Using grapes for medicinal purposes is not new. In fact, whole or parts of grapes have been used for thousands of years. It may even go as far back as the ancient Egyptians.
Grape seeds contain potent antioxidants, which are substances that neutralize and eliminate harmful free radicals. Some research, primarily with animals, indicates that standardized grape seed extracts may be useful for treating health problems related to free radical damage, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC).
Scientific evidence supports the health benefits of grape seed or grape seed extract for the following:
- Heart Health – In a 2009 study of subjects with metabolic syndrome, researchers found that four weeks of treatment with grape seed extract lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Metabolic syndrome is marked by a cluster of health problems (including excess belly fat, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, and inflammation) known to raise your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Bone Health – Including grape seed extract in your diet withcalcium has a beneficial effect on bone formation and bone strength for the treatment of bone debility caused by a low level of calcium. This is according to a study published in the Journal of Musculoskeletal & Neuronal Interactions that investigated the effects of calcium and proanthocyanidins on the bone structure of mice which had been fed a low-calcium diet.
- Cognitive Health – Grape seed extract is veryhigh in proanthocyanidins which some believe could prevent cognitive decline. One study identified a critical role for grape seed proanthocyanidin extract (GSPE) as a neuroprotectant in the hippocampus and in preventing cognitive loss with aging. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is supporting studies on the effect of grape seed extract on Alzheimer’s disease.
- Blood Vessel Health – Evidence indicates a substantial health benefit for patients with chronic venous insufficiency who take grape seed extract, according to the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS). This disorder causes blood to pool in leg veins, leading to leg swelling and fatigue, as well as pain that worsens when walking. Grape seed extract also may be beneficial for treating varicose veins and capillary fragility, although research is not as consistent.