Grape seed extract (GSE) is derived from the ground-up seeds of red wine grapes and the grape juice industries. It contains oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC’s) and other polyphenolic compounds. Grape seed extract also contains antioxidants that may help prevent many diseases. Grape seed extract comes only from grapes; there are no other food sources. It comes in tablet, pill and capsule forms and is taken for a variety of ailments, including heart problems.
If you enjoy eating grapes there is no reason to spit out the seeds as there may be some health benefits from eating them, though they taste bitter.
Doses of between 150 -300 milligrams per day have been prescribed and there are no known higher safe doses. Grape seed extract is generally considered safe although side effects may include dry itchy scalp, headache, dizziness and nausea. Researchers are studying grape seed extract for a number of illnesses and conditions, including cancers, with inconclusive results at present.
People allergic to grapes should avoid grape seed extract. If you are taking any medicines on a regular basis do consult your doctor before you start taking grape seed extract as it could interact with other drugs. Due to lack of evidence about the safety of grape seed extract it should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women and children.
Avoid confusion: grapefruit seed extract is derived from the seeds, white membranes and pulp of Grapefruit. It can be found in liquid and powder forms and is mostly used in antibacterial products.
Grapes Seed Extract Research
The majority of human trials with grape seed focus on antioxidant activity and usefulness in treatment of blood vessel disorders.6 Three human clinical trials showed that a grapeseed extract improved poor circulation in legs and feet.14,15,16 Another study suggests grapeseed extract can reduce post-operative swelling faster than placebo in face-lift operations.17
Data on antioxidant chemicals in grape juice show that it has cancer-protective effects18 and may protect against oxidative stress and reduce the risk of free radical damage and chronic diseases.19 Grape skin antioxidant properties may be used to slow the progression of pathology in Alzheimer’s disease.20 Vitis vinifera, with other active ingredients, may be a possible new treatment option for improving signs and symptoms in adults with mild to moderate atopic dermatitis.21
Grapes are nourishing fruits rich in antioxidants, especially the skin and seeds.1,2,9 The antioxidants may have anticancer properties and beneficial cardiac properties.1,8 Grapes, seeds, and leaves have been used in Ayurvedic (Indian) and traditional medicine as a diuretic, to soothe the digestive tract, improve circulation, control swelling and bleeding, relieve constipation and diarrhea, and cool and detoxify the body.1,2,4,5,10 Grapes are known as the “queen of fruits” because of cleansing properties.4 A “grape cure” or grape fast involves eating three to six pounds of grapes to detoxify and improve liver function.1,5 Vine leaf-based medicines are traditionally used to treat fragile blood vessels, water retention, and hemorrhoids.9 They can be used topically for eye discomfort due to irritants.5,9 Ashes of burned branches were used as a primitive form of toothpaste.11
Grape seed extract has been used for vision and eye problems, varicose veins, circulation problems, easy bruising, and sports injuries.7 High in iron, it is said to help build blood or improve anemia.4 It has been experimentally used for heart health, diabetes, and degenerative diseases.7 In Asia, grape seed extract has been employed to treat a variety of skin conditions for centuries.12 Grape seed extract has been an ingredient in anti-aging creams for several years.12,13
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