In your practice, the supplement regimens of your patients tend to be pain-relieving or joint-strengthening formulas.
For many other health concerns, however, there is a botanical being rediscovered by leading research and perched on the edge of a renaissance: grape seed extract.
That may sound surprising. After all, grape seed extract’s popularity seemed to peak about 20 years ago. But this burst of fame was short-lived. Grape seed suddenly fell by the wayside, and often out of favor with practitioners. It was as though it had stopped being effective.
The problem was that many of the supplements were not really grape seed extract at all—even though they were labeled as such. As it happens, grape seed extract is one of the most adulterated supplements on the market. And for those extracts that really were from grape seed, many of them from China were so riddled through with tannins that they couldn’t be effectively absorbed and used by the body. But they flooded stores with poor quality products at a low price to gain market share. So it’s not surprising that even though your patients may have tried grape seed extracts in the past, those particular supplements were not effective.
Consider this study, published in the journal Food Chemistry: After testing 21 commercially available grape seed extracts, it found that 50 percent of them were either subpotent, or contained no grape seed extract at all. And six of those supplements were entirely peanut skin extract; considering the potential for allergic reactions, this isn’t just cost-cutting—it’s dangerous.1
Disturbing as this news is, it doesn’t mean you have to rule out recommending grape seed extract altogether. Grape seed extract—as long as it is a source of absorbable oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs)—is quite valuable and potentially life-saving.
Along with guidance from practitioners, patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), may find additional relief with grape seed extract. Grape seed proanthocyanidins have been shown in a variety of studies to quell the processes that set up joint-destroying inflammation.2
For example, a Saudi Arabian study found that grape seed OPCs moderated the activity of certain immune-regulating T-cells to stop inflammatory markers associated with RA.3
Laboratory study also has shown that grape seed OPCs stop the bone-damaging effects of autoimmune arthritis, promote osteoblast differentiation, and suppress osteoclast differentiation to get the natural process of building bone back on track.4
The mechanisms of action noted in RA research show some overlap and some differences, but nonetheless, grape seed extract appears to reduce autoimmune-related inflammation in ways that could be especially useful to patients and practitioners to treat this hard-to-control condition. Aside from assisting your patients who struggle with acute and chronic pain issues, grape seed extract may help individuals with cardiovascular concerns and other serious threats to their health.
An Italian clinical study showed that grape seed extract improved blood pressure at both lower and higher dosages (150 mg and 300 mg, respectively). At the higher dosage level, it normalized blood pressure numbers in 93 percent of participants.5
Aside from reducing blood pressure, grape seed extract protects blood vessel walls from free-radical damage and prevents low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol oxidation that leads to blocked arteries.6 Another placebo-controlled clinical study showed that grape seed extract improved lipid profiles and reduced oxidized LDL cholesterol in just eight weeks, which may be great news for patients who are taking prescription statins and dealing with their side effects.7
In the case of preventing tumors, a tannin-free, low molecular weight French grape seed extract is at the forefront of research at Baylor University in Texas. Their scientific research found that it eliminated cancer stem cells—the “seeds” left behind that can lead to cancer recurrence, even after chemotherapy.8
Additionally, this extract reduced the number of live cancer cells by 70 to 80 percent. There are more cancer-related studies underway on this particular grape seed, and the results are sure to be equally exciting.
Grape extracts and grape seeds are being investigated as part of a new frontier of natural medicines and brain health. Due to their own natural inflammation-fighting and free-radical scavenging effects, along with their interaction with gut microflora, they may help older patients preserve their memory and prevent age-related cognitive impairment. By reducing tau protein and amyloid-beta plaque aggregation, grape seed OPCs could be one of the next important botanicals, along with curcumin, to protect the delicate circuitry of the brain.9-11
If your patients search for grape seed extract on their own, they may be challenged to find an effective one—even after reading the labels. That’s because technically, tannins and low molecular weight OPCs are both proanthocyanidins and can be labeled as such. But grape seed tannins are not well absorbed. They can’t provide the full potential of the extract.
This is a great opportunity to steer them in the right direction. After all, grape seed extract has astounding value—provided the OPCs are properly absorbed. Recommending a tannin-free, French grape seed extract with low molecular weight OPCs can help your patients rediscover its true potential for vibrant health in body and mind.
Terry Lemerond is a natural health expert with over 45 years of experience. He has owned health food stores, founding dietary supplement companies, and formulated more than 400 products. A published author, Terry appears on radio, television, and is a frequent guest speaker. He can be contacted through euromedicausa.com.
1 Villani TS, Reichert W, Ferruzzi MG. Chemical investigation of commercial grape seed derived products to assess quality and detect adulteration. Food Chem. 2015;170:271-80.
2 Kim SH, Bang J, Son CN, Baek WK, Kim JM. Grape seed proanthocyanidin extract ameliorates murine autoimmune arthritis through regulation of TLR4/MyD88/NF-κB signaling pathway. Korean J Intern Med. 2016 Jun 3. doi: 10.3904/kjim.2016.053. [Epub ahead of print].
3 Ahmad SF, Zoheir KM, Abdel-Hamied HE, et al. Grape seed proanthocyanidin extract has potent anti-arthritic effects on collagen-induced arthritis by modifying the T cell balance. Int Immunopharmacol. 2013;17(1):79-87.
4 Park J-S, Park M-K, Oh H-J, et al. Grape-seed proanthocyanidin extract as suppressors of bone destruction in inflammatory autoimmune arthritis. PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e51377.
5 Belcaro G, Ledda A, Hu S. Grape seed procyanidins in pre- and mild hypertension: a registry study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:313142.
6 Fitzpatrick DF, Bing B, Maggi DA, Fleming RC, O’Malley RM. Vasodilating procyanidins derived from grape seeds. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002;957:78-89.
7 Razavi SM, Gholamin S, Eskandari A, et al. Red grape seed extract improves lipid profiles and decreases oxidized low-density lipoprotein in patients with mild hyperlipidemia. J Med Food. 2013;16(3):255-8.
8 Toden S, Goel, A. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins inhibit Hippo-YAP pathway and prevent colorectal cancer stem cell formation. Poster presented at: The American Association for Cancer research (AACR) meeting; April 16-20, 2016; New Orleans.
9 Asha Devi S, Sagar Chandrasekar BK, Manjula KR, Ishii N. Grape seed proanthocyanidin lowers brain oxidative stress in adult and middle-aged rats. [ITAL]Exp Gerontol.[/ITAL] 2011;46(11):958-64.
10 Crane PK, Walker R, Hubbard RA, et al. Glucose levels and risk of dementia. [ITAL]N Engl J Med.[/ITAL] 2013;369(6):540-8.
11 Wang D, Ho L, Faith J, et al. Role of intestinal microbiota in the generation of polyphenol-derived phenolic acid mediated attenuation of Alzheimer’s disease β-amyloid oligomerization. [ITAL]Mol Nutr Food Res.[/ITAL] 2015;59(6):1025-40.