When it comes to nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, there seems to be no shortage of emerging trends. For centuries, people have utilized different fruits, vegetables, roots, and seeds to help with different ailments. One of those tools that have a wide variety of benefits is grape seed extract.
Grape Seed Extract
Grape seed extract is a natural substance rich in antioxidant content taken from grape seeds. Its contents are primarily polyphenols like oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs), a powerful antioxidant responsible for most of the benefits of grape seed extract. Winemakers usually provide seeds taken from grapes used for red wine.
Benefits of Grape Seed Extract
The polyphenols found in this fruit extract have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects for several different areas of the body. Along with increasing antioxidant levels in the body and bloodstream, grape seed extract:
- Counteracts effects of free radicals
- Protects heart tissue and the cardiovascular system
- Promotes a healthy immune system to fight bacterial and viral infections
- Improves bone strength
- Reduces aging effects on the skin
- Reduces inflammation
- Improves cholesterol levels
- Reduces stress and improves cognitive function
- Protects against tissue damage and promotes healing
- Aids in hypertension and liver and kidney function
In those with blood glucose control issues, grape seed extract helps protect against the negative effects of poor blood glucose control. It may improve blood glucose sensitivity, inhibit advanced glycation cell death, and decrease oxidative stress and inflammatory biomarkers.
Grape Seed Extract Side Effects
People generally tolerate grape seed extract well. However, it can act as a blood thinner, so those on blood thinner or blood pressure medications or with bleeding disorders should consult a doctor before starting a nutraceutical with grape seed extract. Grape seed extract could also interact with medicines like aspirin, Advil, and Aleve because of its blood thinning abilities and may reduce iron absorption. Other noted side effects include:
- Sore throat
- Dry or itchy scalp
- Stomach ache
While there has been research conducted to test the benefits and interactions of grape seed extract, more research needs to be done to verify all these claimed effects. However, for patients with health concerns that have been proven to be helped by this fruit derivative, it may be worth starting them on a nutraceutical that includes the antioxidant-packed substance.
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