Dietary Supplements information including Procyanidolic oligomers (PCOs)

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Procyanidolic oligomers (PCOs)

Procyanidolic 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 are antioxidants. 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 muscle.

PCOs 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.

The 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 one’s 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.

PCOs 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 body’s storage of vitamin C.

Consult your physician before begining any dietary supplement regimen.


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Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
FDA regulates dietary supplements under a 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.

United States Department of Health and Human Services
Thee United States government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.The department has more than 300 programs.
Nutrition and health information on government websites.



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