Story at-a-glance -
- Grape seed extract may reduce high blood pressure levels, potentially providing added protection against these health danger
- Grape seed extract may play a role in cancer prevention, bone strength, oral health, healthy blood pressure and more
Grape seed extract contains a high concentration of powerful antioxidants that help maintain blood pressure levels already in the normal range, supporting healthy vessel dilation and blood flow throughout your body.
You may love eating grapes for their sweet yet slightly tart flavor, but you may be unknowingly throwing their healthiest feature straight in the trash – their seeds. While you cannot exactly munch on these seeds or add them to your meals, there is a way to reap their benefits, and that is through grape seed extract.
What Is Grape Seed Extract?
Just as its name says, grape seed extract is a derivative of grape seeds that are obtained from wine manufacturers. As a supplement, it comes in multiple forms, such as a liquid, tablets and capsules.1
Today, grape seed extract has caught the attention of many people who are seeking to improve their health because of its impressive antioxidant profile that has been linked to a wide range of potential therapeutic properties.
Outstanding OPCs: It’s What Makes Grape Seed Extract Extra Special
The standout component in grape seed extract is the oligomeric proanthocyanin complexes (OPCs) it possesses. Closely related to resveratrol, these are valuable natural plant compounds that are greatly valued for their antioxidant activity. Thanks to OPCs, grape seed extract, in essence, may help destroy free radicals in your body, allowing you to avoid chronic diseases and slow down premature aging.
But that’s not the only reason why OPCs are so incredible – they actually have a host of beneficial body-wide effects, such as the ability to “inhibit lipid peroxidation, platelet aggregation, capillary permeability and fragility, and to affect enzyme systems,” according to a study published in the journal Alternative Medicine Review. Other impressive benefits that OPCs can provide include:2
Grape Seed Extract Can Help Curb High Blood Pressure
In addition to OPC, grape seed extract contains linoleic acid, flavonoids and phenolic procyanidins that help protect and strengthen capillaries, blood vessels, veins and arteries, which can then improve blood circulation. Another one of its exemplary effects is helping manage blood pressure levels.
Considering that about 1 of 3 adults in the U.S., which is equivalent to 75 million people, have high blood pressure, this makes grape seed extract a particularly important component of good health. Plus, high blood pressure can increase your risk for many health problems, such as:
The good news is that grape seed extract may reduce high blood pressure levels, potentially providing added protection against these health dangers. A 2016 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that a beverage containing grape seed extract helped improve blood pressure levels in people with pre-hypertension. The researchers noted that grape seed extract:
“… [S]ignificantly reduced systolic BP (SBP) by 5·6 % (P=0·012) and diastolic BP (DBP) by 4·7 % (P=0·049) after 6 weeks of intervention period, which was significantly different (SBP; P=0·03) or tended to be different (DBP; P=0·08) from Placebo.
BP returned to baseline after the 4-week discontinuation period of GSE beverage. Subjects with higher initial BP experienced greater BP reduction; nearly double the effect size.”
An animal study, which was published a year before the study mentioned above, also came to the same conclusion, noting that just one dose of grape seed extract already improved blood pressure in male hypertensive rats.3
Other Ways Grape Seed Extract Can Boost Your Health
Great things come in small packages, and this true for grape seeds. As more and more research is conducted on grape seeds, the more it becomes apparent that this supplement truly has wide-reaching health benefits. Other areas of your well-being that grape seed extracts can impact include:4
- Wound healing: A study5 found that applying proanthycyanidin extract all over wounds on mice helped boost the healing time.
- Bone strength: Animal studies6 found that this extract helped improve bone formation and strength.
- Oral health: A lab study found that the extract decreased demineralization and boost remineralization of tooth cavities, meaning it can play a role in stopping or reversing early tooth decay.7
- Diabetes: When grape seed extract was used along with exercise, there were improvements in lipid profile, weight loss, blood pressure and other complications seen in diabetics. Researchers noted that this combination can be “a convenient and inexpensive therapeutic approach to diabetic complications.”8
- Candida infection: Grape seed extract’s polymeric flavan-3-ols have been found to attack Candida albicans, therefore helping prevent overgrowth that may lead to yeast infections.
Note: Overloading on Grapes (and Eating the Seeds) May Not Give You the Same Benefits
Some people may opt to snack on grapes instead and consume the seeds, but if you want to obtain the mentioned therapeutic benefits above, you would need to eat a lot of grapes – but this is not advisable, as grapes are high in fructose, which may potentially wreck your health.
You can opt to consume just the seeds, but take note that they are unpalatable because they are very bitter, thanks to the flavonoids, polyphenols and beneficial plant compounds they contain.
Hence, you can simply resort to grape seed and grape seed extract in supplement form. Although there’s no recommended dosage, studies suggested getting anywhere between 100 and 300 milligrams per day. This amount may help you acquire all the benefits of grape seed extract mentioned above – and maybe even more!