Some of you may have heard of the amazing compound made from the skin of grapes, Resveratol. But as we are slowly finding out grapes have more secrets hiding under their skin. Inside grapes are tiny seeds which are now being considered as the most beneficial part for our health, instead of the grape skin as we once thought.
The compound found in grape seeds is called proanthocyanidins or oligomeric proanthocyanidins complexes (not to be confused with anthocyanins, which are a similar compound found in the skin of dark colored fruits). This compound is an extremely potent antioxidant and has been shown to have a plethora of health benefits, which you need to know about.
Grape Seed Extract Benefits
The proanthocyanidins have all the conventional antioxidant benefits ranging from decreased inflammation, to increased recovery, to stopping free radicals in the body from causing unwanted harm. But the benefits go beyond this, and grape seed extract is currently being researched for its ability to treat:
☐ High cholesterol
☐ Macular degeneration
☐ Poor extremity circulation
☐ Nerve damage
Grape seed extract is exceptionally good at healing wounds, according to a study published in the journal, Free Radical Biology and Medicine. The researchers conducting the study stated, ‘we have provided firm evidence to support that topical application of GSPE [Grape seed proanthocyanidin extract] represents a feasible and productive approach to support dermal wound healing’. Although they have yet to figure out how this process works, they do know proanthocyanidins increases the production of vascular endothelial growth factor, a compound important to healing wounds.
Another important function of this antioxidant is its ability to help prevent skin cancer. Using hairless mice, researchers were able to slow the function of skin tumor formation when given an appropriate dose of grape seed extract. Proanthocyanidins can also improve bone strength when combined with calcium and has been used as a treatment for bone debility caused by low levels of calcium in individuals. When it comes to cardiovascular benefits, this antioxidant is superior to vitamin A, C and E and has the potential to protect blood vessels from being damaged, effectively lowering blood pressure in individuals who have chronically high BP.
I could go on for another page about the other benefits of grape seed extract including its ability to treat tooth decay, improve vision, reduce aging, stopping cognitive decline with age and many more we are finding out every day. But I will leave that up to your own research, the rest of this article will be dedicated to how to dose grape seed extract and whether you should supplement with it or simply eat grapes.
Grape Seed Extract Powder
When it comes to supplementing with grape seed extract there are a few options, but only some will work for your situation. The first and seemingly simplest way to get your antioxidants from grapes is to eat more grapes, easy enough right?
Well actually it depends. When it comes to getting anthocyanins or resveratrol from the skin, eating grapes is probably the best way to do it, but not for proanthocyanidins. Similar to watermelons and other seeded fruit, we are slowly getting rid of seeds in grapes as their taste is very bitter. Most grapes sold now are seedless, removing them of this particular antioxidant.
It is possible to get the seeds on their own to eat, but they have a distinctively bitter taste, which is hard to find enjoyable. The last option is truly the easiest and probably the most cost effective. This comes in the form of the ground up grape seeds in powder form. For those who can’t tolerate something very bitter, this powder also comes in capsule form meaning you can just swallow it as a pill with some water every morning.
Take Home Message
Grape seed extract can benefit almost everybody and luckily it is quite cheap in bulk. There is no recommended daily value for this supplement, but most research suggests consuming between 100-300 milligrams a day is enough to get all the benefits.
One last thing to keep in mind is that some medications could interact negatively with grape seed extract, meaning if you are thinking of adding this to your diet while on any medications please talk to your doctor about it first.