This powerful compound can improve heart health, weight management, mood, and more
Grape seed extract, made from crushed grape seeds, contains high levels of proanthocyanidins, polyphenols that give grapes their deep red and purple hues. Heralded for its strong antioxidant activity, grape seed extract has risen in popularity as a functional food.
In 2020, the grape seed extracts market surpassed $135 million and its compound annual growth rate is expected to reach 7.5 percent by 2027.[i]
While that’s in part due to its use in cosmetics, personal care products, and other novel products—such as nanofibers containing grape seed extract powder, which are being incorporated into food packaging to prevent oxidation in food—health-conscious consumers are increasingly interested in grape seed extract as a supplement or addition to functional foods and beverages.[ii] If you’re thinking of giving it a try, here are some of its top benefits.
1. Obesity Prevention and Management
Multiple actions, including lowering blood lipid, improving intestinal flora, and regulating metabolism, make grape seed extract beneficial for obesity. “It can effectively prevent obesity in many ways,” wrote researchers from the Medical School of Yangtze University in Jingzhou, China.[iii]
When consumed along with a restricted-calorie diet, grape seed extract (300 milligrams (mg) a day for 12 weeks) led to improvements in cardiovascular risk factors among obese or overweight adults.[iv] Compared to placebo, levels of beneficial high-density lipoprotein cholesterol increased in those who consumed grape seed extract while low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was significantly reduced.
Visceral fat, atherogenic index of plasma (a marker of cardiovascular disease), and triglycerides also significantly decreased in the grape seed extract group.
2. Blood Pressure Support
Grape seed extract appears to have blood pressure lowering effects, as well as heart-rate lowering properties.[v] In healthy adults, consuming grape seed extract (300 mg a day for 16 weeks) significantly modulated blood pressure compared to placebo,[vi] while among obese and overweight men, grape seed extract reduced arterial pressure at rest and during exercise, via a substantial reduction in aortic stiffness.[vii]
Even among people with metabolic syndrome, the powerful vasodilator phenolic compounds in grape seed extract were effective, lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to placebo.[viii] Grape seed extract has also been proposed as an intervention to minimize the potential increase in cardiovascular events that can occur during exercise in people with prehypertension.
While placebo had no effect, grape seed extract—taken as a single dose prior to exercise—reduced blood pressure, peripheral vasoconstriction, and work of the heart, while enhancing oxygen delivery among men with prehypertension.[ix]
3. Stress Relief and Mood Improvement
Perceived stress and other mental components can have a significant effect on blood pressure. This is why researchers measured not only grape seed extract’s effects on blood pressure but also on participants’ levels of perceived stress. Grape seed extract led to a surprising benefit to mood related to stress perception, including a statistically significant reduction of worries.[x]
Past research similarly found that menopausal women who took grape seed extract had a reduction in systolic blood pressure along with improvements in psychological symptoms such as anxiety.[xi] The mood benefits could be due to grape seed extract’s polyphenols, which are associated with better mood and increased cognitive function along with protective effects against brain diseases.[xii]
4. Support Dental Health
A systematic review of 20 studies revealed grape seed extract has unique properties that facilitate the prevention of dental caries. In addition to inhibiting bacterial biofilms on tooth surfaces, grape seed extract helps to promote dental remineralization, a natural process that helps repair tooth enamel before a cavity develops.[xiii]
Several of grape seed extract’s properties—including being antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory—make it ideal for promoting oral health and managing periodontal disease.[xiv] A grape seed extract gel also led to significant improvements in gingival and plaque indices in people with chronic periodontitis.[xv]
5. Improve Insulin Resistance
Grape seed extract, with its strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, may have several beneficial effects on diabetes, including improving insulin resistance. Among adolescents with metabolic syndrome, consuming grape seed extract for eight weeks (100 mg a day) improved insulin concentration and insulin resistance.[xvi]
Grape seed extract polyphenols also influence neuroregulatory factors and nerve signaling pathways, which may have a beneficial effect on insulin. Regarding diabetesgrape seed extract positively influences enzymes for starch digestion in humans and also improves the condition of patients with microalbuminuria,[xvii] an early sign of vascular damage[xviii] that’s present in about 37 percent of people with Type 2 diabetes and often precedes the development of diabetic nephropathy.[xix]
6. Heart Health
In addition to reducing blood pressure, grape seed extract exerts a number of additional benefits to heart health. Research suggests it significantly reduces C-reactive protein (CRP) levels.[xx] CRP can reveal your risk of developing cardiovascular problems. Grape seed extract also helps prevent atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, by:[xxi]
- Limiting the oxidation of LDL
- Lowering blood pressure
- Reducing inflammation
- Inhibiting platelet aggregation
- Activating certain proteins, which prevents cell senescence
Grape seed extract also helps to minimize the accumulation of fat in adipose tissue and even inhibits dietary fat absorption via its effects on fat-metabolizing enzymes.[xxii] Overall, this natural grape compound exerts powerful effects that reduce oxidative stress in the heart, helping to lower cardiac dysfunction.[xxiii]
GreenMedInfo.com has compiled an impressive 86 pharmacological actions tied to grape seed extract, as well as 190 diseases that it may influence.[xxiv] When taken in moderate amounts, grape seed extract is typically well tolerated, according to the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
Studies in humans lasting up to 11 months also support its safety,[xxv] but for optimal usage and dosing, consult with your holistic health care practitioner.
