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Is Grape Seed Extract Safe or Toxic?

by
author image Charis Grey
For 15 years, