Grape Seed Extract: What is it?
The grape (Vitis vinifera) has been used both as a food source, and medicinally for more than 6,000 years. Used by both the ancient Greeks and European folk healers, grapes have been used as a natural remedy for inflammation, pain, to stop bleeding, skin and eye diseases.1
What is grape seed extract? – Grape seed extract contains a combination of nutritional plant phenols, antioxidants, and proteins taken from the seed of the grape. While there are several methods of extraction, crushing the seeds and pulling out the nutritional components with ethanol is one of the most common. This extracted substance is then formed into liquid, powder, or tablets to be packaged and sold as supplements.2
Throughout this article you will learn more about the benefits of grape seed extract, possible side effects, and where you can buy it.
Grape Seed Extract Benefits
The top grape seed benefits include:
- Natural Testosterone Support
- Anti-Cancer Activity
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Natural Skin Remedy
- Weight Loss Support
- Inhibit Candida Overgrowth
- Alternative ADD Therapy
- Antioxidant Activity
- Natural Bad Breath Remedy
- Alleviate ED Symptoms
- Promote Hair Growth
- Antiviral Effects
If you’re wondering, “what is grape seed extract good for?”, you’re not alone. Grape seed extract has grown in popularity over the past decade, thanks to the numerous touted benefits of grape seed extract. Grape seed extract uses include the treatment of testosterone imbalance, high blood pressure, skin conditions, hair loss, and more.
Below you will find a more in depth break down of these grape seed extract health benefits, and the scientific data to support each claim.
Grape Seed Extract Testosterone Support
Aromatase is a natural enzyme that promotes the production of estrogen from androgen hormones, such as testosterone. Having too much aromatase in your body can cause a testosterone depletion, which is why aromatase blockers work well as testosterone enhancing agents.3
Grape seed extract estrogen blockers are said to work because of its naturally high levels of procyanidin, an aromatase inhibitor. While there are currently no human studies to prove the testosterone enhancing effects of grape seed extract, using a grape seed extract estrogen blocker has the potential to protect testosterone and other androgen hormones from converting to estrogen.4
Grape Seed Extract Cancer Research
The same estrogen blocking component provides the possibility for a grape seed extract cancer treatment. In cases of breast cancer, a 2006 study found that the aromatase suppressing abilities of grape seeds could be a potential alterative treatment for hormone dependant breast cancer.4
In a 1999, researchers investigated possible interactions between grape seed extract and cancer cells. The team tested grape seed extract on breast, lung, stomach cancer cells, along with leukemia cells. Results found that the extract inhibited the growth of cancerous tissue. These findings suggest that grape seed extract lung cancer and grape seed extract prostate cancer treatments could be possible in the future, along with a variety of other cancer treatments.5
Grape Seed Extract Blood Pressure Benefits
There could also be a case for the use of grape seed extract for blood pressure treatment, according to a 2009 study. Researchers gave grape seed extract to subjects suffering from metabolic syndrome, resulting in high blood pressure and blood sugar. Following 4-weeks of treatment, systolic and diastolic blood pressures were significantly reduced. This provides evidence of a possible grape seed extract hypertension treatment.6
Grape Seed Extract for Skin
While the study of grape seed extract and skin treatments is still under preliminary investigation, a 2005 study noted significant resveratrol levels in grapes. Resveratrol is a natural phenol which has proven useful as an anti-inflammatory and anti-aging ingredient. This provides a platform for grape seed extract anti aging and grape seed extract wrinkles treatments.7
There is also anecdotal evidence that suggests that grape seed extract for broken capillaries and grape seed extract dark circles under eyes treatments are successful. The anti-inflammatory properties of the plant also make grape seed extract psoriasis and grape seed extract eczema research worth exploring.
