Proanthocyanidins are polymerised flavonoids. In this regard proanthocyanidins are a group of phytochemicals comprising of catechin units joined in various configurations. Proanthocyanidins are structurally similar to the catechin flavonoids found in apples and tea. Flavonoids including catechins have been shown to be anxiolytic agents, and therefore it is no surprise that proanthocyanidins share this function in animals. For example, in one study researchers investigated the effects of proanthocyanidins from grape seed extract on the anxiety experienced by rats fed a high cholesterol diet. Not only was the grape seed extract able to significantly reduce cholesterol levels, but was also able to reduce the anxious behaviour experienced by the rats when they were placed under experimental stress. It cannot be known for certain, but one possibility is that the proanthocyanidins in the grape seed extract may have produced anxiolytic effects by providing significant antioxidant protection to the rats.
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