Monday, 23 March 2015

Grape seed

Grapes are native to Asia near the Caspian Sea, but were brought to North America and Europe around the 1600s. This plant's climbing vine has large, jagged leaves, and its stem bark tends to peel. The grapes may be green, red, or purple.
Among other beneficial effects, the active compounds in grape seed {Grape Seed Oil, Grape Seed Extract, muskat) are believed to have antioxidant properties. In fact, a recent study of healthy volunteers found that supplementation with grape seed extract substantially increased levels of antioxidants in the blood. Antioxidants are substances that destroy free radicals {damaging compounds in the body that alter cell membranes, tamper with DNA (genetic material), and even cause cell death}.
Today, Naturopathic health care professionals use standardized extracts of grape seed to treat a range of health problems related to free radical damage, including blood sugar regulation problems, heart disease, and cancer. Studies in laboratories, animals, and people lend some support to these uses.
Flavonoids found in red wine have been reported to protect the heart. They may inhibit the oxidation of LDL ("bad") cholesterol. (LDL oxidation which can lead to hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis). Studies have demonstrated a relationship between flavonoid intake (from foods) and reduced risk of death from coronary heart disease.
The Mediterranean diet is comprised of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, and moderate, daily wine consumption. In a long-term study of 423 patients who suffered a heart attack, those who followed a Mediterranean diet had a 50 - 70% lower risk of recurrent heart disease compared with controls who received no special dietary counseling. Some researchers believe that some of the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet are due to flavonoids found in red wine. (Another well-known theory along these lines is called "The French Paradox." The belief is that drinking wine protects those living in France from developing heart disease at as high a rate as those living in the United States, despite the rich fatty foods they eat.)
Others speculate that the healthful effects of moderate wine consumption are due to its alcohol content and not its flavonoid content. If the flavonoids are contributing to heart protection, then grape seed extracts offer an important alternative to alcohol, particularly given the down sides of drinking alcohol (see below). A third concept is being proposed by a group of researchers who believe that the beneficial effects of wine may be triggered by a complex interaction of alcohol and flavonoids. As the controversy of which ingredient in wine is the most important continues, both grape seed extracts and red wine continue to be promoted for heart health. In addition, several test tube and animal studies confirm that antioxidants from grapes offer cardioprotection in their own right.
It is also important to note that the use of alcohol is not advocated by the American Heart Association and other organizations because of the potential for addiction and the other serious repercussions, such as motor vehicle accidents and the development of hypertension, liver disease, breast cancer, and weight gain. If you do drink red wine, you should have no more than 2 glasses (20 g ethanol) per day.

Proported Uses

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Burns
  • Cancer prevention
  • Constipation
  • GI disorders
  • High cholesterol
  • Wound healing

Mechanism of Action

Vitamin E, flavonoids, linoleic acid, and compounds called procyanidins {also known as condensed tannins, pycnogenols, and oligomeric proanthocyanidins or OPCs} are highly concentrated in grape seeds. These healthful compounds can also be found in lower concentrations in the skin of the grape. Procyanidins are also found in grape juice and wine, but in lower concentrations.
Procyanidins, subunits of proanthocyanidins, from V. vinifera seeds have been shown to have antioxidant activity and to alter capillary permeability in animal models. GPSE has protective effects on doxorubin-induced cardiotoxicity. Cardioprotective effects theoretically come from its ability to modulate anti-apoptotic genes and modify molecular targets such as DNA damage and repair, lipid peroxidation and intracellular calcium homeostasis.
Procyanidins also inhibit xanthine oxidase activity and non-competitively inhibit the proteolytic enzymes collagenase and elastase and the glycosidases hyaluronidase and beta-glucuronidase. Polyphenolic substances from grape seeds have been shown to inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutans and glucan formation from sucrose, which may aid in the prevention of dental caries. Seed tannins may stimulate cell renewal by interfering with mucosal proteins. Resveratrol is another of grape's healthful compounds which are related to procyanidins and found mainly in the skins.
Free radicals occur naturally in the body, but environmental toxins (including ultraviolet light, radiation, smoke, certain prescription and non-prescription drugs, and air pollution) can also increase the number of these damaging particles. Free radicals are believed to contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of health problems, including heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants found in grape seeds can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.
Resveratrol has gained much popularity as an antioxidant supplement

Adverse Reactions

Reported: None.


Cytochrome P450: Grape seed extract has been shown to inhibit cytochrome P450 isoenzymes, therefore may affect serum concentrations of certain medications metabolized by the same enzyme. Warfarin (Coumadin): due to its tocopherol content, GSE may theoretically enhance the activity of warfarin

Clinical Summary

Obtained as a by-product of wine production, grape seeds are ground to produce grape seed oil. Anecdotally, grape seed oil and grape seed extract (GSE) have been used as a laxative, antacid, cholagogic agent, in treating burns, ulcers, and as a hand cleanser. Studies of grape seed proanthocyanidin extract (GSPE) in mice have shown effectiveness in minimizing doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity as well as other drug-induced nephrotoxicity, pulmonary toxicity.
In vitro studies have shown GSPE to have synergistic anti-cancer effects with doxorubicin. GSPE also inhibits atherosclerosis. Small human trials have shown possible efficacy in decreasing LDL and increasing total serum antioxidant activity. Additionally, topical application of GSPE has been shown to accelerate wound contraction and closure. But orally administered GSPE was not effective for breast induration following radiotherapy in patients with breast cancer.
No side effects have been reported for GSPE consumption, however, because of its interference with cytochrome P450, it may affect the metabolism of certain drugs.


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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Any product mentioned is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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