MASQUELIER'S® Clinical Studies

Clinical Studies of MASQUELIER'S® OPCs

MASQUELIER's® OPCs & Skin Health
INC | March 2012

The skin is responsible for the sense of touch and also acts as a barrier that protects the delicate underlying tissues and organs. The skin has an outer layer, the epidermis, which gets its oxygen and nutrients from the deeper layer, the dermis. The dermis contains blood vessels, nerve endings, hair roots and sweat glands. It is made up of elastin fibers and collagen floating in a glycoprotein gel. The dermis gives the skin its strength, elasticity and moisture. Blood vessels in the dermis supply nutrients to all parts of the skin.

The rate at which the human skin ages can be attributed to intrinsic and environmental factors. Intrinsic factors include the natural physiological aging process and genetic make-up. Environmental factors that affect the health of the skin include overexposure to UV rays, free radicals, poor nutrition, smoking, chemicals and drugs. Of these, free radicals generated by exposure to UV rays from the sun (or in tanning studios) are by far the biggest environmental factor that damages the skin causing early aging of skin. With skin aging, the total quantities of collagen and elastin decrease, making the skin thinner. The hydration, strength and elasticity in the skin’s layers decline, and may result in sagging, dehydration and wrinkling of skin. Additionally, blood vessels become more fragile, and may lead to bleeding under the skin, pigmentation and spider veins.

Maintaining healthy skin involves protecting it from free radical damage, strengthening collagen and elastin, and improving blood circulation in the dermis. Topical applications of vitamins and antioxidant nutrients intended to protect skin and keep it healthy have been used for a long time. However, recent scientific research has demonstrated the important role that dietary nutrients play in maintaining skin health and in protecting skin from damage by free radicals.

One such phytonutrient whose beneficial effects on skin health have been established through extensive scientific research is MASQUELIER’s® OPCs. MASQUELIER’s® OPCs has been shown through clinical studies to markedly reduce sunburn in skin caused by exposure to UV and to improve skin hydration. Excess exposure to UV radiation generates free radicals in the skin, which initially trigger biological reactions that cause damage to skin tissue and blood vessels, and reddening of skin, and in the long run promote rapid skin aging. By scavenging free radicals in skin, MASQUELIER’s® OPCs reduces sunburn of skin and the damaging effects of UV exposure, and by additionally improving skin hydration, this phytonutrient plays an important role in keeping skin healthy.

MASQUELIER’s® OPCs also binds glycosaminoglycans, and promotes collagen synthesis and polymerization and inhibits its degradation. It also significantly protects elastin in dermal connective tissue from degradation. Through these actions on the connective tissue, this phytonutrient can strengthen the structure and support elasticity of skin and of blood vessels supplying the skin.
MASQUELIER’s® OPCs has been demonstrated to have a vitamin C sparing effect in vitro. Vitamin C exerts antioxidant activity, supports body’s inflammatory response and plays a key role in synthesis of collagen. This in vitro vitamin C sparing effect, antioxidant effect and its beneficial effects on the normal inflammatory response, and skin structural proteins and blood vessels, contribute to the several ways in which MASQUELIER’s® OPCs promotes and protects skin health.
MASQUELIER’s® Original OPCs found to delay aging of blood vessels
INC | 3 December 2008

New research shows a potential novel biological activity of oligomeric proanthocyanidins. As present in MASQUELIER’s® Original OPCs, this complex phytonutrient was shown to delay aging in human vascular endothelial cells. The effect on what is technically called ‘senescence’ is possibly due to reducing DNA damage and oxidative stress.

The results of the research project, A Potential Role for Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPCs) in delaying Senescence in Endothelial Cells, were presented by International Nutrition Company’s Dr. Geetha Achanta at the 15th Annual Meeting of the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine, held from 19 to 23 November in Indianapolis. The study was performed under supervision of Dr. Jan Andries Post at the Center for Cellular Architecture and Dynamics Department of the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

The MASQUELIER’s® OPCs used in this study has been shown in our previous investigations to exhibit strong antioxidant activity. The findings from the current study suggest a novel biological activity for the product: delaying endothelial cell senescence. We are currently attempting to further elucidate the mechanisms by which the product delays endothelial cell senescence, which would provide a firm basis for testing its potential application in maintaining cardiovascular health.”

Arteries are lined on the inner side by a single, continuous layer of cells called endothelial cells. These endothelial cells have been found in laboratory experiments to undergo a finite number of cell divisions, after which growth halts. This phenomenon is called replicative cellular senescence and is suggested to occur in vivo with ageing of blood vessels. Senescence in endothelial cells also occurs upon exposure to oxidative stress, a phenomenon referred to as stress-induced premature senescence (SIPS).

