Grape seeds derive their medicinal effects from compounds called proanthocyanidins which are generally extracted from the grape seed and added to commercial preparations. Grape seed procyanidins are a type of flavonoids of the flavan-3-o1 class. This class of flavonoids includes catechin and epicatechin which can be found in other plants including cocoa, apples, cranberries, blueberries and pine bark. Proanthocyanidins have demonstrated antioxidant activity and are believed to play a role in the stabilization of collagen and maintenance of elastin-two critical proteins in connective tissue that support organs, joints, blood vessels, and muscle.
Results from a number of studies indicate that grape seed may be useful in relieving a number of conditions including vision difficulty, chronic venous insufficiency, lymphedema, varicose veins, cancer, premenstrual syndrome, dental cavities, and variety of circulatory disorders.
Grape seed has been used in connection with chronic venous insufficiency (caused by damaged valves in the veins carrying blood to the heart), varicose veins, spider veins, and severe blood clotting and may also help keep veins and other blood vessels from leaking. This blood vessel strengthening effect of grape seed extract may help to prevent and relieve hemorrhoids as well. Since it strengthens the walls of all blood vessels, grape seed extract may also be effective for slowing retinopathy, the gradual break down of the retinas in the eyes. Individuals with arteriosclerosis (a build up of fat deposits in the arteries), diabetes, or other conditions that increase the likelihood for damage to the small blood vessels in the eyes are more likely to have serious vision problems as a result of that damage. Grape seed extract may reduce eye stress caused by bright lights. In studies of laboratory animals, it has shown some possible effectiveness in preventing cataract formation, but further research is required to determine whether this effect may pertain to humans.
Especially noteworthy are the results of one study where a number of women with chronic venous insufficiency experienced reduced symptoms after supplementing with 150 mg of grape seed extract per day.Dosage and Administration
As a preventative for arterial plaques, vision disorders, or other conditions, take 50 mg standardized extract per day. For specific illness, 150 to 300 mg per day is recommended; consult your health care provider and do not self-prescribe. To date, there is not enough known about how grape seed extract might affect a developing fetus or an infant; therefore we do not recommend using this supplement if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Supporting LiteratureDelacroix P. Etude en Double Avengle de l'Endotelon dans l'Insuffisance Veineuse Chronique. Therapeutique, la Revue de Medicine 1981;27-28 Sept:1793-1802.
Mitcheva M, Astroug H, and Drenska D. Biochemical and morphological studies on the effects of anthocyans and vitamin E on carbon tetrachloride induced liver injury. Cell Mol Bio 1993;39:443-448.
Nuttall SL, Kendall MJ, Bombardelli E, Morazzoni P. An evaluation of the antioxidant activity of a standardized grape seed extract, Leucoselect. J Clin Pharm Ther. 1998;23(5):385-389.Stein JH, Keevil JG, Wiebe DA, Aeschlimann S, Folts JD. Purple grape juice improves endothelial function and reduces the susceptibility of LDL cholesterol to oxidation in patients with coronary artery disease. Circulation. 1999;100(10):1050-1055.