Wine and Health Research – The Power of Procyanidins – The Real French Paradox

Imagine that in future procyanidin pills are recommended just as aspirin is today. Such are the healthy properties of procyanidin, this is a possibility. Procyanidins have been identified as high performance, low toxicity and highly bio-available. Some red wines have been identified as containing extremely high concentrations of this powerful heart healthy compound.

A steady stream of animal and in vitro studies supplemented by epidemiological evidence and human studies reveal numerous health benefits. Chief among the benefits is antioxidant protection against heart disease and some cancers.

Consider these Imperatives

  • Procyanidins have been identified as high performance, low toxicity and highly bio-available.
  • Procyanidins, available in some red wines, 70% cocoa solids dark chocolate and other foods, is a healthy compound in the highest doses and part of a natural diet – NOT an unnaturally high-dose supplement (as with other compounds) that is not proven to be safe over the long term and possibly not even absorbed fully as has been observed with some supplements.
  • Research identifies that after two weeks of a daily glass of procyanidin rich red wine positive support for cardiovascular health was observed, including reduced blood pressure. This is good news for protection against heart disease and strokes.
  • The health statistics are significant and important — Almost half of us die of HEART DISEASE — World Health Organization, and 50% of STROKES are caused by high blood pressure.
  • Nowhere in the world where populations are given drug treatments to manage cardiovascular health, have they achieved the low levels of heart disease related deaths, as occurs in Gers (France) where they drink these wines” Professor Giovanni de Gaetano, M.D., Ph.D,
  • In south west France where they have make and consume wines high in procyanidins, census data shows there is twice the number of 90 year old males as the national average.
  • In this region the wines are up to 10 times more procyanidin rich than the modern style, sweet, soft, quaffing red wines so commonly made today.
  • In New Zealand, consumers who begin a strategy of a daily glass of the wines of south west France are experiencing blood pressure improvements consistent with the research. This occurs without change to lifestyle, diet, exercise or medication.
  • Procyanidins provide the same benefits, naturally, as would possibly be achieved with the “polypill”. The polypill is a mixture of already in use drugs that is intended to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Governments and drug companies internationally are trying to develop such a drug, to be taken daily, that is aimed to protect older populations from heart disease. In procyanidins it already exists in the natural form.
  • Perhaps there is significance for our health that with today’s prevalence of processed and refined foods, our consumption of procyanidins is much lower than the amount we likely evolved with!

This report is an illumination of the considerable international research that has been conducted into the health benefits of procyanidins.

What is Procyanidin

Procyanidins are a mixture of antioxidant molecules, variously called –

  • procyanidins
  • proanthocyanidins,
  • oligomeric procyanthocyanidins (OPC)
  • proanthocyanidolic oligomers (PCO)
  • leukocyanidins

Procyanidin, a polyphenol compound with strong bioactivity and pharmacologic activity, resides widely in grape seeds, hawthorn, pine bark and other foods and plants. A number of potential mechanisms of procyanidin have emerged. These include, serving as an important in vivo antioxidant, decreasing blood pressure, reducing risk of cancer, inhibiting bacteria, and so on. In recent years, the beneficial health and longevity effects of procyanidin on the human body has been extensively researched internationally.

Research has reported that procyanidin has multiple anticancer effects, notably for being toxic to cancer cells, on cancers such as cutaneous carcinoma, oral carcinoma, breast carcinoma, bronchogenic carcinoma, liver carcinoma, prostate carcinoma, pancreatic carcinoma, gastric carcinoma, and more, along with growth promoting effects on normal cells.

Commonly referred to as OPC in scientific circles, procyanidin is expert at treating vascular diseases because it actually increases the structural strength of weakened blood vessels, maintaining their permeability and elasticity. This occurs because OPCs help neutralize the underlying chemical cause (oxidation of living cells by free radicals) that promotes many diseases.

OPC is one of the most potent antioxidants known — 50 times more powerful than vitamin E and 20 times more so than vitamin C, according to some tests.

