Grape seed extracts are derived from whole grape seeds that have a high concentration of vitamin E, linoleic acid and flavonoids with the main class of flavonoids being a group called proanthocyanidins.
Proanthocyanidins are a class of biologically active flavonoids found throughout the plant kingdom, and are one of the most potent antioxidants in nature. Typically concentrated in the bark of trees and in the outer shells of seeds, proanthocyanidins help protect plants against oxidative elements such as oxygen and sunshine. One of the richest sources of proanthocyanidins in nature is grape seeds. Recent studies in animals, as well as some human studies, have shown that grape seed proanthocyanidin extracts possess a broad spectrum of biological, pharmacological and chemoprotective properties against free radicals and oxidative stress. Some grape seed extracts have also been reported to promote collagen formation, enhance cardiovascular health and improve microcirculation. There is a growing body of scientific evidence to suggest that proanthocyanidins are far more powerful antioxidants than vitamins C, E or beta-carotene and that they may prevent many of the effects related to premature aging and protect the body’s cells against the toxic effects of drug induced, chemical and environmental pollutants.
Another polyphenol naturally present in grape seeds is resveratrol, which is being investigated for its possible effect on cancer cell growth, proliferation or apoptosis (programmed cell death) of cells, and other potential chemopreventive mechanisms.
Preliminary research using disease models is investigating the beneficial properties of grape seed extract for the treatment of :
The potential for beneficial effects of grape seed extracts in human disease and health issues has been studied in a number of controlled clinical trials, in particular conditions such as breast cancer, and cardiovascular diseases and health issues such as post menopausal hormonal imbalance.