You’re probably familiar with grapes- whether you enjoy them as a sweet and healthy snack, or prefer them fermented in a glass with dinner, chances are you’ve encountered the fruit at one point or another.
Already an extremely versatile crop in terms of consumption, the various components of grapes all offer unique and advantageous health benefits. From the leaves, to the skin, to the seeds each part provides valuable nutrients. One of these being grape seed extract.
A Brief History of Grape Seeds
Grape seed extract is a relatively new product developed in the 70s. Prior to its creation, various components of grapes have been used for numerous medicinal and culinary purposes dating all the way back to ancient Greece (1).
The extract is valuable particularly for its antioxidant content found in the skin and seeds of grapes. Because of the antioxidant capabilities, grape seed extract usually serves as supplementation for cardiovascular issues, excessive inflammatory responses, healing and other potential results of oxidative stress.
How is Grape Seed Extract Made?
Grape seed extract is a derivative of red wine grape seed grounds. There are several ways to produce the extract, most commonly by either adding solvents in combination with heat, cold pressing or steam distillation.
One technique requires removal of the seeds and skins of the grapes, then letting them dry overnight. After, the seeds can be cooked at low temperatures to both increase amount of oil extracted and speed up the drying process. The seeds and skin are then added to a cold press which is compressed until oil separation is visible. Oil is then poured into bottles (for other uses) and the remaining seeds and skin pieces are dried to prepare for grinding where they are ground into powder. At this point, the powder is typically used to fill capsules for supplementation.
What is it Good For?
Unfortunately, there has not been significant research conducted that investigates the direct effects of grape seed oil. However, notable correlations have been drawn between those who regularly took the extract and a reduction of ailments:
1. As previously mentioned, grape seed extract seems to aid in combating numerous cardiovascular conditions and circulatory problems. One specific study examined the relationship between individuals that consumed grape seed extract and blood pressure, determining both a lower blood pressure and heart rate in those taking the extract (2).
2. The supplement additionally decreases swelling. A comparison of sedentary women either taking grape seed oil or taking a placebo revealed less leg swelling in those with the active supplement (3).
3. One of the most desirable features of the extract is its antioxidant capabilities. This essentially can protect cells from damage, which is associated with many diseases. Antioxidants also contribute to disease prevention, including cardiovascular conditions, diabetes and cancer.
How Much Should I Take?
Dosage always depends on the individual, as different factors such as gender, body weight, etc. can influence how much of a nutrient the person requires as well as how well they can metabolize certain amounts. On average, it is recommended to ingest 100-300 mg/day (4).