The Health Benefits Of Grape Seed Extract (GSE)

       We are all familiar with eating grapes as food and drinking wine made from fermented grapes. What may not be as familiar is the health benefits derived from the seeds of grapes.  The seeds of grapes contain polyphenols of which the most prevalent is oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPC's.  OPC’s make up over 90% of Grape Seed Extract (GSE).

       Research has shown the benefit of OPC’s to be extraordinary.  OPC’s have been shown to protect the cardiovascular system, maintain proper blood sugar levels, promote cognitive health, fight inflammation and inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors.

       In a 2016 study published in the medical journal called Medicine, an analysis was done of 16 randomized controlled trials involving 810 people with high blood pressure or an elevated risk thereof.  This study found that those taking Grape Seed Extract on a daily basic significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

       In a 2016 study published in the January issue of the medical journal PubMed, it was found that 29 adults with high blood pressure who were taking 300 mg of GSE daily, lowered systolic blood pressure by 5.6% and diastolic blood pressure by 4.7% after just six weeks.

       In a 2009 study published in PubMed, it was concluded that GSE, over a four week period, significantly improved markers of inflammation and glycaemia (blood sugar levels) and oxidative stress in obese Type 2 diabetic subjects at high risk of cardiovascular events.  

       Animal studies have found that adding GSE to the diet can increase bone density, mineral content, and bone strength.  It was also found that GSE significantly reduced pain, bony spurs, and joint damage in osteo-arthritic mice while also improving collagen levels and reducing cartilage loss.

       In a 2011 study published in PubMed Central, it was found that antibodies to certain food borne viruses were reduced when GSE was used to treat the virus. This study showed that GSE, in reducing the body’s need to produce antibodies to a virus, was indeed killing off the virus.   

OPC’s and cancer:

       OPC’s have been shown to be effective in inhibiting the growth of cancerous tumors and in causing the death of existing cancer cells.  What is even more notable is that OPC’s have been shown to kill cancer stem cells.  Cancer stem cells are a small sub-population of cells within cancerous tumors having the capability of escaping the cancer killing ability of chemotherapy and other treatment modalities for cancer.  If left unharmed, cancer stem cells can cause the recurrence of cancer in the body months or years after a cancer has seemingly been cured.   

       A study published in February of 2018 in the journal Scientific Reports, revealed several pathways by which a form of French grape seed OPC’s called VX1 prevented cancer, suppressed tumor formation, inhibited tumor activity and targeted stem cells in colorectal cancer.  Other studies have shown GSE to be effective in stopping the growth of breast and prostate cancer.

OPC’s and ORAC value:

       ORAC means Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity.  It is a measurement of the antioxidant capacity of food.  Antioxidants are substances that control the activity of oxygen free radicals.  Oxygen free radicals are formed when electrons associated with one oxygen atom leave that atom and join the electrons of another oxygen atom.  This causes the molecules containing the atoms to become unstable and act as free radicals.

       While free radical activity is a necessary part of metabolism and serves many important functions in the body, the numbers of free radicals often get out of hand and produce excessive oxidative activity which leads to numerous health problems. OPC’s from grape seed extract excel all other antioxidants found in foods that control the activity of free radicals.

       While OPC’s are found in a variety of foods, the levels found in grapes, especially red grapes, are very high.  Because of this, grapes have become a major source for the extraction of OPC's and the making of supplements containing OPC's.  However, some GSE products in the market place have high molecular weight polymeric proanthocyanidins (tannins) which are labeled as OPC’s.  Such OPC’s” are not well absorbed.  We recommend the tannin free French Grape Seed Extract from the company EuroPharma (Terry Naturally). This GSE product contains vary absorbable low molecular weight OPC’s and has a very high ORAC rating. This product also contains the VX1 form of OPC’s used in the cancer research cited above.  

       At milk ‘N Honey we carry the Terry Naturally brand of French Grape Seed Extract VX1 called “Clinical OPC.”  We have this product in both 150 and 400 milligram capsules.