While you may be aware of the many benefits of grapes for your health, you may not be aware that the extract from grape seeds also has many benefits.
These compounds are full of antioxidants, which can help to prevent heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline and even fight the signs of aging.
By fighting free radicals and combatting oxidative stress, this herbal treatment could help solve many of your health concerns.
We explain how grape seed extract can help to improve your health.
Understanding Grape Seed Extract
The grape seed extract is made from the seeds of grapes.
These grapes are usually used in the production of wine or grape juice.
It is made by drying and then pulverizing grape seeds.
This powder is then put into a capsule or tablet form.
This extract is a highly concentrated source of antioxidants, which are very beneficial for your health.
The antioxidants in grape seed extract include flavonoids, phenolic acids, and anthocyanins.
This extract is also the leading source of proanthocyanidin (1).
This particular polyphenol is what makes your mouth pucker and feel dry when you drink grape juice or red wine.
However, it is also responsible for many of the health benefits found in grapes and grape seed extract (2).
Some people assume that grape seed extract also contains resveratrol, which is another potent antioxidant found in grapes.
Resveratrol is found mainly in grape skins, while the particular antioxidants in grape seed extract are found only in the seeds (3).
While these antioxidants perform similar functions, grape seed extract does not contain resveratrol.
The grape seed extract is effective because its powerful polyphenols reduce oxidative stress, which is a leading cause of many chronic health problems.
The proanthocyanidins in grape seed extract are responsible for building oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs).
The grape seed extract is available in many forms.
You should always read the label carefully, before taking this supplement.
It is generally well-tolerated.
However, you should talk with your doctor before taking it, if you are on any medications.
Taking up to 2,000 milligrams each day can help many conditions and support your overall health.
You may require a smaller dose for specific needs.
Talk with your physician about your correct dosage.
Most supplements, whether in tablet or capsule form, contain between 120 and 400 milligrams of grape seed extract.
Most commercially available products contain a standardized concentration of proanthocyanidins, which is usually 95%.
Read the label carefully, so you know how much of these antioxidants you are getting in each dose.
This herbal supplement is also available in liquid and bulk powder forms.
Some eye creams and other face products may also contain grape seed extract but are more likely to contain grapeseed oil, which is different.
The grape seed extract is much more highly concentrated than other types of grape seed products, such as oil or flour.
While grapeseed oil does contain some healthy fats and fat-soluble vitamins, it has much far fewer antioxidants than the concentrated extract.
It is used primarily in cooking and skincare.
Grape Seed Extract’s Health Benefits
The high antioxidant levels found in grape seed extract have made it a subject of considerable medical research over the past four decades.
Many clinical, animal, and cell studies have proven the health benefits of this herbal supplement.
We will describe the current medical research that supports the use of grape seed extract to improve your health.
Improves Your Heart Health
By reducing oxidative stress and combatting damage, grape seed extract has many benefits for your overall heart health and function.
It can help control blood pressure, lower your risk of heart disease or stroke and improve your heart health in many other ways.
One of the benefits of grape seed extract is that it can reduce blood pressure (6).
Among those with insulin resistance, another risk factor for heart disease, this effect is even more substantial (7).
These results have been substantiated many times (8).
Grape seed oil can reduce blood pressure because of its high concentrations of not only OPC but also linoleic acid, another polyphenol.
This compound improves blood circulation, by protecting and strengthening vessels and arteries.
These compounds also reduce damage from oxidative stress and enhance the production of nitric oxide (9).
Oxidative stress and elevated levels of inflammation are associated with an increased risk for heart disease since the oxidation of certain types of cholesterol leads to the build of arterial plaque, known as atherosclerosis.
Grape seed extract helps reduce this risk, by blocking the oxidation of so-called “bad” cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol, in the vessel (10).
Improves Symptoms of Diabetes
Among the other significant benefits of grape seed extract is its ability to lower blood sugar levels, while also controlling other factors that contribute to diabetes, including cholesterol and triglycerides (16).
Extract of this plant has also been effective at reducing insulin resistance, which can regulate blood sugar levels and restore healthy levels of both insulin and sugar to the blood (17).
Cell studies using grape seed extract showed that this supplement stopped the absorption of carbohydrates, by inhibiting certain digestive enzymes which break down complex carbs.
When this enzyme is reduced, your body absorbs less sugar from these carbs, which stabilizes blood glucose levels after high-carb meals (18).
