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Grape Seed Extract



Background

Since ancient Greece people have used grapes, grape leaves, and sap for health purposes. Grape seed extract was developed in the 1970s.

Today, grape seed extract is used as a dietary supplement for various conditions, including for venous insufficiency (when veins have problems sending blood from the legs back to the heart), to promote wound healing, and to reduce inflammation.

Grape seed extract contains the antioxidant compound oligomeric proanthocyanidin (OPC), which has been studied for a variety of health conditions.

OPCs are found in extracts of grape skin and seeds, which are by-products of the wine industry. Grape seed extract is available in capsules and tablets and as a liquid.

How Much Do We Know?

There are a few well-controlled studies of people using grape seed extract for health conditions.

What Have We Learned?

Some studies suggest that compounds in grape seed extract may reduce edema (swelling) and help with symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, but the evidence isn’t strong.

Grape seed extract may have some heart benefits, including lowering systolic blood pressure and heart rate. The lower heart rate may cause the decrease in systolic blood pressure. The extract had no effect on lipid levels such as cholesterol or C-reactive protein, an indication of inflammation in your arteries.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is supporting preliminary research on grape seed extract for Alzheimer’s disease and also for hereditary hemochromatosis, when the body’s iron levels are too high. The National Cancer Institute is supporting preliminary studies on grape seed extract for preventing prostate, lung, and colon cancer.

What Do We Know About Safety?

Grape seed extract is generally well tolerated when taken in moderate amounts. It has been tested safely for up to 14 weeks in studies of people. It’s possibly unsafe if you have a bleeding disorder or are going to have surgery or if you take anticoagulants (blood thinners), such as warfarin or aspirin.

Keep in Mind

Tell all your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

Key References

  • Clouatre DL, Kandaswami C, Connolly KM. Grape seed extract. In: Coates PM, Betz JM, Blackman MR, et al., eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Informa Healthcare; 2010:391-401.
  • Feringa HH, Laskey DA, Dickson JE, et al. The effect of grape seed extract on cardiovascular risk markers: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2011;111(8):1173-1181.
  • Fine AM. Oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes: history, structure, and phytopharmaceutical applications. Alternative Medicine Review. 2000;5(2):144-151.
  • Grape. Natural Medicines Web site. Accessed at naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/ on April 10, 2015. [Database subscription].
  • Kar P, Laight D, Rooprait HK, et al. Effects of grape seed extract in type 2 diabetic subjects at high cardiovascular risk: a double blind randomized placebo controlled trial examining metabolic markers, vascular tone, inflammation, oxidative stress and insulin sensitivity. Diabetic Medicine. 2009;26(5):526-531.

-NIH



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