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Flavanols from Grape Seed May Improve Blood Vessel Functioning

A recent study suggests that taking a daily supplement of oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) from grape seed may alter gene expression that is associated with cardiovascular disease. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins are the larger, simpler polyphenols that are also referred to as flavanols.

Participants in the study included 13 male smokers who were given 200 mg of the OPCs daily for eight weeks. The researchers determined their gene profiles using whole genome microarrays.

The researchers discovered that taking the supplement was associated with the expression of 864 different genes that were linked to lower immune cell adhesion to the endothelial cells. This is the first step in atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Endothelial cells are the cells that line the inside of the blood vessels.

Researchers from Université d'Auvergne in France, University of Gent in Belgium, University of Antwerp in Belgium, Free University of Brussels, and Maastricht University in the Netherlands conducted the study. It was published on April 24, 2014, in PLOS One.

Previous studies have shown that flavanols may decrease inflammation, protect DNA from damage, and improve heart and brain health by increasing blood flow.

Foods high in flavanols include citrus fruits, grapes, strawberries, tea, cooked greens and dark chocolate, all of which are can be easily incorporated into your daily diet.

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