Heart, Age related illnesses | December 5, 2016 | Author: Naturopath
Have you heard that red wine is good for? Yes that’s right, red wine in moderation contains a mixture of proanthocyanidins (PC’s) referred to as oligomeric procyanidin complexes (OPC’s). PC’s are bioflavonoids that are naturally found in fruits (e.g. grapes, peaches and pears), vegetables, nuts, beans and bark (e.g. pine). However, PC’s extracted from the seeds of grapes are a particularly rich source and is considered the superior form.
Free radical damage is strongly associated with a wide range of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and cancer. Grapeseed extract is a rich source of antioxidants, and due to its myriad of other actions in the body can be used for a broad range of conditions. Grapeseed can also be used in people who are in good health and would like to take preventative measures to avoid degenerative diseases.
Grapeseed PC’s have significant free radical scavenging properties, preventing free radical damage in the body. It has also demonstrated greater antioxidant benefits when compared to vitamin C, E and beta-carotene. Grapeseed extract prevents the loss of vitamin E and allows radicals of vitamin E to revert back to their antioxidant form. A randomized control trial found that 400mg/day of catechin-rich grapeseed extract consumed for one month resulted in a positive result on oxidative markers in obese adults even more than resveratrol (an antioxidant found in the skin of grapes).
Considering that grapeseed is a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and has anti-platelet activity (stops the blood from clumping), it may provide protection from cardiovascular disease.
A study conducted on obese type 2 diabetic subjects who were at a high risk of cardiovascular events supplemented with grapeseed extract over 4 weeks. After this period of time grapeseed extract significantly improved markers of inflammation and glycaemia.
It has also been shown to reduce diastolic and systolic blood pressure and LDL and total cholesterol. Having high cholesterol and blood pressure are both risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Components in grapeseed extract have been shown to strengthen the collagen matrix, accelerate the wound healing process and increase skin hydration. Grapeseed extract can also be applied topically to the skin. A study using a cream containing 2% grapeseed extract found it increased endothelial growth factor and contributed to fast closure of surgical wounds. It also has antimicrobial properties so can prevent infection in the wound. Grapeseed extract has been shown to reduce sunburn by enhancing sun protection factor when applied topically. When taken internally as well as applied to the skin it added another 13% reduction in skin inflammation.
It also plays a role in strengthening the walls of capillaries, preventing permeability and increasing their resistance. It is a common ingredient in beauty products for women and is usually found in combination with other antioxidants such as zinc and vitamin c.
In a large study involving 4729 women who experienced venous insufficiency due to hormone replacement, grapeseed extract decreased the sensation of “heavy legs” in just over half the participants by day 45 and nearly 90% of subjects experienced in improvement in 90 days. In another study it also improved other symptoms of venous insufficiency such as pain and itchiness. It can also be effective for various symptoms of fluid retention such as abdominal swelling and weight gain in women who suffer these symptoms as part of premenstrual syndrome.
People with diabetes should consider grapeseed extract as it helps protect the eyes from diabetic retinopathy.
It helps to increase visual acuity and muscle and eye tone. However, it can also be helpful for people who stare at a computer and suffer from eye strain.
Interestingly, grapeseed extract has been shown to help our eyes adapt to and from bright light. In the ageing population PC’s from grapeseed have been linked to a decreased incidence of cataract development and helps slow its progression.
Some in vivo studies have identified grapeseed extract as reducing age-related oxidative DNA damage, improving memory and enhancing cognitive abilities. It has been suggested as a potential adjuvant therapy in Alzheimer’s disease due to its ability to protect critical proteins in the brain that are affected in this disease.
Many in vitro studies have shown the PC’s from grapeseed extract to supress the growth of tumours and are cytotoxic against a range of cancer cells including breast, lung, prostate, colon and gastric adenoma cells.
Grapeseed extract displays a protective mechanism to the organs of the body against chemical and drug induced toxicity especially the liver and kidneys.
It is also capable of protecting against the cardiotoxic and neurotoxic side-effects of chemo/radiotherapy.
Grapeseed extract’s main action in the body is as an antioxidant but it also prevents the blood from clotting, reduces inflammation, improves circulation and supports collagen and capillary health.
It can also help in people with diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
Grapeseed extract is used to treat eye strain and when applied topically can be used to enhance wound healing.
Braun L, Cohen M (2015). Herbs and natural supplements: An evidence based guide 4th edition. Churchill Livingstone, Australia
De Groote D, et al. Effect of the intake of resveratrol, resveratrol phosphate, and catechin-rich grape-seed extract on markers of oxidative stress and gene expression in adult obese subjects. Ann Nutr Metab 2012;61(1):15-24
Kar P, et al. Effects of grape seed extract in Type 2 diabetic subjects at high cardiovascular risk: a double blind randomized placebo controlled trial examining metabolic markers, vascular tone, inflammation, oxidative stress and insulin sensitivity. Diabet Med. 2009 May;26(5):526-31
Hemmati AA, et al. The topical effect of grape seed extract 2% cream on surgery wound healing. Glob J Health Sci. 2014 Oct 29;7(3):52-8
Hughes-Formella B, et al. Anti-inflammatory and skin-hydrating properties of a dietary supplement and topical formulations containing oligomeric procyanidins. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2007;20(1):43-9
Bagchi D, et al. Protection against drug and chemical-induced multiorgan toxicity by a novel IH66 grape seed proanthocyanidin extract. Drugs Exp Clin Res. 2001;27(1):3-15