Have you heard of the ‘French paradox’? The people of southern France smoke more than anyone else and eat a pretty high-fat diet but have some of the lowest risk of heart attacks and circulatory problems (Facts are Facts, n.d.). Their consumption of red wine is the underlying factor. Of course, now we know that eating the good fats is a good thing, too, if you cut down on highly processed carbs and gluten. But let’s talk about the amazing benefits of grape seed extract and its properties and why you should be taking it.

I received a copy of Dr. Sherry Rogers’ latest newsletter yesterday and in it she discusses grape seed extract benefits and how it is a detoxifying agent. She was primarily talking about lead toxicity in the heart and brain but her strong arguments for taking grape seed extract got me researching for more. What I found is pretty amazing.

What It Is and How It Works

grape seed extractGrape seed extract (GSE), also known as OPC (Oligomeric proanthocyanidins), was first extracted for use as a supplement in 1947 by the now famous pharmacologist Professor Jack Masquelier, from Bordeaux, France, ironically. He was on a mission to find out what the mysterious health benefits of grapes were.

As it turns out, many plants, including grapes, have several flavonols as a self-protection measure from oxidation. Professor Masquelier discovered flavonols and more specifically, OPC, in red grapes and proceeded to find a way to extract it. (OPC is part of the ‘polyphenol’ family, as you may have seen referenced in the supplement world). Since then, another flavonoid, resveratrol has been discovered and is known to have anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity and heart/brain protective effects (Loureiro et. al, 2017).

Anyway, the flavonoids are most plentiful in the skins and seeds of grapes but especially in the seeds. And not only do grapes protect themselves from oxidation with OPC, they help protect us.

Best Antioxidant

GSE has undergone a lot of scientific scrutiny and is proven to be a highly potent antioxidant. Even more potent than Vitamins C, A, or E. In fact, Vitamins C and E are only active in the body for 2 to 4 hours. GSE reaches its highest concentration in the blood in 45 minutes but it remains active for 72 hours (factsarefacts.com, n.d.)!

However, GSE helps maintain levels of vitamins C and E longer, so we get better action from our vitamins too! Antioxidants help tame free radicals in the body. Free radicals are responsible for many diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), circulatory problems, and high blood pressure.

They are rogue cells with unpaired electrons, looking for other cells to latch onto to try to become whole. GSE and other antioxidants release surplus electrons, appeasing the free radicals. Pretty amazing, right? We are pretty susceptible to oxidative stress with environmental toxins, stress, poor diet, alcohol, and other chemicals we are exposed to.

As Dr. Rogers (2020) talks about, GSE helps to detox lead from the heart, blood vessels, bones, and even the brain. We can’t escape lead in the environment, it’s everywhere. And, in fact, she states that arthritis and other orthopedic problems can be caused from too much lead. She recommends taking grape seed extract several times a day at first to help boost it’s detoxing effects. 

Related Article: Detox Your Brain Naturally 

Cardiovascular Benefits of Grape Seed Extract

grape seed extract benefitsAs mentioned, Dr Sherry Rogers listed many references in her newsletter on studies showing GSE actually helps remove lead from our bodies. She posits this is a cause of high blood pressure.

Some of what GSE does for the heart and circulatory system is it also thins the blood a bit so blood can flow much easier. If you’re on a blood thinner, be sure to ask your doctor before adding grape seed extract to your regimen. 

And, in another study by Ardid-Ruiz et. al (2020), GSE is shown to reduce the bad cholesterol, LDL. This is the one that can stick to the walls of arteries and cause blockages. And the reason it sticks to the walls of arteries is that it becomes oxidized. You can begin to see even more benefits of its antioxidant effects, right?

Grape Seed Extract Benefits for the Brain

But what does OPC do for the brain? We’re back on the topic of amyloid plaques and their prevelence in AD.

You may remember from other articles here or elsewhere that amyloid plaques are a feature of AD, causing plaque deposits in the brain and interfering with normal brain function.Loureiro et. al (2017) researched the effect of specifically resveratrol and grape seed extract on the brain and noticed that amyloid beta is markedly reduced after using grape seed extract. They concluded that grape seed extract and resveratrol have neuroprotective capabilities and that GSE might not only be a preventive measure for the brain but possibly even a means of treatment for dementia and AD. 

This leaves little doubt that we all need to add grape seed extract to our supplement list.

How Much To Take

It is suggested to take 120mg for a 132 lb adult per day. However, Dr Rogers suggests taking 500mg capsules or get a powder and get 688mg per day. Also, it is recommended to take it on an empty stomach as it binds to protein.

Summing Up Grape Seed Extract Benefits

So now we know that grape seed extract is the best antioxidant available and continues working for 72 hours. And it also helps our vitamins work better and last longer in our bodies, too. GSE helps to prevent amyloid plaques from developing and also seems to help break them up if they are already there. It even reduces the bad cholesterol, LDL, in the blood.  

Given that the Southern French folks have little cardiovascular problems, even with perceived unhealthy habits, and the studies we talked about showing undisputable data that GSE is a catalyst to reduce or eliminate toxins and prevent Alzheimer’s, it’s a no brainer that we need this supplement. A supplement is a lot healthier than drinking a couple of bottles of wine per day. 🙂 

Clearly, we need to make sure we are getting grape seed extract (OPC) in our diets. I’m including some links to make it easier for you. Don’t wait to start detoxing and protecting your brain.

Thank you for reading today! If you have any comments, questions, or experience to share, please leave them in the Comments section below! Thank you!

References: 

Ardid-Ruiz, A., Harazin, A., Barna, L., Walter, F. R., Bladé, C., Suárez, M., … Aragonès, G. (2020). The effects of Vitis vinifera L. phenolic compounds on a blood-brain barrier culture model: Expression of leptin receptors and protection against cytokine-induced damage. Journal of ethnopharmacology247, 112253. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2019.112253

Facts are Facts. (n.d.). OPC: The Power of Grape Seeds. Retrieved February 1, 2020 from https://www.facts-are-facts.com/article/opc-the-power-of-grape-seeds

Loureiro, J. A., Andrade, S., Duarte, A., Neves, A. R., Queiroz, J.F., Nunes, C., … Pereira, M. C. (2017). Resveratrol and Grape Extract-loaded Solid Lipid Nanoparticles for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 22(2), 277. doi:10.3390/molecules22020277

Rogers, S. (2020). Total Wellness Newsletter, February 2020, electronic edition. Available from Prestigepublishing.com.