What are Procyanidins
Wikipedia describes Procyanidins as ”members of the proanthocyanidin (or condensed tannins) class of flavonoids. They are oligomeric compounds, formed from catechin and epicatechin molecules. They yield cyanidin when depolymerized under oxidative conditions.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procyanidin
The name flavonoid comes from the latin word ‘flavus’ which means yellow because flavonoids in nature are yellow in colour. From the 1930’s to 1950’s flavonoids were called Vitamin P but this name is no longer in common use.
Where do they occur in nature?
According to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flavonoid Flavonoids are found in many plants. They are the most important pigments for yellow, red and blue flowers and probably evolved to attract pollinating animals such as birds and bees. In higher plants, flavonoids are involved in UV filtration, symbiotic nitrogen fixation and floral pigmentation. They may also act as chemical messengers, physiological regulators, and cell cycle inhibitors.
Dietary Sources and Health Benefits
In terms of edible plants procyanidins are found in grape seeds and skins, apples, blueberries, cranberries, bilberries, black currants, hazelnuts, pecans and pistachios. Studies have shown that the antioxidant power of procyanidins is 20 times higher than that of vitamin C and 50 times higher than vitamin E.
Procyanidins also have the following very useful health benefits.
- Procyanidins are anti-inflammatory – Epidemiological studies have indicated that populations that consume procyanidin-rich foods have lower incidences of inflammatory diseases. Because of their inlamation reducing effect they have also been found to reduce allergic reactions and also help combat artherosclerosis. It is thought that the beneficial properties of procyanidins found in red wine are responsible for the better health of people from countries where red wine consumption is high. France and Italy, for example, have a far lower incidence of heart disease than in countries such as America, England or South Africa.
- Procyanidins help prevent and repair circulatory dysfunction – studies have shown that procyanidins extracted from grape seeds have beneficial effects in the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure). They do this by lowering blood pressure and improving general vascular and circulatory health. High blood pressure is a very serious and sometimes life threatening condition. It can cause narrowing, hardening and blockages of arteries. In severe cases this can lead to the rupture of an artery causing internal bleeding and even a stroke. Untreated high blood pressure can also lead to enlargement of the heart or heart failure. It also damages kidneys and eyes.
- Anti-oxidant properties – Procyanidins have strong free radical-scavenging activity against reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. According to Wikipedia “An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules…. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When the chain reaction occurs in a cell, it can cause damage or death to the cell. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antioxidant . Dr Ananya Mandal, MD lists the following effects of oxidative stress – ”neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, gene mutations and cancers, chronic fatigue syndrome, fragile X syndrome, heart and blood vessel disorders, atherosclerosis, heart failure, heart attack and inflammatory diseases.”
- Sexual health – Studies have found that procyanidin from bilberry and grape seed may reduce the general fluid retention and swelling that can occur in Premenstrual syndrome. It is also used to combat erectile dysfunction. According to WebMD( http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/high-blood-pressure-erectile-dysfunction ) “High blood pressure keeps the arteries that carry blood into the penis from dilating the way they’re supposed to. It also makes the smooth muscle in the penis lose its ability to relax. As a result, not enough blood flows into the penis to make it erect”
The beneficial effect of procyanidins on circulation and cardiovascular health have been found to combat and often cure erectile dysfunction by significantly reducing high blood pressure.
Other medical uses
Apart from the above, procyanidins have also been found to have beneficial effects in treating:
- Chronic venous insufficiency
- skin aging
- impaired night vision
- easy bruising.
New improved Virekta (f)
Herbal Remedies is constantly researching, upgrading and improving its bestselling range of Herbal Libido Enhancers. Their latest improvement has been to add grape seed extract, which has a very high level of bio-available procyanidins, to Virekta (f). This has served to further strengthen and enhance an already fantastic herbal female libido enhancing product.
If women need a further boost in their sex drive then Herbal Remedies Virekta (F) Super Active works exceptionally well together with the new improved Virekta (F). Taken about 30 minutes before sex it improves blood flow to the female genital area increasing arousal and also enabling better natural lubrication.
For more information about these and there other excellent products please visit http://www.herbalremedies.co.za/