Hypertension, commonly referred to as high blood pressure, currently affects millions of individuals around the globe. This condition significantly threatens one’s cardiovascular health, increasing the risk of heart attacks and stroke. To target these conditions, modern medicine is beginning to implement the benefits of grapes.
Grape seeds and skins are of greatest interest in terms of their compounds and related effects. While focusing on this beneficial ingredient, there’s a growing interest in grape seed extract’s ability to reduce blood pressure. Studies have reported that polyphenols in grape seeds can improve cardiovascular function, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol.
The newest studies now support the notion that grape seed extract has positive effects on both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. This has increased interest regarding the possible treatment of hypertension through more natural means, reducing one’s reliance on prescription medication.
What Exactly is Grape Seed Extract?
Grape seed extract is a supplement which is considered to be highly safe and effective. It is produced from crushed red grapes, offering high concentrations of antioxidants. Based on research, it’s been confirmed that this extract raises antioxidant levels in the blood, improving various ailments and overall health.
Although beneficial compounds are found throughout the entire grape, the greatest concentration of these compounds is found within the seed. Within grape seed extract, you will benefit from vitamin E, flavonoids, linoleic acid, and even resveratrol which is known for its heart-health properties.
Although it’s mainly been researched regarding its effects on blood pressure, diabetes, and even cancer, grape seed extract has a wide range of benefits. From improving mental clarity to wound healing, lowering cholesterol and preventing tooth decay, this extract offers many benefits with very little risk of adverse effects.
The Connection Between Grape Seed Extract and Blood Pressure
Recent research has supported the notion that grape seed extract can positively impact blood pressure levels, as reported in multiple studies. At the University of California, researchers conducted a double-blind study with previous research in mind.
When grape seed extract was tested amongst individuals who had normal blood pressure, no effects were experienced. Moving forward, researchers in California split participants into three key groups. Within the first group a placebo was given; the second group was given 150 mg of grape seed extract, and group three was given 300 mg of grape seed extract.
Over a four-week period, participants were monitored in order to record results. Within the placebo group, no significant effects were reported. Both groups who received grape seed extract experienced a reduction in their blood pressure levels. Contrary to previous clinical reviews, positive effects were seen regarding both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Across all participants who consumed grape seed extract the average reduction in systolic pressure dropped by 11-12 points and diastolic dropped by 7-8 points.
Benefiting Metabolic Syndrome with Grape Seed Extract
Metabolic syndrome is a term that’s used when describing a combination of conditions, including high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. There’s significant interest regarding grape seed extract in order to improve symptoms of this syndrome, especially those that are suffering from prehypertension. This allows certain individuals to avoid prescription medications which can have multiple side effects.
Researchers from the University of California focused on the reasons why grape seed extract has an effect on this syndrome. It was found that this extract acts as a catalyst to nitrous oxide synthase. The production of this enzyme helps produce eNOS which is known as the good nitrous oxide. When this enzyme is produced, it helps relax arteries, improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure.
These results support specific findings within a study that was conducted a year earlier. When studying muscadine grape extract, most areas failed to yield significant results, except for the positive effects observed regarding brachial diameter when at rest. Once again, these findings suggest that grape seed extract can relax arteries enough to enhance blood flow and reduce overall blood pressure.
Taking Grape Seed Extract to Improve Symptoms of Diabetes
The findings reported from the University of California have sparked significant interest from those in the scientific community, as well as those in various medical fields. These findings suggest that grape seed extract could help individuals suffering from type II diabetes.
Another plus is that side effects from taking grape seed extract are rare and minor which would allow for a more natural and preferable solution. In addition to aiding symptoms of diabetes, if taking grape seed extract continually proves that blood pressure levels could be reduced, this extract may be implemented into mainstream medicine.
Grape Seed Extract for Obesity
Based on the positive effects on symptoms of metabolic disorder, research believes that there may be a dual effect regarding the overall health of patients. For those aiming to prevent diabetes, maintaining a healthy weight is critical. Obesity is one of the greatest risk factors in terms of type II diabetes.
When taking this extract, individuals are able to limit their appetite while reducing the accumulation of fat. Excess fat is generally absorbed and then store in adipose tissue. The phytochemicals found in grapes are what’s believed to reduce this accumulation.
These effects would not only reduce blood pressure but also help target the conditions in which cause one’s blood pressure to increase in the first place. By losing weight, individuals can help reduce instances of hypertension, reducing their risk of heart attack or stroke.
What Side Effects Should I Be Aware Of?
Based on current research and knowledge, side effects of grape seed extract are very limited. There is a specific precaution against breastfeeding and pregnant women. Of course, if you have an allergy to grapes, please refrain from taking this supplement and at this time, it’s also recommended that children should not take this extract.