Grape seeds and pine bark are two of the richest known sources of OPCs. Procyanidins have also been identified as abundant in walnuts husks, cranberries, certain apple varieties, pomegranates, horse chestnuts, hazelnut leaves, hawthorn, rhubarb and barley (also beer made from barley). However tests have shown that significant variation in procyanidin content can exist within these foods.


In 2002 a safety evaluation of OPC rich grape seed extract was undertaken to determine the toxicology of proanthocyanidins, especially in oral administration when used in various foods. The grape seed extract (GSE) was examined for acute and sub chronic oral toxicity and for mutagenic potential. The tests were undertaken using mice and rats. No evidence of acute oral toxicity and no evidence of mutagenicity was found. The results of the studies indicate a lack of toxicity and support the use of proanthocyanidin-rich extract from grape seeds for various foods.

Cardiovascular Disease

Roger Corder, Professor of Experimental Therapeutics at the William Harvey Research Institute in London, identified that procyanidin in some red wine is responsible for the reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease and the lowering of overall mortality in regular, moderate consumers of red wine.

On 30 November 2006 a research article was published in Nature magazine on Procyanidins and the significant health-giving benefits of some red wines. Nature is one of the world’s preeminent science journals.

Epidemiological studies revealed that two populations in Europe have exceptional longevity. People in the Nuoro province of Sardinia and those in the department of Gers in south west France, especially men, have a significantly greater longevity than the national average. These populations do NOT consume the “Mediterranean Diet”. Corder tested wines and identified that in this region the wines are up to 10 times more procyanidin rich than the modern, sweet, soft, quaffing style red wines so commonly made today. This is the very top of the healthy red wine “pyramid”.

Corder and his team looked at these populations and their lifestyles and determined that there was something about the wines in these regions and so began a study of the components and compounds in the wines. They designed their study so they wouldn’t know which compound worked best until the end of the trial. The researchers cultured endothelial cells and then added small amounts of red wine. The team isolated and measured the biological activity of each polyphenol in red wine. In hundreds of experiments, using wines from all over the world, procyanidin proved to be the best at regulating production of endothelin-1 to achieve the most favourable levels. Procyanidins suppressed overproduction by 50 percent.

Other compounds, such as resveratrol (a non-flavanoid polyphenol) and quercetin, were found to have an irrelevant effect.

The researchers discovered that red wines from those two regions are particularly high in procyanidins. This is because a large proportion of the grapes used to produce the local wines in these regions are the flavanoid-rich Tannat. Furthermore the traditional wine-making techniques in the south west of France, where the grape skins and seeds remain in contact with the juice for an extended period during fermentation and maceration, significantly increased the concentration of procyanidins in the red wines.

The groundbreaking research by Professor Roger Corder and colleagues established that:

1. Procyanidins lower blood pressure by suppressing endothelin-1,

a peptide that has an undesirable vasoconstriction effects. They also increase nitric oxide in the blood causing vasodilation and increased blood flow

2. Procyanidins decrease platelet aggregation,

thus preventing clot formation and blockage of arteries

3. Procyanidins prevent oxidation of LDL-cholesterol.

High blood cholesterol levels are a major risk factor for heart disease because LDL-cholesterol can accumulate in the artery wall where after oxidation it causes inflammation and the formation of plaque. When LDL-cholesterol is protected from oxidation it is less likely to cause atherosclerosis

4. Very few wines have exceptionally high concentrations of procyanidins.

Corder tested many wines and identified only a few regions of the world that consistently have the highest concentrations of procyanidins

Powerful Antioxidants

OPCs have a deservedly high reputation as antioxidants that quench free radicals and potentiate other antioxidants. In one in vitro study OPCs prolonged the life span of vitamin C by 400 percent. Another in vitro study showed that exposing blood vessel linings to pine bark OPCs boosted their vitamin E content by 15 percent. Grape seed has also shown recycling and potentiating effects. The test tube-based activity of vitamin E, in a system mimicking cell membranes, has shown enhancement by grape seed OPCs.

A mouse study, at the Creighton University School of Pharmacy in Omaha, Neb., found that a patented grape seed extract protected tissue from oxidation better than the antioxidant vitamins C and E or beta-carotene.

