The benefits of grape seed extract are one of most exciting among the family of natural healers. Indeed, the seeds of the fruit of the vine, which was once considered waste after the juice was pressed and extracted out for wine, has now become the source of a very popular nutritional supplement.
Grape seed extract harbors potent antioxidant properties known as procyanidolic oligomers, or PCOs. These substances are considered a class of unique phytochemicals known as flavonoids. In fact, in terms of bioavailable antioxidant activity, clinical studies suggest that PCOs may be as much as fifty times more potent than the well renowned antioxidant vitamin E, and twenty times more potent than vitamin C. Nevertheless, it is said to be more powerful than these two vitamins.
Antioxidants are disease-fighting substances that mop up the continuous onslaught of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that damage cells as they travel through the body and are thought to be instrumental in causing cancer, aging, and many degenerative diseases, including atherosclerosis and heart disease if left unchecked.
Moreover, PCOs is said to have the ability to enhance vitamin C's activity, thus it increases this vitamins effectiveness within the body. Perhaps, one of the most impressive benefits of grape seed extract in its role as an antioxidant is that it is one of the few that can cross the blood-brain barrier, which means it can protect the brain and spinal nerves from free radical damage.
But wait, there's more possible healing benefits of grape seed extract. . .
Grape seed extract may be a heart attack and stroke fighter by protecting the body against atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which is the gradual buildup of plague (deposits made up of cholesterol, other fats, and calcium) that can clog the arteries. In addition, it is thought to help improve blood flow and strengthen the blood vessels and, as such, grape seed extract may be of benefit for people who suffer from heart disease.
Anyone suffering from vascular disorders, such as varicose veins and numbness or tingling sensations due to poor circulation may find the benefits of grape seed extract of interest. In many Western European countries, grape seed extract is widely used to treat and prevent various vascular (vessel) disorders that are likely to benefit from increased blood flow such as varicose veins and numbness or tingling sensations due to poor circulation, which is a common complication of diabetes.
You may have noticed that grape seed extract can be found in some cosmetic products claiming to make skin more supple and reduce fine lines. This is because it is believed that OPCs protect and strengthen collagen and elastin.
If you suffer from allergies this may be the supplement for you. Grape seed extract is believed to block the release of histamines - substances that are instrumental in allergic reactions, and it also inhibits the release of prostaglandins, body chemicals that can generate inflammation during an allergic response.
Other possible benefits of grape seed extract include:
- Cancer fighter
- Halt or slow progression of macular degeneration and cataracts
- May improve night vision
It's important to note that the primary clinical indications for grape seed extract - or more specifically PCOs are the treatment of venous and capillary disorders, including capillary fragility, varicose veins, and venous insufficiency. Capillary fragility is characterized by easy bruising. In fact, good clinical studies have shown positive results in the treatment of these conditions.
In addition, we believe grape seed's antioxidant powers exuberates excellence and, as such, it is definitely a supplement worth checking out, especially since we live in a highly toxic environment.
Grape Seed Extract Side Effects and Precautions
Indeed, the possible benefits of grape seed extract are substantial. However, you should always speak to a physician before taking dietary supplements.
Based on limited research, grape seed extract is safe when used as directed. Individuals allergic to grapes should not take grape seed supplements. People who are taking prescription drugs should always speak to physician before using grape seed extract supplements, especially if you are taking antiplatelet or anticoagulants, including aspirin. Pregnant and nursing women should not take this supplement.
Mild side effects may include abdominal pain, cough, headache, nausea, and sore throat.
Cindy Amorin is the chief editor of Nutritional-Supplement-Educational-Centre.com, an information-rich site that discusses nutritional, dietary, and herbal supplements and their potential therapeutic value. Visit us on the web for info on what you need to know on choosing a quality grape seed extract supplement at our Benefits of Grape Seed Extract page.