Grape Seed Extract Weight Loss Support
Grape seed extract benefits weight loss, according to a 2003 study in which grape seed extract showed lipase inhibiting effects. Lipase is an enzyme which accelerates fat hydrolysis in the body. The result of this lipase inhibition is a limitation of fat absorption and a decrease in the circulation of fatty acids in the body.2
Grape Seed Extract Candida Benefits
In a 2007 animal study, researchers tested the effect of grape seed extract on candida, a fungal infection that can cause thrush and yeast infections. Researchers found that it worked to inhibit the growth of the fungus, and may be an alternative to Amphotericin, a drug used for fungal infections that has been shown to cause adverse effects.8
Grape Seed Extract ADD Support
In 2011, a study was investigated alternative treatments for attention deficit disorder (ADD) in children. One solution came in the form of pycnogenol, a compound found in grape seeds. Pycnogenol has been shown to improve attention, concentration and reduce hyperactivity in children after four weeks of supplementation.9
Pycnogenol also contains flavonoids, catechins, and phenols which may help reduce oxidative stress, a proposed risk factor of ADD.9
Grape Seed Extract Pancreatitis Research
Grape seed extract contains notable antioxidant levels that may help protect the body from potentially harmful free radicals.
Grape seed extract has been thought to be beneficial for the prevention of numerous illnesses, including pancreatitis. In a 2000 study, researchers discussed the improvement of pancreatitis in trials where grape seed extract supplements were used.11
Grape Seed Extract for Bad Breath
While there are no human studies to prove the usefulness of a grape seed extract bad breath formula, anecdotal evidence supports the use of grape seed oil for bad breath.
Bad breath is thought to be caused by the natural formation of yeast and other bacteria in the mouth. Grape seed extract has proven useful against yeast such as Candida albicans.8
Grape Seed Extract for Erection Problems
Many erection problems stem from low-testosterone, a condition which occurs naturally as men age, or for other medical reasons. Grape seed extract for men may improve testosterone levels by decreasing the aromatase in the body, which converts testosterone to estrogen.3
Grape seed extract also contains pycnogenol, a component that increases the nitric oxide production necessary for smooth muscle relaxation during an erection.10
In a 2003 study, researchers tested l-arginine and pycnogenol on men aged 25-40 who experienced erectile dysfunction (ED). After three months, 92.5% of men experienced a normal erection, signifying the possibility of l-arginine, grape seed extract, and pycnogenol as alternative treatments for ED.10
Grape Seed Extract Hair Loss Remedy
In a 1998 an animal study, researchers found that grape seed extract increased the number of hair follicles on subjects by approximately 230%. This was attributed to proanthocyanidins in the grape seeds.12
With grape seed extract, nitric oxide may also play a role hair growth. According to a 2006 study, researchers found that nitric oxide may improve root hair formation.13
Grape seed extract reviews on hair growth are generally positive. However, users have noted results may take months to achieve.
Grape Seed Extract Norovirus Remedy
The effects of grape seed extract on human norovirus was tested in a 2012 study. Results indicated that at 0.2 and 2mg/ml, grape seed extract was successful in decreasing the norovirus infection rate.14
Grape Seed Extract Side Effects
Although grape seed extract is a natural substance, some individuals may experience minor side effects. The most common side effects of grape seed extract are dizziness, itchy skin, nausea, cough, sore throat, skin rash, and headaches.1
While limited grape seed extract dangers have been reported, in rare cases users may experience an adverse reaction due to allergies or combining medications. For example, grape seed extract contraindications may occur if the grape seed supplements are mixed with blood thinners or medications which are processed in the liver.1 For patients taking these medications, talk to your health care provider prior to supplementation to avoid the risk of grape seed extract overdose.
When it comes to grape seed extract safety for expecting mothers, the use of grape seed extract in pregnancy is not recommended.1
How to Take Grape Seed Extract
There are a variety of ways to take a grape seed supplement. Some of the most common varieties include grape seed extract liquid and grape seed extract powder.
Each product should provide instructions and recommended grape seed extract dosage. For example, an organic grape seed extract liquid is typically applied with a dropper at a dosage of about 150 mg – 300 mg per day. Liquid grape seed extract may also be easily added to juice to diminish the taste.
While no one supplement is better than another, some are designed to treat specific symptoms. For example, grape seed extract spray is conveniently designed to reach and treat bad breath in a single spray, while grape seed pills can be taken as a daily supplement for preventative purposes.