Grape seed OPCs were observed to be a stronger antioxidant than vitamins C and E, even when the two vitamins were combined, in an in vitro experiment testing the response of human mouth cells to the free radical damage caused by smokeless tobacco.

Preventing Atherosclerosis

The role of oxidation in the development of hardened arteries (atherogenesis) is increasingly understood. Oxidized LDL (low-density lipoproteins) cholesterol provokes numerous adverse responses including inflammation, smooth muscle cell proliferation and clotting mechanisms to the cells that line blood vessel walls. All this leads to atherosclerosis.

A grape seed extract with 50 percent OPCs and 50 percent phenolic acids prevented such oxidation of pig LDL in vitro. OPCs may also prevent atherosclerosis in other ways. For example, two in vitro studies found that a patented pine bark extract modulated the release of nitric oxide, which affected the dilation diameter of blood vessels.

Similarly this is one of Corder’s primary finding — that high blood cholesterol levels are a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke because LDL-cholesterol can accumulate in the artery wall where after oxidation it causes inflammation and the formation of plaque. When LDL-cholesterol is protected from oxidation it is less likely to cause atherosclerosis.

Researchers compared the effects of patented pine bark extract OPCs with aspirin on smoking-induced platelet aggregation in three groups of smokers. They found that platelet aggregation was inhibited by both 500 mg aspirin and 100-125 mg pine bark extract. Because of the increased bleeding time caused by aspirin, the authors conclude that pine bark offers an “advantageous risk-benefit ratio.”

Increasingly, studies are raising questions of safety with long term use of aspirin by the “worried well” to prevent heart attach. Studies have found sustained use almost doubles the risk of admittance to hospital due to internal bleeding.

OPCs appear to inhibit several factors contributing to atherosclerosis, but do they actually prevent the condition? Yes, is the conclusion according to recent animal experiments. Researchers at a soy sauce manufacturing plant in Noda City, Japan, fed rabbits a diet that caused high blood cholesterol and severe atherosclerosis in the control animals. Their blood levels of peroxides (a measure of oxidation) increased by 10 times. Another group of rabbits ate the same diet but supplemented with grape seed OPC extract amounting to either 0.1 or 1 percent of their diet. The supplemented rabbits also developed high cholesterol levels; however, they had no detectable peroxides in their blood. Even more impressive, their blood vessels had no atherosclerosis whatsoever. These findings have been confirmed by other research on grape seed and pine bark OPCs. This emphasizes that the issue is the degree of oxidation of the cholesterol and not high cholesterol itself per se.

Although promising data on OPCs and atherosclerosis prevention primarily come from test tube and animal studies, epidemiological research may lend credence to the value of OPCs in human health. In fact, OPCs may help explain the “French Paradox,” or why low coronary heart disease rates exist in French provinces known for high-fat foods and red wine consumption. These populations do NOT have a ‘Mediterranean diet’.

The French Paradox was first proposed by Dr Serge Renaud in 1991. Dr Renaud’s attendance at the Wine & Health Symposium (headlined by Professor Corder) in Pau, France, in 2007 was confirmation he supports Corder’s research that identified procyanidins as the explanation of The French Paradox. Corder concludes from his research and epidemiological studies that OPCs are the cause of the exceptional longevity in some populations in south-west France and Sardinia. Corder proposes this is the REAL French Paradox.

Red wine could be considered an alcohol tincture of several potent flavonoids, including OPCs from grape seeds. At the University of Padova, Italy, they fed volunteers a high-fat meal with and without red wine. Post-meal plasma peroxide levels were much lower in those who drank wine.

OPCs also appear to prevent damage caused by atherosclerosis by preventing ischemic reperfusion injury. With atherosclerosis, a clot can restrict blood flow to the heart. If this clot is broken up, blood comes pouring back into the tissue. That process, paradoxically, results in an incredible amount of free radical damage. At the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in Farmington, they subjected animal hearts to blood-flow constriction and release. Compared with control animals, the animals supplemented with a patented grape seed extract had 38 percent less heart damage and 50 percent less creatine kinase release, a marker of tissue damage.

Breast Cancer

Studies have shown that the production of estrogens in breast cancer tissue plays a major role in tumor progression. In vitro studies have shown that procyanidin B dimers were able to reduce androgen-dependent tumor growth, indicating that these chemicals reduce the production of estrogens from the androgen substrates.

In a study researchers demonstrated that procyanidin B dimers in red wine could be used as chemopreventive agents against breast cancer by inhibiting the conversion of androgens to estrogens in breast tissues. The researchers estimated that a single four-ounce glass of red wine daily could provide enough procyanidin B dimer to inhibit aromatase activity in an average post-menopausal woman.

Prostate Cancer Protection

A study concluded that procyanidin can induce apoptosis (self-destruction of cancer cells) and necrosis (death of cells as a result of an outside agent) of prostate cancer PC-3 cells in a mitochondrion-dependent manner. The significant changes observed occurred to varying degrees according to dose and time dependent manners within a few hours of treatment beginning.

Prostate carcinoma (PCa) is one of the most prevalent cancers in men. The rate of PCa-related death increases every year. Until now, there has been no effective therapy that has an obvious effect on extending the life span of PCa sufferers. Other traditional therapies, such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery, cannot prevent PCa from developing into metastatic clones and becoming androgen-refractory. Therefore, developing new therapeutic strategies targeting apoptosis induction would be of real value in controlling the proliferation as well as the invasiveness of advanced PCa.

The study aimed to determine whether procyanidin-induced apoptosis and necrosis of PC-3 cells is related to Mitochondrial membrane potential. The mitochondrion is a structure in the cytoplasm (outside the nucleus) of all cells except bacteria in which food molecules (sugars, fatty acids, and amino acids) are broken down in the presence of oxygen and converted into energy. So as the cell “powerhouse” it is vital to human health. It is also an important structure within the cells that regulates cell death. The study showed that Mitochondrial membrane potential was significantly reduced in PC-3 cells by treatment with procyanidin. Thus toxicity of procyanidin to these cancer cells was demonstrated.

Other Cancer Protection

Other in vitro studies also suggest OPCs provide cancer protection. OPCs in Vaccinium-family berries, including blueberry, lingonberry and cranberry, block tumor growth by preventing protein synthesis in tumor cells, thereby preventing them from multiplying. Also in the laboratory, barley bran OPCs transformed human myeloid leukemia cells into cells that were no longer cancerous. Another in vitro study found that a patented grape seed extract killed cancer cells; inhibited growth of human breast, lung, stomach and myelogenous leukemia cells by up to 73 percent; and enhanced normal cell growth.

Betel nut, a stimulant chewed by millions of Asians, also contains OPCs. In a small study into the inhibitory effect of betel nut extracts on endogenous nitrosation in humans, the researchers noted that OPCs may play a major role in natural cancer prevention.

Other Health Benefits

Protection again viruses may also occur with OPCs. In vitro studies with OPCs from hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha) killed the herpes (HSV-1) and HIV viruses.

Venous insufficiency is a common condition in which the veins and muscles, primarily in the legs, are not able to properly return blood to the heart. Walking becomes painful and difficult. Italian research has shown that grape seed extract can help. Twenty-four patients with chronic venous insufficiency were treated with 100 mg grape seed extract daily. The improvements were visible in 10 days: 70 percent of the patients had less edema and 50 percent had less pain. Bilberry and other bioflavonoids have been used for vein problems for many years in Europe. They may have a similar mechanism of action, or their active constituents may include OPCs.

The body is also protected from toxins by OPCs. Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, is a potent liver toxin, annually causing 75,000 cases of poisoning requiring hospitalization in the United States. Animal experiments showed that a week of pretreatment with 100 mg/kg of a patented grape seed extract prevented liver damage from acetaminophen. Organ damage was assessed by studying liver cells for damage and also by monitoring the animal’s health.

Procyanidins and Beauty

More than just disease prevention, OPCs may make us more youthful looking. Oxidation damage causes most visible signs of aging in our skin. By preventing this damage, skin will stay younger looking. One way to achieve this is to reduce the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) light. Sunscreen products have incorporated a variety of antioxidants with the intent that they will prevent sun injury to the skin. In one study, grape seed OPCs exerted a solo antioxidant effect at a level of potency on a par with vitamin E-protecting different polyunsaturated fatty acids from UV light-induced lipid peroxidation. In this same study, the grape OPCs synergistically interacted with vitamin E, recycling the inactivated form of the vitamin into the active form and thus acting as a virtual vitamin E extender.

