its name implies, grape seed extract is derived from the small seeds (and
occasionally the skins) of red grapes. Grape seed extract is rich in flavonoids,
phytochemicals that have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are believed
to prevent and control numerous ailments by safeguarding cells against
the damages of unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals.
most valuable flavonoids in grape seed extract are procyanidolic oligomers
(also known as proanthocyanidins), commonly called PCOs. Beyond their
antioxidant powers, PCOs are thought to improve blood circulation and
help strengthen blood vessels. These actions benefit people with heart
disease and cancer.
seed extract may help to:
Prevent heart disease. The risk for heart attack and stroke may be reduced
with this potent antioxidant, which is believed to prevent the plaque
development that can clog arteries. A recent study of 38 smokers indicates
that PCOs may function as effectively as aspirin in keeping blood cells
from sticking together and forming blood clots (called an anticoagulant
effect). And the PCOs posed no risk of the gastrointestinal irritation
or bleeding generally associated with aspirin.
Fight skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema. Certain components within
the skin--collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid--participate in keeping
it healthy. PCOs help keep these substances in good shape by blocking
enzymes that might disrupt their chemical structure. In this way, grape
seed extract may be useful in treating inflammatory skin conditions such
as psoriasis. Its flavonoids also inhibit allergic reactions that can
generate such skin problems as eczema.
Slow progression of macular degeneration and cataracts. Grape seed extract
improves blood flow in the eye's tiny vessels, where certain eye diseases
can cause blockages and impairments that result in vision damage. Cataracts
are an example.