In the study, MASQUELIER’s® Original OPCs, a well characterized dietary supplement from Vitis vinifera seeds rich in specific oligomeric proanthocyanidins, was found to markedly delay the onset of replicative senescence in human endothelial cells cultured in the laboratory, using several established tests for assessing senescence. Additionally, the ingredient was also found to effectively delay SIPS caused by exposure to rotenone, a chemical substance that is known to generate oxidative stress.

Interestingly, the ability of MASQUELIER’s® OPCs to delay senescence was associated with a decrease in the levels of a marker of DNA damage and DNA terminal ends (gamma-H2AX), suggesting that the possible molecular mechanism by which OPCs delay senescence in endothelial cells is through reduction in DNA damage. This hypothesis is supported by observations made in other research studies, showing that extent of DNA damage and levels of gamma-H2AX increase as cells progress to senescence. Reducing levels of DNA damage could therefore delay cellular senescence.

In previous investigations performed at Utrecht University it has been shown to significantly protect human LDL from oxidation, further supporting a potential for this product in maintaining cardiovascular health.
MASQUELIER’s® OPCs produce vascular benefits in smokers
INC | 18 january 2012

“Integrating all measured effects into a global, so-called vascular health index revealed a significant improvement of overall vascular health by MASQUELIER’s® Original OPCs compared to placebo.”

That’s the outcome of a study performed by the Department of Toxicology of Maastricht University, published in the December issue of PLOS One. The research team led by Dr. Antje Weseler faced the challenge of studying the cardiovascular effects in healthy people. This is one of the requirements developed by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) in examining health claims. “Food scientists,” so write Weseler and colleagues, “are facing the challenge to prove the clinical efficacy of nutrients that modulate human physiology in a subtle and non-specific manner. In drug research, where the one-target-one-hit concept is imperative, randomized clinical trials with a well-defined single endpoint are the gold standard of efficacy testing. However, a single endpoint neither sufficiently reflects the multifarious nature of nutrients’ functions in humans nor the complexity of pathomechanisms underlying virtually all diseases. Our study pioneered the implementation of a pragmatic solution for this problem: Carefully select a representative panel of markers that reflect the major relevant pathological aberrations and integrate all measured effects into a global health index.”

In order to study the beneficial health effects of dietary supplements in a healthy population, one must elevate the levels of the of the relevant parameters by exerting a certain stress. Still, the disturbances should be mild, so that no pharmacological intervention is required. The smokers recruited for the trial fulfilled these criteria adequately. Using a daily dosage of MASQUELIER’s® OPCs in the range that fits normal consumption of a varied and healthy diet, the new integrative multi-biomarker approach proved to be a sensitive and therefore powerful strategy to unveil the multifarious benefit of an 8 week supplementation. This research project confirms the vast amount of scientific work performed since professor Jack Masquelier first isolated the active principles of MASQUELIER's® Original OPCs. For health conscious consumers, the postive results take the product from maintaining their vascular health to reducing the risk of vascular disease.

The study showed a significant decrease in serum total cholesterol and LDL. Additionally, after 8 weeks of supplementation, the ratio of glutathione to glutathione disulphide in erythrocytes rose from baseline by 22% in the supplemented subjects. The researchers also observed that MASQUELIER’s® OPCs exerts anti-inflammatory effects in blood towards ex vivo added bacterial endotoxin and significantly reduces expression of inflammatory genes in leukocytes. Conversely, alterations in biomarkers such as platelet aggregation, plasma levels of nitric oxide surrogates, endothelin-1, C-reactive protein, and prostaglandin F2alpha, did not reach statistical significance. However, integrating all measured effects into a global vascular health index and taking into account that the trial was performed with healthy subjects, it was concluded that MASQUELIER’s® OPCs produces a significant improvement of overall vascular health compared to placebo.
MASQUELIER’s® Original OPCs Effectively Protects human Low Density Lipoproteins
INC | 21 December 2007

Oligomeric proanthocyanidins, as present in the complex phyto-nutrient MASQUELIER’s® Original OPCs, directly protect human LDL from oxidation at concentrations that reflect biologically-relevant or in vivo levels.

The results of the research project, Oligomeric proanthocyanidins effectively inhibit LDL oxidation: A Mechanistic study using a lipophilic, Oxidation-sensitive, Fluorescent Probe, were made public by Dr. Geetha Achanta at the 14th Annual Meeting of the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine, held last week in Washington DC. The research was performed in The Netherlands under supervision of Dr. Jan Andries Post at the Center for Cellular Architecture and Dynamics Department of the University of Utrecht.

