Grape seed extract health benefits

Grape seed extract health benefits include treating cardiovascular issues and swelling or inflammation, and preventing cancer.

The grape has been a key botanical source of antioxidants and other beneficial therapeutic compounds for thousands of years. But it wasn’t until the 1990s that medical science identified the key components that conveys it therapeutic value.

Like the human body, plants develop defense systems that promote survival.

Some experts attribute the broad and potent scope of the grape’s defense system to the harsh environment in which it often grows, facing strong sunlight, drought, and harmful organisms throughout a lengthy vine lifespan of around a century.

Researchers believe the plant contains substances that can help heal the human body, improving cardiovascular health, circulatory health and balancing blood sugar.

You can benefit by drinking red wine, which unlike white wine ferments the seeds, or taking a nutritional supplement in capsule, tablet or tincture forms.

Grape seed extract (GSE) and aging

Oxidation

Oxidation is an additional age-related disease precursor, which environmental pollutants and the over-burdening of the body’s natural stores of antioxidants exacerbate.

Healthy cells are damaged when oxygen circulates in the body, and the resulting free radicals are normally neutralized by the body’s antioxidant defense system.

In modern times, however, the sheer high-level load of toxins in the environment resulting from stress increases the number of free radical induced mutations in healthy DNA, which if left untreated replicate and develop disease.

To compensate for the extra oxidative damage, supplementing with dietary or nutraceutical antioxidants is necessary to prevent cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers studying GSE’s antioxidant capacity, including anthocyanidins, phenolic acids and flavanols, have found one of the grape seed extract health benefits is reversing the effects of oxidation-related disease.

Studies show oxidation occurs in Alzheimer’s disease development. Some theories are that free radicals stimulate a vicious cycle of oxidative stress and neurodegeneration that, if allowed to continue unbridled, creates neural plaques that inhibit brain function and increasingly worsen dementia in Alzheimer’s patients.

Chronic inflammation

Chronic inflammation is one of the consequences of aging that left untreated can lead to arthritis, diabetes, cancer or cardiovascular disease.

In a healthy scenario, inflammation develops at an injury site to signal, protect and heal the wound. But when an accumulation of harmful compounds occurs, resulting from stress, environmental pollution and the overpowering of the body’s natural maintenance processes, for example, it causes a low-grade, nearly undetectable level of inflammation which can persist for years and develop into disease unbeknownst to the sufferer.

When animals consumed a high-fat diet and grape seed extract supplements, their C-reactiv protein levels (molecules that promote inflammation) were inhibited, which is significant for preventing cell oxidation and disease development.

Cardiovascular disease

For decades cardiovascular disease has had the highest mortality worldwide compared to all other health problems.

Grape seed extract health benefits include assisting pathological blood clotting and oxidation of lipids resulting in arterial plaques, both of which can block arteries and increase the risk of cardiac arrest.

According to Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, the antioxidant protection activity of grape seed extract is far more potent than vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene (precursor to vitamin A). It has been credited with increasing antioxidant activity by more than 11%, while reducing the rate of oxidized fat.

Cancer

Cancer is responsible for approximately 13% of all deaths worldwide each year.

It is characterized by uncontrolled abnormal cell growth as malignant tumors that metastasize and spread to areas of the body beyond the point of origin.

The most prevalent cancer types include lung, liver, stomach, breast and colon, caused by the five leading behavioral and dietary risks of excess body weight, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of exercise, smoking and alcohol consumption.

The antioxidant activity of the procyanidin component of grape seed extract may inhibit cancer cell proliferation.

Edema

Edema is a disorder of the circulatory system characterized by swelling in the body’s extremities, particularly the feet, ankles, legs, hands and arms.

Blocked blood vessels, heart problems, and a break in blood vessel cell integrity, for example, can cause edema, and it is compounded by a sedentary lifestyle.

In a 14-day trial, participants who took grape seed extract in the morning before sitting for prolonged periods had significant suppression of edemic leg volume distension and body extracellular fluid, research shows.

How much GSE should I take?

Usually made with the remains of wine manufacturing processes, grape seed extract is available in capsule and tablet forms. A typical therapeutic supplementation dosage recommendation is 100-600 mg per day consumed in divided doses.

Side effects

Side effects from eating grape seed extract are rare but may include dizziness, headache, hives, dry scalp, high blood pressure, nausea and indigestion.

An absence of side effects and relief of symptoms after consistent use usually indicates that you’re taking the right amount.

Contraindications

Taking grape seed extract can interfere with medications that the liver metabolizes, anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin) or aspirin and Phenacetin.

Given the lack of evidence about its safety to date, experts don’t encourage grape seed extract for either children or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

References

  1. University of Maryland Medical Center. “Grape Seed.” January 25, 2011. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/grape-seed-000254.htm
  2. Goepp, Julius, M.D. Life Extension Magazine. “Protecting Cardiovascular Health with Whole Grape Extract.” September 2007. http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2007/sep2007_report_grapeseed_01.htm
  3. National Center for Alternative and Complementary Medicine — Herbs at a Glance. “Grape Seed Extract.” April 2012. http://permanent.access.gpo.gov/gpo29912/Herbs-At-A-Glance-Grape-Seed-Extract-06-15-2012-0.pdf
  4. Wang, Sunan, et al. Food Research International. “Can Phytochemical Antioxidant Rich Foods Act as Anti-Cancer Agents?” http://www.sciencedirect.com.proxy.library.vcu.edu/science/article/pii/S0963996911003371#
  5. World Health Organization. “Cancer.” February 2012. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs297/en/index.html
  6. Sano, Atsushi, et al. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. “Proanthocyanidin-rich grape seed extract reduces leg swelling in healthy women during prolonged sitting.” July 2, 2012. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jsfa.5773/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false
  7. Yilmaz, Yusuf, et al. Trends in Food Science and Technology. “Health Aspects of Functional Grape Seed Constituents.” September 2004. http://www.sciencedirect.com.proxy.library.vcu.edu/science/article/pii/S0924224404001128

Last reviewed 3/Mar/2017

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