For years, plenty of praise has been heaped on grape seed extract because studies show it can fight cancer. But the research on grape seed extract goes way beyond cancer.
Research also demonstrates this powerful extract can help improve your memory, the overall health of your brain and much more.
So, let’s take a look at what researchers are now saying about the remarkable grape seed extract.
Grape seed extract is made from the seeds of wine grapes. It contains powerful antioxidant compounds called proanthocyanidins shown in numerous studies to positively impact the cardiovascular system, help the immune system fight illnesses such as cancer, and promote health in many other parts of the body.
Supports the Health of Brain Cells
A wide range of studies have shown that grape seed extract can have intriguing effects on the neurons in the brain.
A review study at the University of Aberdeen in England that analyzed research into how grapes and grape seed extract affect mood and thinking powers found that they can boost cognition and often enhance positive emotions.1
In another study, research at the University of Reading in the U.K. uncovered evidence that the flavonoids in grape seed extract protect neurons from damage, help them function better and stimulate the regeneration of new neurons. (You may recall that flavonoids are natural chemicals that provide the pigments that color grapes and other fruits.)2
According to the study at the University of Reading, grape seed extract may help to promote better memory and recall by supporting what’s called “long term potentiation” among neurons.
Long term potentiation (LTP) is a process the brain uses that strengthens the signal transmissions in the brain by altering synapses, the spaces between neurons that are used to exchange information. These alterations stimulated by grape seed extract boost the signal transfer from neuron to neuron – sort of the way an amplifier can boost a radio signal. LTP is important for what’s called synaptic plasticity – the changes in neuronal connections that help us learn new things.
Added to that study, research in Asia that looked at the effects of grape seed extract found that it could help preserve memory by lowering oxidative stress in the hippocampus (an important brain memory center) while helping protect the integrity of regulatory proteins in brain tissue that are necessary for accurate communication among neurons.3
Great For Your Waistline and Heart
Research into other benefits of grape seed extract are proceeding around the world. They show that the natural chemicals in this extract can:
- Help you lose weight: A review study in Asia that looked at studies on how grape seed extract affects body fat found that it has an “anti-obesity” effect. Researchers explain that it helps brown fat in the body burn more calories and throw off more heat which helps with weight loss. Their research also indicates it can improve the function of mitochondria – the energy-producing organelles in cells – so that their energy production also burns off extra calories.4
- Reduce blood pressure: Research involving scientists at the University of California Davis and the Illinois Institute of Technology show that grape seed extract can drop blood pressure in people with pre-hypertension (blood pressure that is elevated but is not yet high enough to be considered high blood pressure). They conclude that grape seed extract can be used as a “functional ingredient” for blood pressure control.5
- Improve heart health: A study in Canada involving 40 overweight people who were cutting calories to lose weight found that taking grape seed extract supplements improved blood biomarkers that are indicators of poor heart health.6 And a study in Japan showed that for people with diabetes, grape seed extract can lower inflammation linked to heart problems and “may have a therapeutic role in decreasing cardiovascular risk.”7
- Lowers cholesterol levels: A review study published in 2019 of 15 studies involving 825 participants found that grape seed extract can help lower levels of LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides and the marker of inflammation, c-reactive protein.8
Grape seed extract is a mainstay supplement in many alternative doctors’ nutritional arsenal against aging and illness. It’s no surprise to me that the latest research shows it can also help support a healthy memory and good overall brain health.
There’s so much good news surrounding grape seed extract these days that even The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) has taken notice. They are currently supporting research on how grape seed extract, and other dietary supplements rich in antioxidants, help reduce the negative effects of stress on the mind and body. As part of this research, they are examining how the health of the microbiome—the system of bacteria in your body—affects the absorption of grape seed extract and other useful antioxidant supplements.
As the research continues, more health benefits of grape seed extract are sure to be revealed. I’ll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, grape seed extract supplements are readily available online and at your local health food store.
- Zhang H, Liu S, Li L, et al.
The impact of grape seed extract treatment on blood pressure changes: a meta-analysis of 16 randomized controlled trials. Medicine. 2016;95(33):e4247.