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Grape Seed Extract and its Benefits

Grape Seed Extract which is high in Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPC’s or PCO’s) is powerful antioxidant which can reduce the damage done by free radicals, strengthen and repair connective tissue, and promote enzyme activity. OPC’s can also help moderate allergic and inflammatory responses by reducing histamine production.

OPCs also act as natural anti-histamines, block inflammation and boost the immune system. They also reportedly affect the metabolic enzymes that regulate neurotransmitters, and they appear to inhibit the breakdown of norepinephrine and dopamine.  Some recent studies have shown that ADD is associated with a faster than average reuptake (breakdown) of dopamine, so perhaps this is the most important factor in how OPCs help.  

Some expensive supplements, derived from pine bark, contain 85% proanthocyanidin while grapeseed extract contains 95% proanthocyanidin. These nutrients are water-soluble and free of side effects since excess is simply excreted in the urine. Another positive effect of these flavonoids in the body is the sparing of consumption of vitamin C.

PCO help with increasing intra cellular vitamin C levels, decreasing capillary permeability and fragility, scavenges oxidants and free radicals and uniquely binds to collagen in order to protect it from destruction.

Grape Seed Extract provides cardiovascular protection by preventing oxidation of lipoproteins (LDL), making them less likely to stick to blood-vessel walls. It also makes the linings of the arteries more resistant to damage and helps control excessive clotting. GSE strengthens the capillaries ensuring a good supply of oxygen and nutrients to the brain and throughout the body. It also affects enzymes that influence blood-fluid balances and therefore may be helpful in lowering blood pressure.


People have been using grapes since ancient times not only for eating and drinking but for medicinal purposes as well. Different parts of the plant including the grapes themselves, the leaves, and the stems, have been used. It was not until the 1970’s when a French biochemist isolated from grape seed the substance called oligomeric proanthocyandin (OPC). This substance was said to improve blood circulation and to have some protective properties against heart disease. Experimental data does suggest that grape seed also has anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties and prevents the formation of plaque in the arteries. All of this information is great for cardiovascular health, but there have been no findings to indicate that it can aid in weight loss or exercise.

Grape seed extract has also proven to be valuable in the treatment of inadequate blood flow in the capillaries and veins. Small studies have shown increased capillary strength using as little as 50 milligrams/day, and increased venous blood flow using 150 milligrams/day.

Certain components within the skin–collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid–participate in keeping it healthy. PCOs help keep these substances in good shape by blocking enzymes that might disrupt their chemical structure. In this way, grape seed extract may be useful in treating inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis. Its flavonoids also inhibit allergic reactions that can generate such skin problems as eczema.

People who stare at computer monitors for extended periods may benefit from taking grape seed extract. The findings of one recent study indicate that 300 mg, taken daily, will ease eyestrain and enhance perception of contrast after just 60 days.

Grape seed extract contains a special class of water-soluble bioflavonoids called proanthocyanidins. These compounds help fight free radicals, the loose oxygen particles that can damage cells. Studies have shown the antioxidant activity of these specific bioflavonoids is 20 to 50 times greater than Beta-Carotene or Vitamins C and E at scavenging specific free radicals.

The proanthocyanidins found in grape seed extract have also been shown to help promote the structural strength of blood vessels, help stabilize collagen, and maintain elastin. Collagen and elastin are two proteins found in connective tissue

that support organs, joints, and muscles. By nourishing blood vessel walls and performing other renewing functions, grape seed extract helps promote healthy blood pressure levels, heart health, and a proper inflammation response.

  • Always use a grape seed extract preparation that’s standardized to contain 92% to 95% PCOs.
  • For general antioxidant and cancer-prevention use: Take 100 mg each morning. Smokers should take 100 mg three times a day.
  • For the majority of other ailments: Take 100 mg three times a day.