The powerful antioxidant grape seed extract is known for its many benefits to the cardiovascular system. But new research shows that it may have additional benefits as well.
Grape seed extract is rich in flavonoids, the same compounds that give wine and grape juice their health benefits. Grape seed extract flavonoids have a wide variety of benefits, including protecting the heart, blood vessels and other tissues from free radical damage, and preventing abnormal blood clotting.
Showing Promise Against Alzheimer's
Now, grape seed extract is showing potential as a way to prevent Alzheimer's disease and other age-related memory loss. A study by researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City, found that the extract prevented the build-up of amyloid plaques, large protein molecules that interfere with brain function. Amyloid plaques are found in most older brains, but people with Alzheimer's disease have many more of them.
The polyphenols in grape seed extract may contribute in many ways to brain health. They help preserve blood circulation, reduce inflammation, and act as potent antioxidants and detoxifiers. Plus, they inhibit some enzymes that break down proteins and destroy skin and blood vessels.
Possible Effects on Leukemia
In another study, researchers at the University of Kentucky found that grape seed extract forces laboratory leukemia cells to commit cell suicide. They found that within 24 hours, 76% of leukemia cells had died after being exposed to the extract.
"These results could have implications for… grape seed extract into prevention or treatment of hematological malignancies - such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma - and possibly other cancers," said the study's lead author. "What everyone seeks is an agent that has an effect on cancer cells but leaves normal cells alone, and this shows that grape seed extract fits into this category."
He warns that this research is not far enough along to suggest that people should consume grapes, grape seeds or grape skin in excess to stave off cancer. "This is very promising research, but it is too early to say this is chemo-protective," he says.
However, with the many known health advantages already associated with grape seed, you may want to consider making it a part of your daily diet and nutritional program. Grapes/grape juice/red wine are an important part of the Mediterranean diet, and also the Living to 100!" diet, and the extract is also available in supplement form.
For additional benefit, grape seed and grape skin extract have been included in both our Basic Nutrient Support and Cardiovascular Support.