Grape seed extract is an industrial derivate of the whole grape seeds that is very rich in poliphenol and oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC). OPC are antioxidants that protect the cells from free radicals, which cause cell damage and lead to many different diseases, including cancer. Antioxidants are also important from the aesthetic point of view, as they help prevent signs of aging.
Grape seeds are also rich in flavonoids, linoleum acid and Vitamin E.
Before science discovered grape seed extract and its beneficial antioxidant properties, vitamins C, E and beta-carotene were considered the best sources of antioxidants out there. However, research has shown that OPC stays in the body longer (up to three days) and it is 20 times stronger than Vitamin C and 50 times stronger that Vitamin A when it comes to fighting free radicals.
The benefits of grape seed first came to light when scientists tried to explain the so-called French paradox. French have a low percentage of heart disease, contrary to what would be expected considering their diet. The answer was found in red wine, which is always present in reasonable amounts in French lifestyle. Red wine, just like grape seed extract, is a significant source of antioxidants and, eventually, the researchers found out that OPC is superior to other compounds when it comes to antioxidant properties.
Grape seed extract improves cardiovascular health and prevents heart disease, but the brain, eyes and skin can also benefit greatly from its consumption. It penetrates the blood-brain barrier and protects the tissue.
This extract also has antibacterial and antiviral properties and helps against inflammation, and the gastric tract can benefit greatly from its consumption as well.
Grape seed extract prevents the plaque in the blood vessels, improves mental functions, memory, alertness, and prevents dementia in older people.
Because it contains proanthocyanidins, grape seed extract, along with proper sunscreen, provides additional protection against the damage the skin suffers from the ultraviolet rays.
The use of grape seed extract has almost no side effects and if there are any, they are mild and include dizziness and nausea.
It can be safely used with most drugs, however, persons who are taking blood thinners have to be careful and consult a doctor before taking the extract as the two may interfere and cause bleeding.
Naturally, persons who are allergic to grapes should avoid grape seed extract as well.
The recommended dosage for grape seed extract goes from 50 mg to 200 mg a day.