitamin E is dissolved in the fatty membranes or lipid bilayer. When a fat molecule or lipid (clothespin-like structures) are damaged by an oxygen radical such as the hydroxyl radical, a vitamin E molecule can donate an electron (or hydrogen) to quench the lipid radical and prevents rapid spreading of the membrane damage. The oxidized vitamin E can then have its full antioxidant activity restored by having vitamin C donate an electron (or hydrogen) to it. If oxidized vitamin E is not restored promptly, it will migrate out of the membrane and be excreted. When vitamin C has given up its electron, it can be restored to complete antioxidant activity by one of many proanthocyanidin molecules located in the cytoplasm. Therefore, electrons are passed sequentially from one antioxidant to the next, as if in a circuit or network, in order to protect the cell membrane. Co-enzyme Q10 in mitochondrial membranes also helps vitamin E remain in an unoxidized state. Since hydroxyl radicals can arise in the cytoplasm or within organelles such as the mitochondria, vitamin C and the proanthocyanidins are available in those locations to scavenge and neutralize these radicals. This antioxidant activity protects many critical macromolecules such as DNA, RNA, and proteins. OPCs remain in the human body about three days. OPCs circulate extensively through the body fluids (blood, lymph) and diffuse into cells throughout the body. The proanthocyanidins seem to have a particularly high affinity for collagen, a major structural protein comprising about 1% of the total body weight. The proanthocyanidins and other flavonoids are metabolized extensively by enzymes in the liver and excreted, so it becomes necessary to take OPCs every day to keep elevated concentrations in cells and body fluids. Free radical damage is real. Everyone is subject to it. Free radicals appear to be linked to premature aging, arthritis, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, liver cirrhosis, cancer progression, and inflammation. OPCs are among the most powerful, natural free-radical neutralizers discovered, and you get the best of all OPCs in one source: OPC-3.