In animal trials, subjects with diabetes who were treated with grape seed extract were also protected against lung problems (19), brain damage (20), heart disease (21), as well as the bladder (22) and kidney damage (23).
A common symptom of diabetes is nerve pain due to neuropathy, and animal trials showed that this supplement can also help prevent this (24).
Improves Brain Function and Reduces Degeneration
In addition to protecting your physical health, grape seed extract can help to protect your neurological health and function.
As we age, our brains cells naturally die, and our cognition slows.
Certain disorders, like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, accelerate this decline, which results in memory and cognition problems, as well as causes increased stress and depression.
As a natural antioxidant, grape seed extract can help reduce the oxidative stress that contributes to neurodegeneration.
In one clinical trial, elderly patients experienced a reduction in depression as well as lower stress levels, while also having improved cognition (25).
Alzheimer’s is caused by free radical damage.
This results in protein mutations in the brain.
The compounds in grapes, as well as other berries, contain polyphenol antioxidants which can protect against this damage and reduce the cognitive decline that is caused by this cellular degeneration (28).
Animal trials have shown that grape seed extract reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s in several ways.
This includes boosting memory (29), preventing the mutation of certain proteins in the brain (30) and stopping the damage caused by free radicals in the areas of the brain responsible for memory (31).
Can Reduce Cancer Risk
In addition to keeping your heart and brain healthy, grape seed extract can also help protect you from certain types of cancer.
For example, in a 2012 study with over 35,000 participants, using grape seed extract was shown to reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer by over 40 percent (32).
Similar results were seen in a large-scale study involve leukemia (33).
In animal trials, this herbal supplement reduced skin cancer rates, by blocking the oxidative damage that causes this disease (34).
If you do find yourself with cancer, grape seed extract can help you reduce the harmful effects of the most common treatments used to treat this disease, while also helping these treatments work more effectively (39, 40).
By providing a high concentration of antioxidants, grape seed extract can help block damage from free radicals that are part of both chemotherapy and radiation therapy (41).
Helps Fight Infections
There are several ways that grape seed extract can help protect you from infection.
A grape seed extract has been shown to help fight Candida albicans, which is a common yeast that results in many different health problems.
Candida overgrowth can cause digestive problems, thrush, vaginal yeast infections, and invasive candidiasis, which infects your bloodstream and organs.
The flavonoids in this herbal supplement are effective at fighting this parasitic fungus.
A 2014 study showed that these compounds could help to reduce Candida overgrowth after just five days of treatment (44).
In cell studies, grape seed extract also inhibited the growth of Escherichia coli and Bacillus cereus, which can cause dangerous gut infections as well as Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
These are significant causes of common soft tissue infections in hospitals (45).
Many of these bacteria can cause considerable damage or even death.
In one study, this plant was even able to fight antibiotic-resistant MRSA (46).
Enhances Weight Loss
Evidence on the use of grape seed extract to boost weight loss is mixed.
However, there are some promising results regarding this supplement’s potential to enhance fat burning, which can, indirectly, affect weight loss.
The most effective dosage to produce an effective and consistent response is not known.
Therefore, more research on this effect is needed to draw any final conclusions.
Protects Kidney and Liver Function
The antioxidants in grape seed extract can also protect and enhance the function of your liver and kidneys.
This can protect your overall health in several ways.
In one clinical trial, patients with kidney disease saw improvements in overall kidney function, while taking this supplement (49).
Your liver processes fats and removes toxins and wastes from the body.
Grape seed oil can reverse fat building in those suffering from fatty liver disease (52), while also protecting it from damage caused by other sources.
These can all impair liver function.
A grape seed extract has been more effective than other forms of antioxidants in protecting the liver (58).
Protects Male Reproductive Health
This is likely due to its ability to block aromatase enzymes, which convert androgens into estrogens (61).
Prevents Hair Loss
While further research is needed to confirm these results, preliminary studies indicate that grape seed’s antioxidants may be beneficial in reducing hair loss and actually supporting the growth of new hair (62).
The compounds in this supplement stimulate hair follicles, which promotes new growth and prevents continued hair loss (63).
Improves Bone and Joint Health
Because grape seed extract has anti-inflammatory properties, it can help to treat disorders and conditions that affect joints and bones.
This includes rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune disorders that destroy bone and connective tissues and cause pain.
Reducing these molecules can protect joints from disease, including osteoarthritis, thereby reducing joint degeneration and pain (66).
In addition to protecting against inflammation, grape seed extract can also improve the synthesis of collagen and enhance bone growth and density (67).
