Anti-inflammatory drugs and OPCs

Anti-inflammatory drugs and OPCs
  • The gist of this article

Many chronic disease conditions like obesity, early diabetes, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases are associated with oxidative stress and low grade chronic inflammation. A brandnew study suggests that Masquelier’s OPCs can help regulate and terminate the body’s own inflammatory immune response and restore health.

Our immune system

The inflammatory response to stress and all kinds of challenges is a perfectly natural, survival-oriented event. However, it is often unpleasant because it is accompanied by pain, swelling and itching. After all, “inflame” means “to set on fire.” The inflammatory response is a life-saving reaction aimed at dealing with whatever threatens the body. So, we must not suppress or otherwise interfere with this perfectly natural reaction of our immune system. However, once the threat that turned it on has been turned off by the immune system, it should terminate its activity. And that’s precisely when most of our inflammatory problems stick up their ugly heads. The immune system continues its activities as if there was still something to fight. But, when there isn’t, the immune system begins to attack the body itself. It becomes counter-productive and causes auto-immune diseases such as rheumatism.

Cortisol resistence

Cortisol is the body’s own hormone that is released by the adrenal gland to turn off the immune system once it has done its job. Under normal circumstances, this works very well, which is the reason why colds and flues don’t last longer than a couple of days or one or two weeks at the most. However, in some cases cortisol meets resistance and no matter how hard it tries, its strength seems to get exhausted. Scientists at the Maastricht University in The Netherlands considered that in conditions of pronounced and continuous oxidative stress (smoking, drugs, chemicals, deficiency in nutritional antioxidants) the control function of  cortisol may be damaged and that this may be the reason for cortisol-resistance.

Masquelier’s OPCs boost the efficacy of cortisol

Since Masquelier’s OPCs have been shown to attenuate both inflammation and oxidative stress (see and, researchers Gesiele Verissimo, Antje Weseler and Aalt Bast at Maastricht University developed the idea that this unique natural compound is probably able to break the spell and maintain the anti-inflammatory activity of cortisol. The outcome of many state-of-the-art measurements revealed that, indeed, Masquelier’s OPCs restore and boost the efficacy of cortisol so that, even in an environment full of oxidative stress, the inflammatory response is brought under control. Firstly, OPCs preserve the availability and production of cortisol. Secondly, OPCs protect against the switching off of an enzyme that helps to conserve the efficacy of the anti-inflammatory effects of cortisol. Maintenance of the cellular activity of these important substances may be a mechanism by which OPCs restore the immune system’s balance ‒ homeostasis ‒ which eventually may contribute to sustain the bodies' ability to overcome the inflammatory effects of stress and maintain health.

When pharmaceutical glucocorticoids remain ineffective …

In cases of acute and chronic inflammations, the standard medical treatment consists of giving the body more pharmaceutically manufactured ‒ man-made ‒ cortisol called glucocorticoids or corticosteroids, better known under names such as Prednisolone and Cortisone. Since they were first recognized in the 1940s for their anti-inflammatory effect, oral, intravenous and topical forms of glucocorticoids have become the most prescribed immune suppression medications worldwide. They are being prescribed in the treatment of autoimmune disorders such as rheumatism, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, eczema and multiple sclerosis. Glucocorticoids are also prescribed to deal with allergic conditions and asthma. They are used in cancer therapy, to reduce some of the side effects of chemotherapy and to attack cells in some lymph-related cancers. It is tempting to conclude that OPCs can also be of assistance when pharmaceutical glucocorticoids remain ineffective in conditions of pronounced oxidative stress.

[1] Monomeric and oligomeric flavanols maintain the endogenous glucocorticoid response in human macrophages in pro-oxidant conditions in vitro; GesieleVeríssimo, Aalt Bast, Antje R.Weseler; Chemico-Biological Interactions; Volume 291, 1 August 2018, S. 237-244.