Pine bark extract is a new nutritional supplement used for its antioxidant properties, which are believed to be effective for a wide range of healing and preventative purposes. Antioxidants play a key role of repairing and protecting cells in the body. They help protect against free radicals, which are damaging byproducts of metabolism and exposure to environmental pollutants.
Free radical damage is believed to contribute to aging, as well as too severe conditions including heart disease and cancer. Common antioxidants are vitamins A, C, E, and the mineral selenium. Researchers have termed the group of antioxidants found in pine bark extract oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPCs for short. OPCs (also referred to as PCOs) are some of the most powerful antioxidants available.
Pine bark extract has been extensively tested for safety, and no dangerous side effects have been observed with its use. The most frequently reported side effects have been mild gastrointestinal complaints such as nausea or upset stomach.