Last Modified on Aug 05, 2014
You’ve probably eaten a grape and enjoyed the soft burst of the ripe fruit in your mouth followed by the wave of cool, refreshing juice. But, did you realize that grapes, or at least the extract from grape seeds, deliver more benefits than just refreshment? Grape seed extract has a variety of health applications and benefits, which include improving cardiovascular function, reducing edema or swelling, improving wound healing, and others.
The History behind Grape Seed Extract
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, grapes, including the leaves, have been used as a medical treatment since ancient Greek times. The tradition continues today as grape seed extract is a common folk remedy that is used to treat a variety of ailments. While the seeds used are taken from a variety of place, most of them actually are obtained from wine manufacturers.
The Major Health Benefits of Grape Seed
The extract of any fruit or seed considered the true essence of the fruit. The extract contains concentrated flavor as well as nutritional benefits. The same holds true with grape seed extract. This unique compound that is rendered from grape seeds and contains a rich combination of antioxidants and oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs). These nutritional components make grape seed extract effective for treating a variety of health conditions and supporting a number of health benefits including healing wounds, lowering cholesterol, treating atherosclerosis, improving circulation, enhancing cognitive function, and preventing cancer.
1. Healing Wounds
The antioxidants and vitamin E contained in grape seed extract promote cell regeneration. With this benefit, the extract promotes more rapid healing of wounds. A study published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine supports this claim and provides evidence that the topical application of the extract supports dermal rejuvenation and healing.
2. Lowering Cholesterol
The active compounds in grape seed oil actually have a positive effect on the breakdown of fat. As your body is more capable of breaking down and eliminating fat and buildup in your cardiovascular system, your cholesterol levels will lower. A study shows that grape seed extract taken in conjunction with chromium has the greatest effect on lowering total and LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels.
3. Treating Atherosclerosis
Grape seed extract contains a high concentration of antioxidants. These components protect your blood vessels from damage and promote more effective blood circulation. The compound also helps break up plaque and other forms of buildup in your arteries.
4. Enhancing Cognitive Function
Grape seed extract is high in proanthocyanidins. These compounds actually help prevent cognitive decline and may actually boost your cognitive function. A study indicates that grape seed extract may be one of the most effective steps toward preventing cognitive loss due to aging.
5. Preventing Cancer
With the potency of antioxidants contained in grape seed extract, the natural compound has been shown to prevent the growth of several types of cancerous cells, including breast, stomach, colon, prostate, and lung, in test vials. However, research has been inconclusive whether the extract has the same effect in humans. One study has shown, though that the treatment is effective for treating skin cancer.
What the Experts Say
At present, experts have done a great deal of research on the effects of grape seed extract on the body. Studies show that the compounds found in the extract deliver a number of health benefits, including:
- A study showing the extract can relieve symptoms of venous insufficiency.
- Trials that the extract improves the strength of your blood vessels.
- A large randomized trial that shows the treatment is effective for reducing edema.
While some studies have shown positive results for using grape seed extract to treat a variety of conditions, others have been inconclusive. For example, a study promoted by the National Cancer Institute discovered that the extract did not prevent the hardening of breast tissue in conjunction with radiation treatment the way researchers would have expected. Nonetheless, the extract is accepted as an effective remedy and supplement for a variety of different health conditions.
How to Use Grape Seed Extract
Most people can tolerate the extract taken by mouth. The extract has been researched and found safe for use for up to 8 weeks in clinical trials. You can take grape seed as a dietary supplement in the form of capsules, tablets, or a liquid extract. Be sure to look for a product that contains 40 to 80% proanthocyanidins or an OPC content of at least 95%.
Continue reading below to find ways that our readers and contributors have used grape seed extract to benefit their health!
