Grape seed extract is commonly used in dietary supplements, to promote better health, although more research is needed to fully understand the benefits. Grape seed extract contains resveratrol and flavonoid polyphenols, both of which are considered to be beneficial for the human body.
Researchers continue to study these compounds for their potential role in the prevention and treatment of various diseases.
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Grape seed extract is taken from pulverized seeds of grapes that are used to make red wine. It is also derived from white grape varietals. In addition to flavonoids, it contains linoleic acid, oligomeric proanthocyanidin complex, and vitamin E.
What are Antioxidants?
Both flavonoid polyphenols and resvatrol are thought to act as powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are beneficial to the body because they can block the activity of free radicals, a byproduct of normal metabolic processes in the body that are believed to contribute to disease. Free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules, can come from external sources including environmental toxins such as pollution and smoking. Because grape seed extract contains flavonoid polyphenols and resvatrol, it is believed by some researchers that it may prevent cell damage caused by free radicals. Preliminary studies have shown some positive antioxidant effects from grape seed extracts; however, more research is needed.
Ancient Uses of Grapes
Grapes and their leaves have been used for therapeutic purposes for centuries, beginning with the ancient Greeks. Much of Europe also included the various parts of grapes for traditional therapies.
Is Grape Seed Extract Good For You?
Clinical studies have shown that grape seed extract is safe to ingest and that it is typically well tolerated in doses containing between 100 mg and 300 mg. Some evidence shows that grape seed extract might be effective in lowering cholesterol, reducing symptoms of chronic venus insufficiency (poor circulation), injury-related inflammation, and complications related to diabetes, such as nerve and eye damage. Some people believe that it might even reduce symptoms associated with the natural aging process. While grape seed extract is touted for its healing capabilities, more research is needed to understand the effects on the body. Even though clinical studies suggest that possible health benefits exist with the use of grape seed products, more studies are needed to confirm these findings.
Grape Seed Supplements
Dietary supplements containing grape seed extract are available in both tablet and capsule forms, and they are sold by a variety of manufacturers. The selection includes products containing as little as 50 mg, a mild supplement, and as much as 300 mg, an extra-strength version. As with many supplements, these products are free from gluten, dairy, sodium, sugar, and artificial flavorings and colors.Each product comes with dosage directions including how many tablets or capsules to take as well as how often they should be taken. Depending on the strength of the grape seed supplement, the directions might indicate to take a single capsule or possibly two capsules.
Since studies evaluating possible interactions that might occur between products containing grape seed extract and prescription medications, over-the-counter medicines, and dietary supplements are generally lacking, anyone considering taking dietary supplements or herbs should consult with their physician first. Grape seed extract may interact with anticoagulants (blood thinners) and Phenacetin. Additionally, pregnant and lactating women should avoid taking this or any supplement without the advice of their physician. Some components in grape seed extract can cause side effects including nausea, itching dizziness, stomach upset, diarrhea, headache, sore throat, cough, and rash. It is recommended to read product labels and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider before adding grape seed extract into your diet.