Part of the aging process is the degradation of skin by the enzyme elastase, which is released with the inflammatory response. OPCs specifically block elastase, thus maintaining the integrity of elastin.

OPCs may even help us grow a thick head of hair, if the results of animal experiments apply to humans. Japanese researchers shaved mice and found that 40 percent of their hair grew back naturally. When a 1 percent solution of any of three proanthocyanidins was applied to the skin, however, between 70 and 80 percent of the hair grew back. Test tube studies confirm that OPCs actually stimulate the hair keratinocytes to produce three times more hair than the controls.

The health benefits of OPCs have prompted some researchers to suggest there should be an official recommended optimal intake. Doses used in many animal experiments are 100 mg/kg of body weight, which is equivalent to between 50 and 200 mg for the average adult, according to Bagchi. With the prevalence of refined foods today, our intake is much lower than the amount we likely evolved with, but there has been little attempt to quantify current OPC intake. However according to Corder, one glass per day of procyanidin rich red wine provides cardiovascular benefits. This has been the experience of New Zealand consumers of the wines from south west France. Those wines, which have been tested for the procyanidin content, have up to 330 mg per 125ml serving.

While there is more research to be undertaken the evidence mounts for the healthy benefits of procyanidin. The good news is that procyanidins are abundantly available in various food types without waiting for the processes of commercial certification to be completed. To emphasize – procyanidins are available in beneficial doses naturally. Unnaturally high and unproven to be safe doses are not required with procyanidin.

Deep Skincare Creams – Learn About What They Must Contain To Protect Your Skin And Health!

Deep skincare creams are now taking the Internet and the beauty stores by storm. The only problem is that some of these creams actually contain ingredients that can damage our skin and indeed our health. This article is going to set out a few scenarios where you can learn how to choose the safer and ultimately more effective products.

The first scenario is where you come across a product which states that it is a high quality natural one. But can you believe that, especially when there is no list of the ingredients on their website? It is even ambiguous about the perfume and scents that it is using, stating that there is no excessive use. Apart from the fact that we have no idea of what these so called natural ingredients actually are, we are not overly impressed about the perfume and scents issue either. I will tell you why.

Probably 99% of companies who include perfumes or fragrances are using synthetic chemicals in their products. There is no legal obligation to state what exactly these chemicals are as this wonderful scent or fragrance is considered a trade secret. That is why it is best to avoid that sort of product.

So, if you want to avoid any allergies or skin irritation, make sure that the product you choose is fragrance free. A quick and easy way to check that there are none of these doubtful ingredients is to ensure that the company is signed up to The Compact For Safe Cosmetics.

The second scenario is where you begin to wonder if some ingredients can really get to penetrate your skin as the label ‘deep skincare’ suggests.

Most collagen, hyaluronic acid creams are just too dense to penetrate and get down to the dermis where the collagen lives. If they could they might well have some effect. The cruel truth is that as they are derived from other sources and are neither organic nor natural, they cannot do that.

Which ingredients can penetrate our skin and start to affect skin cell renewal which is what deep skincare is all about? Let me tell you about one of these ingredients.

One is a nano emulsion called nano lipobelle HEQ10 which as its name suggests is using nano technology to get down to the deepest layers. It can act on free radicals, moisturize, protect us with a built in sunscreen and most importantly can stimulate skin cell renewal. This is just one ingredient that really does deserve the label of deep skincare !

Now imagine that this is combined with other purely natural ingredients such as avocado oil, grapeseed oil, cynergyTK and phytessence wakame. These work in synergy together and they are working at a deeper level. This is what makes the real difference! There is no need to hesitate as you can immediately discover a few other secret ingredients from my website.

