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What Is OPC 3?

by
author image Janet Renee, MS, RD
Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.
What Is OPC 3?
Fresh fruit on a table with vitamin supplements. Photo Credit lola1960/iStock/Getty Images

Isotonix OPC-3 is a dietary supplement marketed by Market America and made using a combination of bilberry, grape seed, red wine and pine bark extracts, along with citrus extract flavonoids. These extracts contain antioxidant compounds called oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPCs. The OPCs in OPC-3 are delivered in an isotonic solution, which improves absorption, according to Market America.

Dietary Antioxidants

Antioxidants are found in a variety of foods, particularly fruits and vegetables. Vitamins C, E, carotenoids and several minerals are examples of antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent damage from unstable atoms called free radicals, which are linked to disease development and aging. While a daily recommendation specifically for antioxidants has not been established, a diet high in fruits and vegetables is rich in antioxidants.

Strong Antioxidant Capabilities

Researchers tested the antioxidant capacity of OPC-3 on 61 participants with metabolic syndrome. This refers to a group of risk factors occurring together that increase the risk for chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. In the study, participants supplemented OPC-3 or a placebo for two months. OPC-3 supplementation significantly decreased oxidative stress by 10 percent, and all major cardiovascular risk factors improved. Oxidative stress occurs when your body has trouble keeping up with the demand to neutralize free radicals. The results of the study were published in 2008 in the journal "Angiology."

Better Absorption

You can find various OPC supplements on the market besides Isotonix OPC-3. However, the isotonic delivery may provide an advantage, according to a study published in the June 2009 issue of the journal "Phytotherapy Research.'' Researchers compared the absorption of isotonic OPC-3, versus tablet form in the equivalent amount of fluid. They found the isotonic OPC-3 solution was six times more potent at neutralizing free radicals in the participant's plasma within 10 minutes of consumption and was four times more bioavailable after 40 minutes than the tablet form.

The Bottom Line

While OPCs are known primarily for their antioxidant capabilities, they also demonstrate antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and cancer-fighting potential, according to a review published in the "Alternative Medicine Review" journal in April 2000. Currently, no daily recommendation for antioxidants has been established, but you get plenty of antioxidants if you eat a nutritious diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

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