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Grape Seed Extract

Botanical name(s):

Vitis vinifera

Other name(s):

oligomeric proanthocyanidins, OPC, pycnogenol

General description

The grape has a long history of medicinal uses. Ancient Egyptians treated asthma with grapes. More recently, sap from grape branches was used to treat skin issues and scrapes.

Modern medicine has found benefits in grape seeds and red wines. Research suggests that wine has protective ingredients. These include resveratrol and certain tannins. Proanthocyanidin, a compound found in the seed of grapes, may also be protective like red wine.

Grape seed extract is made from the crushed seeds of grape plants. It contains proanthocyanidin. This is a phenolic chemical belonging in the larger group of plant phytochemicals. They are called flavonoids. Specifically, it belongs to a subgroup of tannins. Proanthocyanidin may protect the blood vessels and cardiovascular system. It does this by stopping the breakdown of collagen. This reduces the risk of a heart attack and stroke. It may also have an antioxidant effect. This may lower the risk of certain cancers.

Grape seed extract is used to treat heart issues. These include atherosclerosis.

Medically valid uses

At this time, there aren’t any known uses for grape seed extract.

Unsubstantiated claims

Please note that this section reports on claims that have not yet been substantiated through scientific studies.

The tannins in grape seed extract are active antioxidants and antimutagenics. Because of this, grape seed extract may protect the lining of blood vessels and other tissues from damage. Grape seed extract may protect from damage from free radicals, oxidized LDLs, and other harmful parts of metabolism.

Grape seed extract is said to reduce the production of histamine. This may reduce the severity of nasal allergies. It may also reduce the premature destruction of vitamin C. Grape seed extract may also act as a smooth muscle relaxant in blood vessels.

Studies have found that grape seed extract may help symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency. This is when veins have problems sending blood from the legs back to the heart. Grape seed extract may also reduce leg swelling (edema).

Dosing format

Grape seed extract comes in oral capsule form. Follow the instructions on the package for the right dose.

Grape seed oil is also an aromatic oil. It’s used for salad dressings. It contains little proanthocyanidin.

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

Grape seed extract doesn’t cause any side effects. There are also no known food or drug interactions with it.

Children and women who are pregnant are breastfeeding shouldn’t use grape seed extract. This is due to the lack of safety data on it.

Online Medical Reviewer: Poulson, Brittany, RD, CDE
Online Medical Reviewer: Wilkins, Joanna, R.D., C.D
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2016