oligomers (PCOs) are a class of nutrients that belong to the flavonoid
(a class of water-soluble plant pigments) family. Also referred
to as proanthocyanidins or oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs), PCOs
Additionally, they aid in the stabilization of collagen and the
maintenance of elastin, which are two critical proteins found in
connective tissue that support organs, joints, blood vessels, and
are mainly found in plants, in particular: pine bark; grape
seed; and grape skin. Additional sources of PCOs include bilberry,
cranberry, black currant, green
tea, and black tea. Although it is not considered an essential
nutrient, the absence of PCO intake means the absence of its health
benefits. Consequently, nutritional supplements that contain PCOs
extracts from various plant sources are available. Although, an
optimal level of PCOs intake has yet to be determined, it is recommended
that a 50 to 100 mg intake of these supplements is safe and effective.
health benefits of PCOs includes the treatment of chronic venous
insufficiency (CVI), which refers to a condition where there is
a poor return of blood from the feet and legs back to the heart.
PCOs promote venous strength, integrity and are associated with
the strengthening of capillaries. This makes it an effective treatment
in capillary fragility, instances where ones capillary has
become severely weakened. The use of PCOs in the treatment of CVI
has been shown to reducing the symptoms affiliated with this condition.
PCOs have been linked with the reduction of edema following face-lift
surgery. It has also been cited as treatment in retinopathy, a condition
in which the retina is damaged at the back of the eye, in which
it helps limit its progression. PCOs have also been used in the
treatment of pancreatic insufficiency, instances in which normal
digestion is not occurring due to the pancreas inability to
secrete enough chemicals and digestive enzymes, and in varicose
veins, instances in which twisted, enlarged veins are close to the
surface. Additionally, some studies have shown that PCOs improve
aspects of vision in healthy individuals.
are free of side effects. Excessive levels of PCOs are safe as it
is a water-soluble nutrient and therefore any excess will be excreted
in the urine. However, as an antioxidant,
PCOs may have a sparing effect on the bodys storage of vitamin
your physician before begining any dietary supplement regimen.
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different set of regulations than those covering "conventional" foods and drug
products (prescription and Over-the-Counter). Under the Dietary Supplement Health
and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), the dietary supplement manufacturer is responsible
for ensuring that a dietary supplement is safe before it is marketed. FDA is responsible
for taking action against any unsafe dietary supplement product after it reaches
the market. Generally, manufacturers do not need to register with FDA nor get
FDA approval before producing or selling dietary supplements. Manufacturers must
make sure that product label information is truthful and not misleading.
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