Grapes are native to the area of Asia near the Caspian Sea and were brought over to North America and Europe. Grapes and their seed oil extract have been used since the beginning of human history for various medicinal and nutritional uses.
Other parts of the grape plant have held medicinal value as well. European folk healers used the sap of grapevines to help treat skin and eye diseases. At times, grape leaves have been used to help stop bleeding and inflammation. Dried grapes (raisins) have been used to help relieve constipation and thirst, while unripe grapes have been used to treat sore throats. And grape skin extracts are a source of resveratrol. Perhaps, though, the most significant part of this fruit is the seed extract.
Grape Seed Extract as an Antioxidant
Grape seed extract uses are wide and varied. Similar to green tea, the active ingredients in grape seed extract are the oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs). The importance of the proanthocyanidins is that they have strong antioxidant activity and are water soluble and highly bio-available. In fact, grape seeds are one of the most potent antioxidants found in nature, and can be extracted to concentrations as high as 95% OPC's, which is more than any other antioxidant extract.
Some studies have shown that the antioxidant level found in grape seed extract is 20 to 50 times greater than that found in beta-carotene or vitamins C and E (keeping in mind that they do not replace the specific antioxidant capabilities of vitamin C and E).
OPCs clearly possess remarkable antioxidant properties. Their effects on reducing free radical damage and oxidative stress suggest that they may be particularly helpful in reducing the risk of cardiovascular issues and a number of the chronic issues associated with aging. Although the majority of the studies conducted on OPCs have been done in cell cultures, test tubes, and animals, there are some human studies, and the results are extremely promising.
However, even with all of that antioxidant power, above all else, grape seed extract is known as a defender of the circulatory system. It improves peripheral circulation, revives declining capillary activity by up to 140%, and increases vascular response by some 82%. It repairs varicose veins and aids in the prevention of bruising. If you have hypertension, it may also protect your blood vessels from damage caused by elevated blood pressure.
It is commonly credited with helping reduce symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, a condition where blood pools in the legs, which can cause pain, swelling, visible veins and fatigue. It is also helpful in treating edema and swelling caused by surgery or injury. According to the University of Maryland, “one double blind, placebo controlled study found that breast cancer patients who took 600 mg of grape seed extract daily after surgery for 6 months had less edema and pain than those who took placebo. Another study found that people who took grape seed extract after experiencing a sports injury had less swelling than those who took placebo.”
Grape Seed Extract for Anti-Aging
In addition, grape seed extract is synergistic with vitamin C, vastly increasing vitamin C activity and strengthening collagen activity -- including in the connective tissue of the arterial wall and the skin.
Grape Seed Extract for Heart Health
The other key ingredient in grape seed extract -- procyanidolic oligomers, commonly called PCOs -- are believed to help with blood circulation and strengthen blood vessels. The PCOs in grape seed extract have been shown to help with heart disease by promoting healthy blood pressure levels and overall heart health as well as reducing inflammation.
Grape Seed Extract for Eye Health
Grape seed extract has also shown promise in helping with various eye conditions such as retinopathy, diabetes related eye issues, reducing eye stress caused by bright lights, macular degeneration, and cataracts. It also helps improve blood flow to eye vessels.
More Natural Health Benefits of Grape Seed Extract
In addition to these health benefits, grape seed extract has also been used to help with the following issues…
- skin diseases
- hair growth
- preventing cognitive decline
- improving bone strength
- healing wounds
- helping with ADHD
Where to Find Grape Seed Extract
As you can imagine, the benefits we’ve covered are just some of the reasons you’ll find grape seed extract as an ingredient in Jon Barron’s Ultimate Antioxidant formula. In fact, you can find grape seed extract as a dietary supplement in many forms including capsules, tablets, and liquid extracts.
Learn more about natural antioxidants.