In recent years, researchers have focused specifically on the therapeutic potential of the phenolic compounds found in grapes. Interesting findings originated from epidemiology, in particular the observation that red wine (very rich in polyphenols) could exert a preventive action against the development of chronic diseases of the cardiovascular system, like atherosclerosis, a disease strictly related to oxidative damage to plasma lipoproteins(2).
This could explain, at least in part, the so-called “French paradox”, a term referring to the lower-than-expected incidence of cardiovascular diseases in France despite the high dietary saturated fat intake and the habit of smoking cigarettes(3,4).
Grape seed extracts have been demonstrated of particular clinical interest(5), due to the presence of small molecular size polyphenols, named oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs). However, grape seeds extracts have variable chemical compositions, and polyphenols are known for their low and erratic bioavailability(6-8).
A natural clinically-proven aid for cardiovascular protection
Leucoselect® is a grape seed extract with a well-defined chemical composition, which was elucidated by HPLC-UV, GPC and HPLC-TSP-MS as follows(9):
- 15% (+)-catechin, (-)-epicatechin
- 80% (-)-epicatechin gallate, dimers, trimers, tetramers and their gallates
- 5% pentamers, hexamers, heptamers and their gallates
This high content of smaller size OPCs is crucial for the therapeutic activity, since the absorption of procyanidins is critically dependent on their molecular weight(10). In the production of Leucoselect®, high molecular weight procyanidins are discarded, and the more active oligomer like dimers, trimers, tetramers and their gallates are concentrated.
To further improve their bioavailability, Leucoselect® has been formulated with soy (non-GMO) phospholipids (1:3 w/w), thus generating Leucoselect® Phytosome®.