Cranberry Supplements Have Variable PAC Contents

February 13, 2014

An independent analysis finds retail products contain a wild range of proanthocyanidins.

Even though cranberry suppliers make a strong case for consuming the whole fruit (or a supplement form close to it), it’s hard to deny the extent of research linking health benefits to one specific class of cranberry compounds called proanthocyanidins (PACs). A new appreciation for insoluble cranberry PACs adds to the argument.

But since there is no industry standard for listing PAC content on product labels, commercial cranberry supplements are quite inconsistent in PAC content. Fruit d’Or Nutraceuticals (Notre-dame-de-Lourdes, QC, Canada) figured this out when it commissioned Labs-Mart (Edmonton, AB, Canada) last year to analyze the PAC content of 13 retail cranberry products. The results are in, and Fruit d’Or says products ranged from 13% to 1% PAC content.

“This tells me that there needs to be some standardization on the labels that consumers can look for when selecting which cranberry products to purchase,” says Fruit d’Or marketing vice president Stephen Lukawski. His company’s Cran Naturelle cranberry extract was also tested, and it yielded the highest PAC score.

PAC content can degrade during processing and even while a product sits on the shelf, so guaranteeing some level of PACs is of importance to suppliers like Fruit d’Or. Thankfully, USP appears well on its way to creating monographs for which the determination of PACs will be important.

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