Proanthocyanidins

Other Name(s):

anthocyanidin, anthocyanadins, anthocyanin, celphinidin, cyanidin, delphinidin, malvidin, pelargonidin, peonidin, petunidin

General Description:

Proanthocyanidins and anthocyanidins are chemical compounds that give many plants, especially fruit or flowers, their red, blue or purple colors. Even before anthocyanins were recognized as anti-cancer and health-promoting agents, they were studied extensively for their importance as plant pigments. While anthocyanins are responsible for the reds, blues and purples, the closely related flavonols and flavones (other cancer-preventing pigments) are responsible for the yellow and ivory colors seen in many flowers.

Anthocyanidins belong to a group of compounds called polyphenols, which in turn belong to a subclass called flavonoids.

Food sources of anthocyanidins are red and black grapes (grape skin contains polyphenols [anthocyanins and leucoanthocyanins], while grape seeds contain proanthocyanidins), red wine, bilberries, cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, red cabbage and apple peel. Sources of proanthocyanidins are pine bark, grape seeds, leaves of the bilberry bush, birch and ginkgo biloba.

Medically Valid Uses:

Although significant research is being done to determine the health benefits of anthocyanins, anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins, concrete proof is not yet available for some aspects of their reported health-giving benefits. However, it is known that a diet high in vegetables and fruit reduces the risk for many types of cancer and other age-related problems.

Unsubstantiated Claims:

Please note that this section reports on claims that have NOT yet been substantiated through scientific studies.

Anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins are believed to possibly protect the heart and cardiovascular system, function as antioxidants, inhibit the formation of nitrosamines and protect cells from their mutagenic effects, work with vitamin C to block nitrosamines from forming, decrease risk for developing breast cancer, and reduce risk of blood clot formation (may be an important factor in reducing risk for heart attack).

Dosing Format:

There is no firmly established dose for proanthocyanidins.

Suggested daily dosages range from 20 to 200 mg, the most typical dose being 150 to 200 mg.

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should consult a physician before taking any dietary supplements.

Side Effects, Toxicity and Interactions:

There are no known side effects or significant food or drug interactions associated with proanthocyanidins.

Additional Information:

Click here for a list of reputable Web sites with general information on nutrition.

References:

  1. Hatano T, Yasuhara T, Yoshihara R, Agata I, Noro T, Okuda T. Effects of interaction of tannins with co-existing substances. VII. Inhibitory effects of tannins and related polyphenols on xanthine oxidase. Chem Pharm Bull. 1990;38(5):1224-9.

  2. Dauer A, Metzner P, Schimmer O. Proanthocyanidins from the bark of Hamamelis virginiana exhibit antimutagenic properties against nitroaromatic compounds. Planta Med. 1998;64(4):324-7.

  3. Plumb GW, De Pascual-Teresa S, Santos-Buelga C, Cheynier V, Williamson G. Antioxidant properties of catechins and proanthocyanidins: effect of polymerisation, galloylation and glycosylation. Free Radic Res. 1998;29(4):351-8.

  4. King A, Young G. Characteristics and occurrence of phenolic phytochemicals. J Am Diet Assoc. 1999;99(2):213-8.

  5. Feldman KS, Sahasrabudhe K, Smith RS, Scheuchenzuber WJ. Immunostimulation by plant polyphenols: a relationship between tumor necrosis factor-alpha production and tannin structure. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 1999;9(7):985-90.

  6. Sakagami H, Oi T, Satoh K. Prevention of oral diseases by polyphenols (review). In Vivo. 1999;13(2):155-71.

  7. Fremont L, Belguendouz L, Delpal S. Antioxidant activity of resveratrol and alcohol-free wine polyphenols related to LDL oxidation and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Life Sci. 1999;64(26):2511-21.

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