Garden With Romance and Health

Isn’t it wonderful to walk along a sunset boulevard full with flowers? Do we feel loved if we stroll beside a park full with flower box gardens? This romantic scenery is also possible at home. Some trowels, shovels, flowers and container boxes are our best friend if we plan to have a garden of love in our house. I think it will not be difficult to have one if we really want it. Who knows? Our better half might like it and will be really thrilled to have it added in your love cradle. I bet you have a great smile on your face while reading this. Well, everyone has their own way of making their relationships exciting. But to deal with flowers, there are so many benefits that we gain just to have this unique symbol of romance. It does not only stop at giving some bouquets of bloom to our loved ones, or spreading red rose petals on their pathways. It is the healthy lifestyle that we can achieve just to have it in our home.

Simple as it is, gardening, does not only give us an emotional satisfaction, but it also gives us a full body work out. Say, we are going to lift a twenty-pound flower box, then transfer it from your front yard to the backyard, which would be like 10-15 meters away. Wouldn’t it be a good early morning exercise for you to do that? The entire activity is cardio exercise mixed with muscle toning. Another one would be shoveling. If we are to shovel holes it would be like another cardiovascular exercise mixed with some muscle training. Gardening is truly a great exercise not only for our body but also for our heart.

Did I say heart? Well, when we are stressed, there are lots of negative health conditions that we acquire like heart ailment. For us to take care of for our heart we need to manage our stress. And one of the best therapies is to have flowers and do gardening at home. Gardening is the key to a healthy life according to home and gardening enthusiasts. As mentioned, exercise is good for our health because it is the best way to relieve stress. Also flowers can make the saddest soul happy. By only gazing at the beautiful creation of God, our mood suddenly changes from hopeless to positive.

Indeed, flowers and gardening have great impact to us. People who lack garden at home miss half of their lives as an individual because even just a simple mini flower box can create positive changes to our lives. It can be a holistic positive change for our health as well as our romance. Putting flower and gardening together will give us happiness and to start now is a great idea.

Breakfast That Makes You Beautiful and Healthy

We all know that we need to eat breakfast everyday, or our health would be in danger. But not all breakfast is healthy and well-received. People like to get more than nutrition from breakfast. Women are pursing beauty in breakfast. Here are some breakfast recipes.

The first breakfast is braised pawpaw with cheese. Pawpaw is rich in many kinds of vitamin B and carotene. And it contains a certain enzyme that can quickly absorb the protein in dairy products. Meanwhile, the protein in it can promote the metabolism of skin and slow down the aging process. Its antioxidation power is highly praised. If people have such breakfast everyday, it would be nice. The cooking of braised pawpaw with cheese is not difficult. You need to cut the pawpaw into dices first. Then you should boil the milk with sugar to make some cheese and add some vinegar to it. After that, you must pour the cheese into pawpaw. Then it is ready to serve.

Another breakfast is called low-calorie pineapple bagel. Bagel is welcomed by many westerners. It makes people full, but it provides few calories. To make a pineapple bagel, you only need five minutes. What you need to do is to bake the bagel for one minute and add an egg, some bacon and some pineapple slices to the bagel.

The third breakfast strawberry yoghurt with oats. Strawberry enjoys high reputation for its high content of vitamin C. Yoghurt is more nutritious than milk. And oats contains so many dietary fibers that they can accelerate the working of intestines. Besides, these three ingredients are all low-calorie and has the function of detoxification. In other words, this breakfast can drive away the dirt in the human body and make skin white. To make this yoghurt, you just need to put the ingredients together.

The fourth breakfast is a kind of drinks. To make it, you are suggested to prepare a pear, a cup of milk and some honey. Though it is small in amount, it contains much nutrition. As we know, pear is of high calories. It contains many kinds of fatty acids, which are necessary for the human body. Besides, the soluble vitamins, such as vitamin B and vitamin E, can be easily absorbed. These vitamins can defer aging.

The last type of breakfast is alfalfa sprouts with apples. You need to prepare some laver, half an apple, some alfalfa sprouts, three asparagus and a spoon of yoghurt. The cooking process is similar to the making of laver bread. This breakfast is easy to make and good for beauty. The rich vitamin A and vitamin B1 can adjust the balance of body liquid and eliminate the edema. Meanwhile, the fibers in alfalfa sprouts can help digest and the minerals would resist the aging of skin.