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The issue of bioavailability has become a major topic for researchers of antioxidants. According to Dr. Robert Hackman, a researcher at UC Davis who has extensively studied polyphenols, notes that “it’s not a matter of what gets in your mouth but what gets in your blood.” But of the different types of antioxidants, even the most potent ones only show in the range of 10 percent to 30 percent bioavailability.

So what is it that keeps these nutrients from being fully absorbed? The answer is pretty intuitive — it’s their size. Long-chain molecules prevalent in antioxidants have high molecular weight, so they are too big to be absorbed into the small entry ways along the human intestines. Consequently, they are simply eliminated and pass through the body as waste.

Recognizing the limitation of antioxidant compounds due to their bioavailability, a Japanese bionutraceutical company developed a unique lychee-based compound called Oligonol. It uses a proprietary technology that in essence involves taking a pair of high-tech scissors to cut long-chain polyphenols into tiny pieces, making them highly absorbable by the body. As the result, it has outperformed the word’s leading antioxidants including pine bark, green tea and pomegranate in ORAC, TEAC and Lipid Peroxide tests.

More importantly, human clinical placebo-controlled studies on Oligonol have shown that the low-molecular weight polyphenol has a broad spectrum of benefits, including: improvement in cardiovascular risk factors, better skin, and reduced fatigue. How can one ingredient do so many things? It has to do with Oligonol’s primary mode of action, which is to increase blood flow. As human beings, we’re pretty dependent on a steady supply of blood to nourish our cells with oxygen. Deliver more oxygen to the heart and you get improved cardiovascular health. Deliver more oxygen to the skin and you get better skin tone and elasticity. Deliver more oxygen to the muscles and you get less fatigue.

In addition, in a double-blind placebo-controlled study showed that after 10 weeks of use, Oligonol can help reduce visceral fat by 12 percent. Since abdominal obesity is one of the key risk factors of coronary heart disease, Oligonol has both direct and indirect cardiovascular benefits.

The quality of the clinical research supporting these health benefits earned Oligonol the prestigious Nutracon Award, given annually to the best new evidence-based ingredient by the nutritional supplement industry.

Oligonol is sold at independent health food stores around the country or can be purchased online at

Total Health