Grape seed is available as a dietary supplement, and it is believed to provide many health benefits. It has therefore become popular among individuals who want to promote their health and protect themselves from developing preventable diseases. Researchers have begun to explore grape seed to determine how it can improve health and well-being, and the results have been promising, suggesting that grape seed supplements can help improve heart health, benefit the skin, and lower blood sugar.
Grape Seed for Heart Health
According to the latest research, grape seed can help improve heart health in more than one way. Researchers from the University of Nevada Reno conducted a study for publication in a 2015 edition of the medical journal PLOS ONE, and they found that grape seed resulted in lowered triglyceride levels among rats that were fed a diet that contained excessive amounts of fructose. A second study, led by a researcher affiliated with the University of California, Davis, was included in a 2014 edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. This study found that grape seed flours from Chardonnay grapes helped reduce the LDL cholesterol levels of hamsters consuming a high-fat diet. Finally, a 2009 study in the journal Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental found that four weeks’ worth of grape seed supplementation decreased blood pressure levels among adults with metabolic syndrome. A researcher from the University of California, Davis, also led this study. By reducing blood pressure and levels of artery-clogging triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, grape seed supplements could help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Benefits of Grape Seed for Skin Health
Grape seed appears to help protect the skin from damage. Researchers from Romania conducted a 2011 study which was published in the Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, and they discovered that a grape seed extract reduced skin damage in mice exposed to ultraviolet rays. Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham conducted a similar study for publication in a 2017 edition of the journal Oncotarget, and they discovered that grape seed repaired cells that were damaged by ultraviolet rays. Grape seed is so beneficial for skin health that it can help improve the skin’s appearance. A Brazilian study published in a 2012 edition of Anais Brasileiros de Dematologia found that a product containing grape seed and other extracts reduced signs of aging in the skin. Women in the study used the product for four months. Taken together, the results of these three studies suggest that grape seed can help protect the skin from the sun and keep it looking vibrant.
Effect of Grape Seed on Blood Sugar and Diabetes
Grape seed supplements could help lower blood sugar levels and reduce complications for individuals with diabetes. Spanish researchers conducted a study for a 2004 edition of Endocrinology and found that a grape seed extract reduced high blood sugar levels among rats with diabetes. Grape seed also seems to confer specific benefits on individuals with diabetes. A 2015 study in Food & Function found that grape seed reduced levels of inflammation that were detrimental to the pancreas. Researchers from the Qilu Hospital of Shandong University in China conducted this study. A third study, published in a 2016 edition of Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, found additional benefits for grape seed oil in cases of diabetes. The study’s authors, who were from China, found that when diabetic rats were given grapeseed extract, damage to their retinas approved, likely due to a decrease in oxidative stress. Based on the research with grapeseed oil, it could be beneficial as an adjunctive treatment for patients with diabetes, as it can help to lower blood sugar and protect the body from diabetes-related damage.
It appears that grape seed oil can help improve the health of individuals with diabetes, in addition to its benefits for skin and heart health. Although it does have obvious health benefits, some people might be concerned about the safety of grape seed supplements. Fortunately, a 2017 study in Food and Chemical Toxicology followed a group of people taking grape seed oil for four weeks and found that it was safe and did not cause any adverse reactions that caused participants to discontinue with the study. Grape seed is a safe and effective supplement that can help improve heart and skin health and protect individuals with diabetes. It seems helpful for disease management and for general health and wellness.
Benefits for the Skin
Grape seed can help to maintain healthy, youthful skin by helping to reduce sun damage and lowering the risk of skin cancer. In a 2013 study in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology, scientists from Romania assessed the effects of grape seed extract on skin cells that were exposed to damage from UVB radiation. They found that the cells they treated with grape seed extract were less likely to die, and they experienced less damage when compared to cells that did not receive grape seed treatment. The study authors concluded that grape seed could be used to help prevent skin cancer. Based on the results of this study, grape seed can help protect the skin from sun damage and reduce the aging effects that the sun exerts on the skin.
Grape seed’s ability to help protect the skin is likely a result of its antioxidant effects. A 2000 study in the journal Toxicology, authored by researchers from various universities across the United States, found that antioxidants from grape seed were even more protective against DNA damage than powerful vitamins such as vitamin C and beta-carotene were. Antioxidants from grape seed can help nourish and help protect the skin, keeping it healthy and youthful in appearance.
Grape Seed and Hair Growth
Grape seed has also been touted as a supplement for promoting hair growth, and the science supports its use for this purpose. A 1998 study conducted at Tsukuba Research Laboratories in Japan assessed the effects of grape seed extracts on the hair growth of mice. Study results showed that hair follicle cells increased by 230 percent, compared to a control group, among mice treated with certain extracts from grape seeds, and the study’s authors concluded that grapeseed could, therefore, be useful for promoting hair growth.
Provides Antioxidant Support
The antioxidants in grape seed are shown to help prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which contributes to atherosclerosis–clogging and hardening of the arteries from fatty plaque. In animal studies, grape seed extract has been shown to help protect against high-fat diets by reducing LDL cholesterol oxidation. Human studies have seen similar results. In one, 87 heart surgery patients given 400 mg of grape seed extract before going into surgery experienced significantly lowered oxidative stress, protecting against further heart damage.
Delays Aging of the Brain
Grape seed is a great source of flavonoids that are found to help prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. One flavonoid in grape seed extract called gallic acid is found to block the formation of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain, which is a major contributor to Alzheimer’s disease. By helping to protect against oxidative stress and reducing inflammation, grape seed protects the brain and gives it a cognitive boost. In a 3-month study on 111 elderly individuals, a daily dose of grape seed extract improved their attention span, as well as their language and memory skills.