Proanthocyanidins (PACs) are an abundant but complex class of polyphenols found in foods and botanicals. PACs are polymeric flavanols with a variety of linkages and subunits. Connectivity and degree of polymerization (DP) determine PAC bioavailability and bioactivity. Current quantitative and qualitative methods may ignore a large percentage of dietary PACs. Subsequent correlations between intake and activity are hindered by a lack of understanding of the true PAC complexity in many foods. Additionally, estimates of dietary intakes are likely inaccurate, as nutrient databank values are largely based on standards from cocoa (monomers to decamers) and blueberries (mean DP of 36). Improved analytical methodologies are needed to increase our understanding of the biological roles of these complex compounds.


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