When symptoms do suffer based on adverse effects, they include a headache, dizziness, stomach ache, sore throat, and an itchy scalp. If you are currently taking any medication, such as blood pressure drugs, NSAId painkillers, blood thinners, cancer drugs, or another other medication, please speak to your doctor about possible interactions.
Not only are users in the nootropic community looking to boost their cognitive abilities, but their overall brain health as well. Luckily, there are some supplements which provide you with both benefits. Grape seed extract is a prime example, as it’s known for its nutritional benefits, as well as its cognitive effects.
Not only does this extract help prevent free-radical brain damage, but it also helps improve one’s memory, while reducing stress and inflammation in the brain. It is also being studied for its potential life extension and anti-aging effects.
Grapes are nothing new, as you have probably eaten them many times before. This nutrient-rich, fruiting berry, has been used for thousands of years. The use of grapes was common in ancient Greece and Egypt, for both nutritional and medicinal purposes. With that being said, it was most commonly used for wine.
We’re used to eating plump, juicy grapes, however, grape leaves also provide benefits. These leaves have been used in order to stop bleeding, minimize pain, and reduce inflammation. Unripe and dried grapes have also been utilized, treating sore throats and constipation respectively.
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What Are the Effects of Grape Seed Extract?
Extracts that are sold today, are typically derivatives from grape seeds. These seeds have a high concentration of flavanoids, vitamin E, linoleic acid, and phenolic OPC’s (which are powerful anti-oxidant). Although you will find the highest concentrations of OPC’s within the seeds, there are lower concentrations in the juice and skin as well.
Due to the effects of grape seed extract, the compounds mentioned above are may be useful for treating a variety of illnesses and diseases. So, how does this extract work? Well, this natural supplement has hundreds of separate components, making it challenging to understand which ingredient creates which specific effect.
With that being said, flavanoids and polyphenols tend to be the most effective and beneficial. These work by providing anti-oxidant effects. They target free-radicals, which have been linked to a number of degenerative diseases, as well as cancer. Not only do these compounds fight off free-radicals, but they also help to remove toxins from the body.
A lot of research has been conducted on resveratrol (a polyphenol found in grapes), which has shown to increase the lifespan of numerous animal species. It has been reported as a compound which has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-oxidant effects. It also helps individuals stabilize their blood sugar, improving their overall cardiovascular health.
What Are the Key Benefits?
When users take grape seed extract, they achieve a number of benefits. Not only does the brain benefit, but multiple organs and internal systems also benefit. Since this supplement helps to reduce bad cholesterol (known as your LDL levels), it helps to protect your heart. It has also been reported as a protector against bacterial infections.
For those that have diabetes, this could be a great addition to your health routine. Considering diabetes can create a number of complications (including issues with one’s cardiovascular and nervous system), grape seed extract can help. By significantly improving both inflammation and fluctuating blood sugar levels, diabetics can help prevent future health complications.
Whether you’re diabetic or not, grape seed extract has been shown to improve one’s blood pressure. It also helps to reduce one’s risk of developing heart disease or type 2 diabetes. All of these systems are interconnected, so improving one system (for instance your cardiovascular health), can help improve other systems as well.
As mentioned above, grape seed extract is a powerful anti-oxidant. By removing oxidative stress from the body and mind, you can greatly improve your future health. With diseases like Alzheimer’s, it’s believed that free-radical damage creates brain plaque. Antioxidants help target these free-radicals, before they cause damage.
You do not need to eliminate all free-radicals in order to stay healthy. In fact, free-radicals do play a role in terms of our metabolism. Damage and negative effects occur when these free-radicals are not kept under control. This is why daily supplementation can assist free-radicals levels, preventing various diseases and brain damage.
Are There Side-Effects?
At this time, there are no reported serious side-effects for grape seed extract. There is a slight possibility that you may experience some mild stomach discomfort. Other than that, this supplement is generally very well tolerated. At this present time, there are two core groups which should avoid this supplement.
If you are pregnant or nursing, then please avoid grape seed extract. Also, if you are on blood thinners, then you should also not take this supplement. If you are currently taking any medication, please check with your doctor, ensuring your safety.
Grape Seed Extract Dosage
It is important to understand the recommended dosage for any supplement you take. When supplements are considered safe, that is often at a recommended, controlled dose. When taking grape seed extract, it comes in various forms.
You can consume this supplement in tablet, capsule, or liquid form. In order to achieve the greatest effects, you should look for products that have a OPC content of at least 95%. Since there are so many different forms, there is not a standardized dosage.
On average, users typically take between 25 mg and 150 mg daily. However, there have been doses up to 900 mg reported. In order to maintain anti-oxidant support, you should take the typical dose (up to 150 mg). If you suffer from chronic venous insufficiency, it’s recommended that you take up to 300 mg daily.
Like any supplement, start with a lower dose. See how that affects you before taking anymore. Also, discuss any concerns that you may have with your doctor.