GRAPE SEED EXTRACT
- Its Properties and Benefits
Article Reprinted With Permission by J.E. GROGAN, B.Ed., C.N.
Grape Seed Extract (GSE) is a rich source of biologically active compounds. Complexes of bioflavinoids including polyphenols, catechins, proanthocyanidins, gallic acid and others occur in large quantities in GSE and exert powerful biological benefits. GSE is water soluble, extremely well absorbed, well tolerated, and is free of toxicity.
GSE has potent antioxidant properties. It is about 20 times stronger than vitamin C and 50 times stronger than vitamin E in its antioxidant effect. GSE has the ability to increase vitamin C absorption and improves transport into the body's tissues. It prevents vitamin C from being used too rapidly, thus prolonging vitamin C's benefits.
GSE is an excellent detoxifier of highly damaging toxic free radicals. GSE can protect the cells including the all-important genetic material from free radical induced oxidative damage. Radiation toxicity and the skin damaging effects of ultraviolet-B radiation from the sun can also be minimized by GSE. The overall antioxidant potential in the blood and tissues are improved with GSE as are the advantages of having an increased antioxidant status. GSE, because of its unique ability to improve antioxidant defenses, shows a broad range of biological benefits to a variety of cells, tissues, and organs.
1.) Connective Tissue
The most abundant protein in the body is collagen, which maintains the strength and integrity of tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Collagen also supports the structure of the skin, blood vessel walls, and is the "cement" that holds tissues together. GSE has the unique ability to bind to and support collagen structures; directly preventing collagen breakdown and destruction. Strengthening the collagen fibers improves the integrity of all connective tissue. GSE also protects these tissues during periods of inflammation and infection. It prevents the release of pro-inflammatory substances that can increase or promote inflammation of the body's tissues. By acting as a powerful anti-inflammatory, swelling of injured tissue can be minimized reducing pain and speeding up the healing process. GSE can prevent and relieve excessive fluid build up (edema) especially in the lymph glands. This aids in clearing waste material from the site of injury or infection. GSE may also have benefit for the synovial fluid in the joints.
2.) Cardiovascular System
GSE has multiple cardiovascular protective properties. GSE prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol- a key risk factor in the development of cardiovascular disease. GSE can inhibit the enzyme xanthine oxidase, which can damage blood vessel walls. GSE prevents the breakdown of the elastic fibers in the blood vessel walls. It also strengthens the capillaries. Platelet stickiness is reduced with GSE. It has a beneficial effect similar to aspirin, which reduces the possibility of platelet "clumping" and platelet adhesion to blood vessel walls. This prevents inappropriate clot formation- another risk factor for heart disease and stroke. GSE can increase microcirculation in the brain and heart and increases both arterial and venous blood flow in the arms and legs. By strengthening the blood vessel walls an especially positive effect on varicose veins can be seen. GSE can lower high blood pressure by inhibiting an enzyme that can cause blood pressure elevations and by reducing adrenaline stress reactions that can trigger high blood pressure.
GSE can reduce glare, night blindness and improve the function and sensitivity of the retina in nearsighted people. GSE may also reduce cataract formation, the risk of macular degeneration and glaucoma. GSE can stabilize the blood vessels in the eye, prevent micro bleeding and reduce retinopathy-especially in diabetics.
GSE has strong anti-histamine properties and as such can diminish allergic reactions. GSE can reduce the overreaction or hypersensitivity response in those who are allergic. This is done by GSE's ability to stop or reduce the release of cellular pro-allergic and pro-inflammatory substances.
GSE has a strong anti-ulcer action in part by reducing excessive histamine release in the stomach lining. GSE protects the connective tissue of the mucous membranes. By binding to those connective tissue sites, it can increase healing in both gastric and duodenal ulcers. GSE exerts anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic effects and offers protection from cancer causing chemicals. GSE can also bind to cell membranes and prevent the attachment of cancer causing hormones to the cell. GSE stabilizes the blood brain barrier protecting the brain from toxins. Because of its anti-inflammatory effect, GSE can reduce the pain and swelling of arthritic tissue. GSE demonstrates a large number of beneficial properties to many of the body's tissue. The most important aspect of GSE benefits may well lie in disease prevention. The risks of degenerative disease development can drop considerably by maintaining an optimum level of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cell protecting potential. GSE can contribute significantly to maximize and maintain this health building status.