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    You are here : Home » About MS » Multiple Sclerosis Treatments » Dr Bob Lawrence's Advice » Super-antioxidants & Multiple Sclerosis

    Super-antioxidants & Multiple Sclerosis

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    Super-antioxidants and Multiple SclerosisFurther Information

  • Supplements
  • Researching Pycnogenol
  • Antioxidants
  • Anthocyanidins (or Super-Antioxidants) in the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
    Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), or anthocyanidins, are natural compounds within a group of plant-derived substances called flavonoids. They have very powerful antioxidant properties.

    Anthocyanidins are derived from sources such as pine-bark extract, grape-seed extract or from berries, including cranberry and bilberry. These have a primary disadvantage in that they are relatively expensive but other more economic, but perhaps less effective, sources such as citrin or rutin have been used for their potential benefit.

    There is presently an increasing interest in this group of compounds in the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other conditions. The beneficial effects of this range of compounds may be summarised as follows:-

    1. Antioxidant / free radical scavenger: OPCs scavenge certain common free radicals 50 times more effectively than vitamin E and twenty times more effectively than vitamin C. As bioflavonoids they potentiate the absorption of vitamin C and protect vitamin C and carotenoids in the body. These, in turn, permit the recycling (and therefore conservation) of vitamin E. Thus, they increase the beneficial effect of other antioxidant vitamins.

    2. Collagen binding and stabilising: OPCs bind to collagen, a protein in connective tissue, to maintain and restore its flexibility and integrity. Collagen is a primary component of the skin, blood vessels, joint tissues respiratory tract, intestinal tract, etc.

    3. OPCs are anti-inflammatory; anti-allergic; they enhance the effect of vitamin C and protect capillaries.

    A number of sources, including several references on the internet, have revealed some additional important facts. With specific regard to MS, OPCs are effective in:-
    1. Maintaining the blood/ brain barrier, which prevents cells of the immune system reaching the brain and spinal cord. Here, they are able to attack the myelin cells surrounding nerve fibres, thus promoting the range of disabilities characteristic of MS.

    2. Crossing the blood/brain barrier where they are able to further inhibit those T-lymphocytes which are already present in the tissues.

    Pine-bark extract is probably the best-known source of OPCs. It has been patented under the trade-name of Pycnogenol and, as such, tends to be expensive. Pycnogenol products vary widely in price. The more expensive brands do not provide any additional benefits.

    Alternative sources of OPCs tend to be more economically priced. Lamberts Colladeen (Anthocyanidin Complex), for example, costs £12-95 for 60 x 80mg tablets. Also recently introduced is high-dose Colladeen, which is double the dose of the standard preparation, at 160mg per capsule. The cost is £14-95 for 60, plus 90p postage. The advised dose is between 250mg/day and 500mg/day. This is readily and economically attainable with a product of this nature.

    For such as MS, some internet sources have recommended even higher doses. Some have suggested doses as high as 500 – 1000 mg/day. The compound has been said to be free of side effects but in local tests, temporary symptoms, such as dizziness, tinnitus, nausea, dyspepsia, headache or disturbed sleep have been reported.

    An American product, Revenol, contains 60mg of OPCs together with low doses of vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene. Revenol costs about £20 for 60 tablets. Another product, Procydin, also contains a mixture of various berry extracts.

    Local tests, using Colladeen, for periods up to six months, have shown significant beneficial responses. Improvements in muscle spasm, muscle function, balance and mobility, reduced pain, improved sleep and improved sense of well-being, have all been reported. Despite the frequent recommendation that they should be taken with a meal, it would be preferred that they be taken on an empty stomach, at least one hour after the last meal. Their transition through the bowel will then be rapid providing optimum opportunity for absorption unchanged.

    Due to some initial introductory side effects, it is recommended that the starting dose should be no more than 160 mg. If no side effects occur, this dose may be increased slowly to the maximum required. Thus, during the first week – take 160mg/day; Second week – take 320mg/day; Third week – take 480mg/day. This dose seems a practical and economic limit but higher doses may be safely considered if desired.

    The treatment should be taken as a single dose each morning or as divided doses in the morning and at mid-day. Taking the tablets late at night tends to increase the likelihood of disturbed sleep or dreams.

    © Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre (MSRC)

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