Dr. Achanta commented: “The project aims at deepening our understanding of the ways OPCs protect the vascular wall, and potentially reduce risk of vascular disorders and cardiovascular complications. In research conducted last year, we found that OPCs are capable of protecting endothelial cells lining the blood vessels from oxidative damage and so reduce the risk on endothelial dysfunction and vascular disorders. This year’s research aims at studying the effects of OPCs on oxidation of LDL particles in plasma and their interaction with the vascular wall, a key factor that promotes inflammation in blood vessels resulting in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular complications. The results of the first phase of the project are extremely promising, because they indicate that OPCs, at levels found in circulation after oral intake, are capable of protecting LDL from oxidation, and appear to be more effective protectors than vitamin E.”

The results demonstrated that the likely mechanism by which MASQUELIER’s® Original OPCs protect LDL from oxidation is by effectively scavenging free radicals generated in both the water phase as well as the lipid phase which cause oxidation of the lipid (cholesterol)-rich LDL particles and triggers inflammation. This study used a highly sensitive, novel fluorescence method for detecting LDL oxidation.

Free radicals play the determining role in the onset of vascular inflammatory processes. A major trigger for vascular inflammation is oxidation of plasma Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL). Oxidized - modified - LDL sets the inflammatory reaction in motion and the effects of this event result in many health- threatening conditions. The product-specific research, performed at the University of Utrecht (Netherlands), showed that, at concentrations that are biologically-relevant in humans, the flavanolic compound named MASQUELIER’s® Original OPCs significantly protected plasma LDL from oxidation by scavenging free radicals in the water phase and lipid phase, thereby interrupting LDL modification and inflammation.

Representing International Nutrition Company, the worldwide supplier of the MASQUELIER’s® compounds, Bert Schwitters said: “This places Dr. Masquelier’s product as an important nutritional factor that attenuates the onset of the inflammatory reactions that may lead to numerous cardiovascular complications. If we can protect cholesterol (LDL) from oxidation, we may be capable of reducing the body’s inflammatory response and increase the chances on a healthy future for the vascular system."
MASQUELIER's® OPCs & Leg Veins
INC | March 2012

The maintenance of normal and healthy circulation, which is critical for the functioning of the heart and all tissues in the human body, requires the return of blood by the veins from different parts of the body to the heart. The circulation of blood through leg veins requires an extra effort since the blood has to return to the heart against gravity. Leg veins contain a series of muscle-driven pumps and one-way valves that allow blood to flow in only one direction - upwards. Veins also have a high ratio of collagen to elastin. Collagen, along with glycoproteins, is essential for the maintenance of structure of the vein wall. The high level of collagen also provides tensile strength to the vein wall, and together with elastin, prevents excessive distension of the veins in response to the large volume of blood contained in them. These structural properties enable veins to better perform their function of ensuring that blood flow back to the heart is appropriately regulated.

Weakening of the vein walls and valves occurs due to various factors such as sitting or standing for long periods, age, smoking, pregnancy, oral contraceptives or a family history of varicose veins. As we age, and due to a more sedentary, less active lifestyle, this can result in a feeling of heaviness in the legs and occasional cramping, particularly nocturnal leg cramps.

There is strong scientific evidence that MASQUELIER’s® OPCs strengthens blood vessels and maintains a healthy venous system, thereby reducing occasional cramping, heaviness and tingling in the legs. In several clinical studies, MASQUELIER’s® OPCs has been shown to have a beneficial effect on vein functional aspects such as venous tone and venous compliance, and to significantly reduce occasional leg cramps, heaviness, and tingling sensation. For instance, a large study was conducted in France involving 4729 female volunteers who exhibited heaviness, tingling sensation and cramps in legs following oral hormone intake (estrogen progesterone or progesterone only). The volunteers were advised to take MASQUELIER’s® OPCs for 90 days. At the end of 90 days, the physicians observed that the improvement in leg cramps, heaviness and tingling was excellent or good in 89.9 of volunteers and average or poor in 10.1 of the volunteers. The physicians concluded that MASQUELIER’s® OPCs is effective in improving and maintaining venous function, and is also safe.

The beneficial effects of MASQUELIER’s® OPCs on vein function are linked to its ability to bind collagen, elastin and glycosaminoglycans (key components in vein walls and vein valves), and promote collagen synthesis, protect collagen and elastin from degradation and regulate glycosaminoglycan levels. Through these actions, MASQUELIER’s® OPCs can greatly reinforce vein walls and vein valves, supporting their function in the body .
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