When this supplement is added to calcium supplementation, it can enhance the effects and lead to increased bone strength and mineral content (68).
Asthma and seasonal allergies can affect your ability to breathe well.
Both of these conditions result from inflammation and an autoimmune response.
This can relieve asthma symptoms.
By blocking the release of inflammatory markers, including histamine, they can also reduce allergic reactions like those seen with seasonal allergies (71).
Reduces Inflammation in the Digestive System
Inflammation in the digestive system, along with oxidative stress, is the cause for many autoimmune disorders of the digestive system, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
The antioxidants in grape seed extract can help to lower this inflammatory response and reduce the symptoms of these bowel diseases (72).
The grape seed extract is effective at restoring the microbiome of the digestive system (73), while also reducing levels of TNF-a, IL1B, and IL-6, which are inflammatory markers that are common in these types of diseases (74).
Protects Skin and Heals Wounds
The use of antioxidants has been a staple of skincare for decades since they can reduce the damage done to the skin by free radicals.
In addition to reducing the signs of aging and improving the complexion, these same antioxidants can also promote wound healing.
Grape seed extract applied to wounds was shown to increase healing time, by increasing the production of vascular endothelial growth factor, which contributes to the body’s natural healing process (75).
Similar results were seen in clinical trials involving patients recovering from surgery (76).
In addition to promoting skin healing, grape seed extract also protects skin from sun damage and the effects of aging (77).
Protecting against UV damage from the sun can also reduce your risk of developing certain types of skin cancer (78).
This supplement can help to improve your skin’s appearance, by reducing spots and improving skin discoloration, whether due to aging or sun damage (79).
Other Possible Benefits
As researchers learn more about the benefits of grape seed extract, there are new and promising results that offer hope for future applications.
For example, early research has shown that the compounds found in grape seed extract can help to treat or prevent tooth decay, relieve diabetic retinopathy, treat chronic venous insufficiency, improve edema and help treat hemochromatosis.
More research on these conditions and their response to this extract is needed.
However, the cell and animal trials in these applications are promising.
Precautions and Interactions
For most people, using grape seed extract results in very few, minor side effects.
The most common include headache, dizziness, stomach ache, nausea, and sore throat.
It is safe for most people to take this supplement in dosages up to 800 milligrams per day.
Because the compounds in grape seed extract can lower blood pressure, you should talk with your doctor before taking this, if you are already on medication for hypertension.
This supplement can also increase the effects of blood-thinning medications.
Grape seed extract does affect the health and function of the liver, which is where medications are processed before entering the bloodstream.
Therefore, if you take any medications, you should talk to your doctor about taking this supplement.
It is particularly important if you take medicines for seizures, depression, or infections caused by fungi or bacteria.
Let your doctor know that you are taking grape seed extract before taking those drugs.
The influence of grape seed extract on the liver may also interfere with the absorption of iron.
If you are anemic or take iron supplements, consult your physician before taking the supplement.
Taking Vitamin C with grape seed extract can enhance iron absorption, as can taking this supplement several hours before or after iron supplements.
Grape seed extract’s effects on pregnancy, breastfeeding or children have not been thoroughly evaluated.
It is, therefore, recommended that people in these vulnerable groups refrain from taking this supplement until more is known about the possible effects.
Grapes have long been considered a superfood for their primary health benefits.
The polyphenols and other antioxidants found within the seeds of this fruit are one of the reasons why they are so good for your health.
Grape seeds, when dried and processed, produce an extract that is exceptionally high in proanthocyanidins.
These are potent antioxidants that can combat cell damage, fight disease and improve your health.
Among the many benefits of grape seed extract is its ability to reduce blood pressure, lower blood glucose levels, prevent cognitive decline and reduce your risk of many kinds of cancer.
This supplement also helps improve your kidney and liver health, promotes healthy skin and helps you lose more weight.
Taking grape seed extract can help you fight many kinds of infection, prevent hair loss and also protect your joint and bone health.
This herbal supplement is well-tolerated with very few side effects.
It can be taken by most people without problems.
If you are considering taking grape seed extract, talk with your doctor about any medications you currently take.
This is because the antioxidants in grape seeds can interfere with the absorption of some medicines by the liver.
If you want to give your body a boost and improve your overall health and well-being, adding grape seed extract to your healthcare regimen is an excellent choice.
By fighting the effects of aging and oxidative stress, you can enjoy improved heart and brain health and overall enhanced well-being.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
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