[YEA] Well, Let me first say, I've had fibroids and ovarian cysts for over 7 years. They have progressively gotten worse and worse as far as heavy clotting periods, PMS, and weight gain. Basically my life revolves around my periods. I don't "do" western medicine so I only go to the doctor to find out what's going on. I'm also a vegetarian. My job is that of performer, so I've had to be meticulous about scheduling shows around my cycle. I'm so excited right now I had to share this immediately. It's early days, I'm only into day 4 of my period, but the change has been incredible. For a whole week before my period I did castor oil packs over where I consider the fibroids are. I rented movies, and spent every evening for about an hour and a half with the pack on my belly, and a heating pad over the area. Also, from the first day of my period I've been taking 2 (100mg) grapeseed extract tablets 3 times a day. They give me a bit of lose stool, but that's the least of my problems after all the bleeding I've endured over the years. Ok the report is: So far my bleeding has been cut in half, if not even more. A few very small clots, as apposed to huge clots. I feel different. I don't feel exhausted, and I'm thinking a miracle has happened to me. I don't know if it's the grape seed or the packs, but I am going to continue this procedure. I'm not sure how often I should do the packs, but I read in this forum that the grapeseed should be done only during your period to keep it's potency on your system. Oh, also something else. I had been taking BSM for over a year, (no decrease in bleeding, but other very good effects) and I read on this forum that House of Herbs had the most iron, so I orderd a whole case of it.. but the label is very sparse, and I think it might be sulfured, and that is not good because it thins the blood, so the only other thing I've changed is that I've cut OUT the sulfured BSM. I will update as I find out more, but right now I'm extremely happy. Day 4 and it's been a walk in the park!!!
[YEA] I recently moved to Albuquerque, NM from Colorado Springs, CO. I was working as a consultant and had to drive back. The morning I woke up, I had a lot of mucous in my throat and thought it would go away. An hour into my drive, it was still there. Two hours into my drive I started sneezing. After 6 hours of driving, I got to my mother's house in the Springs looking half dead and feeling absolutely terrible. I had cold symptoms. I was at the point that I knew if I went to bed, I would awake up feeling 20 times worse. My mother suggested "Grape Seed Extract" pills. She had gotten the idea from my sister who had found out about it the same way I had... word of mouth. It was 4pm when I took the first one. I was staying at a friends house and warned her I was getting sick. I forgot about the pill. At around 8pm, I wasn't sneezing and actually felt a little better. I took one before going to bed dreading my wake up. I can honestly say I woke up feeling great. I took three more that day as instructed on the bottle. Never got the symptoms again. This happened in September which is when I usually get that bad cold of the year. I have tried all the "cures" on here from the tomato tea to plain ACV, to hydrogen peroxide. Nothing ever worked like this has. Unbelievable really. I am testing my theory again with my son. He is almost 5 and is getting very sick. He took one tonight and I feel due to his age, I will keep it to one a day. We will see how he does in the morning.
I bought my bottle at whole foods though I imagine most health food stores carry it. Take 3 a day, 1 in the morning, afternoon and before bed. It's just a capsule, though my mother had solid pills. This was a life saver for me and I imagine if ACV doesn't work for all, this might. Literally took a few hours for me to feel better and more energized.
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[SIDE EFFECTS] I'm currently six months post partum and decided to start taking Grape Seed Extract for general health and younger looking skin. I was told to take 1mg for each pound I weigh (120lbs/120mg). The pills are 100mg each, so I was taking two a day with the understanding that excess would be excreted through urine. That day I started having heart palpitations, severe night sweats and anxiety/depression spells. This continued for two weeks (I thought it might be an adjustment period) before I reduced to one pill a day (100mg). The issues continued. I then stopped taking the GSE and all symptoms disappeared by the next day. I waited a week and tried it again. All negative symptoms came back in full force. In all my research on the internet, I'm not finding anyone with any issues like this regarding grape seed extract. I have two theories regarding my reaction and wanted to hear everyone else's feedback.
1. I'm thinking I might have post partum depression and the grape seed extract is amplifying it.
2. I had an epidural and petocin during my labor and my body is reacting poorly to all those drugs leaving my system.
These are merely guesses.
Age: 32, Weight: 120, good general health - no diagnosed issues, moderate exercise and a fairly healthy diet consisting of many fruits, vegetable, minimal meat and minimal processed foods. I do have alcoholic drinks almost every night (typically 1-3).