March 21, 2017


Other name(s):

anthocyanidin, anthocyanadins, anthocyanin, celphinidin, cyanidin, delphinidin, malvidin, pelargonidin, peonidin, petunidin

General description

Proanthocyanidins and anthocyanidins are chemical compounds. They give many plants, especially fruit or flowers, their red, blue, or purple colors. These are considered cancer-preventing pigments. They were first studied for their importance as plant pigments. Anthocyanins are responsible for the reds, blues, and purples. The closely related flavonols and flavones are responsible for the yellow and ivory colors in many flowers.

Anthocyanidins belong to a group of compounds called polyphenols. These belong to a subclass called flavonoids.

Food sources of anthocyanidins include red and black grapes. Grape skin contains polyphenols, including anthocyanins and leucoanthocyanins. Grape seeds contain proanthocyanidins. Other food sources include red wine, bilberries, cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, red cabbage, and apple peel. Sources of proanthocyanidins include pine bark, grape seeds, leaves of the bilberry bush, birch, and ginkgo biloba.

Medically valid uses

Research is being done to look at the health benefits of these compounds. It’s known that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits reduces the risk for many types of cancer. It also lowers the risk of other age-related problems.

Unsubstantiated claims

Please note that this section reports on claims that have not yet been substantiated through studies.

Anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins may protect the heart and cardiovascular system. They may work as antioxidants and block nitrosamines from forming. They may also protect healthy cells from their mutagenic effects. They also work with vitamin C to decrease risk of breast cancer. They also reduce risk of blood clot formation. This may lower the risk of a heart attack.

Dosing format

There is no set dose for proanthocyanidins. Suggested dosages range from 20–200 mg per day. The standard dose is 150–200 mg.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to their healthcare providers before taking any supplements.

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

There are no known side effects linked with proanthocyanidins. There are also no known food or drug interactions.


March 21, 2017


Scalbert, Augustin. Polyphenols: Antioxidants and Beyond. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2005. 81(1):2155-2175.

Reviewed By:  

Poulson, Brittany, RD, CDE,Wilkins, Joanna, RD, CD