[i] Global Market Insights, Grape Seed Extracts Market Size, Base Year 2020 https://www.gminsights.com/industry-analysis/grape-seed-extracts-market
[ii] Global Market Insights, Grape Seed Extracts Market Size, Base Year 2020 https://www.gminsights.com/industry-analysis/grape-seed-extracts-market
[iii] Obese Facts. 2020 May; 13(2): 279-291. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7250358/
[iv] Phytother Res. 2021 Feb;35(2):987-995. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6859. Epub 2020 Oct 12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33044768/
[v] Pharmacol Res. 2022 Jan;175:105905. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2021.105905. Epub 2021 Nov 17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34798267/
[vi] Nutrients. 2021 Feb; 13(2): 654. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7922661/
[vii] Eur J Sport Sci. 2021 May 20:1-8. Epub 2021 May 20. PMID: 33905304 www.greenmedinfo.com/article/grape-seed-extract-can-be-dietary-supplement-treat-augmented-blood-pressure-re
[viii] Metabolism. 2009 Dec;58(12):1743-6. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2009.05.030. Epub 2009 Jul 15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19608210/
[ix] J Med Food. 2018 May;21(5):445-453. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2017.0133. Epub 2018 Apr 23. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29683391/
[x] Nutrients. 2021 Feb 17 ;13(2). Epub 2021 Feb 17. PMID: 33671310 www.greenmedinfo.com/article/grape-seed-extract-positively-modulates-blood-pressure-and-perceived-stress
[xi] Nutrients. 2021 Feb 17 ;13(2). Epub 2021 Feb 17. PMID: 33671310 /article/grape-seed-extract-positively-modulates-blood-pressure-and-perceived-stress
[xii] Nutrients. 2021 Feb 17 ;13(2). Epub 2021 Feb 17. PMID: 33671310 www.greenmedinfo.com/article/grape-seed-extract-positively-modulates-blood-pressure-and-perceived-stress
[xiii] Nutr Health. 2020 Mar;26(1):43-52. doi: 10.1177/0260106019887890. Epub 2019 Nov 24. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31760860/
[xiv] J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. Mar-Apr 2021;35(2 Suppl. 1):89-96. doi: 10.23812/21-2supp1-8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34281305/
[xv] J Investig Clin Dent. 2018 May;9(2):e12318. doi: 10.1111/jicd.12318. Epub 2018 Jan 18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29349878/
[xvi] Diabetes Metab Syndr. Jan-Feb 2021;15(1):197-203. doi: 10.1016/j.dsx.2020.12.028. Epub 2020 Dec 23. www.greenmedinfo.com/article/grape-seed-extract-improves-insulin-concentration-and-insulin-resistance-adole
[xvii] Molecules. 2020 Nov; 25(22): 5311. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7696942/
[xviii] Hippokratia. 2007 Jul-Sep; 11(3): 105-107. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2658722/
[xix] Indian J Nephrol. 2009 Apr; 19(2): 53-56. doi: 10.4103/0971-4065.53322 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2847808/
[xx] Br J Nutr. 2020 Sep 14:1-41. Epub 2020 Sep 14. PMID: 32921322 www.greenmedinfo.com/article/effect-grape-products-containing-polyphenols-c-reactive-protein-levels
[xxi] J Food Sci Technol. 2020 Apr; 57(4): 1205-1215. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7054588/
[xxii] J Food Sci Technol. 2020 Apr; 57(4): 1205-1215. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7054588/
[xxiii] J Food Sci Technol. 2020 Apr; 57(4): 1205-1215. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7054588/
[xxiv] GreenMedInfo.com, Grape Seed Extract www.greenmedinfo.com/substance/grape-seed-extract
[xxv] NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Grape Seed Extract https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/grape-seed-extract