Where to Buy Grape Seed Extract
You can purchase regular and organic grape seed extract through many health and wellness shops, online retailers and select grocery stores. According to user reports of grape seed extract, best brand names include GNC Herbal Plus Grape Seed Extract, Nutribiotic GSE Liquid Concentrate, Olympian Labs Grape Seed Extract, and Resveratrol Supplement.
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- Ehrlich, S. (2015). Grape seed. University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved on November 28, 2017 from – View Reference
- Moreno, D. A., Ilic, N., Poulev, A., Brasaemle, D. L., Fried, S. & Raskin, I. (2003) Inhibitory effects of grape seed extract on lipases. 19(10), 876-879. DOI: 10.1016/S0899-9007(03)00167-9
- Hong, Y. & Chen, S. (2006). Aromatase inhibitors. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1089, 237-251. DOI: 1196/annals.1386.022
- Kijima, I., Phung, S., Hur, G., Kwok, S. L. & Chen, S. (2006). Grape seed extract as an aromatase inhibitor and a suppressor of aromatase expression. Cancer Research. 66(11). DOI: 1158/0008-5472.CAN-06-0053
- Ye, X., Krohn, R. L., Liu, W., Joshi, S. S., Kuszynski, C. A., McGinn, T. R., … & Bagchi, D. (1999). The cytotoxic effects of a novel IH636 grape seed proanthocyanidin extract on cultured human cancer cells. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. 196(1-2), 99-108. Retrieved on November 28, 2017 from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1006926414683?LI=true
- Sivaprakasapillai, B., Edisiringhe, I., Randolph, J., Steinberg, F. & Kappagoda, T. (2009) Effect of grape seed extract on blood pressure in subjects with the metabolic syndrome. 58(12), 1743-1746. DOI: 10.1016/j.metabol.2009.05.030
- De la Lastra, C. A. & Villegas, I. (2005) Resveratrol as an anti-inflammatory and anti-aging agent: Mechanisms and clinical implication. Molecular Nutrition. 49(5), 405-430. DOI: 1002/mnfr.200500022
- Han, Y. (2007) Synergic effect of grape seed extract with amphotericin B against disseminated candidiasis due to Candida albican Phytomedicine. 14(11), 733-738. DOI: 10.1016/j.phymed.2007.08.004
- Pellow, J., Solomon, E. & Barnard, C. N. (2011) Complementary and alternative medical therapies for children with Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Alternative Medicine Review. Retrieved on November 28, 2017 from http://www.biomedsearch.com/article/Complementary-alternative-medical-therapies-children/277520360.html
- Stanislavov, R. (2003) Treatment of erectile dysfunction with pycnogenol and l-argenine. Retrieved on Nov 28, 2017 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/12851125/
- Bagchi, D., Bagchi, M., Stohs, S., Das, D. K., Ray, S. D., Kuszynski, C. A., Joshi, S. S. & Pruess, H. G. (2000) Free radicals and grape seed proanthocyanidin extract: importance in human health and disease prevention. DOI: 10.1016/S0300-483X(00)00210-9
- Takahashi, T., Kamiya, T. & Yokoo, Y. (1998) Proanthocyanidins from grape seeds promote proliferation of mouse hair follicle cells in vitro and convert hair cycle in vivo. Acta Derm Venereol. 428-432. Retrieved on November 28, 2017 from http://www.eeose.com/contentImages/research/zipFiles/Arastirmalar_0c9652.pdf
- Lombardo, M. C., Graziano, M., Polacco, J. C. & Lamattina, L. (2006) Nitric oxide functions as a positive regulator of root hair development. Plant Signaling Behavior. Retrieved on November28, 2017 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2633697/#__ffn_sectitle
- Li, D., Baert, L., Zhang, D., Xia, M., Zhong, W., Coillie, E., …& Uyttendaele, M. (2012) Effect of Grape Seed Extract on Human Norovirus GII.4 and Murine Norovirus 1 in Viral Suspensions, on Stainless Steel Discs, and in Lettuce Wash Water. Appl Environ Microbiol, 78(21), 7572-7578. DOI: 1128/AEM.01987-12
- Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Erectile dysfunction. Retrieved November 29, 2017 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/erectile-dysfunction/symptoms-causes/syc-20355776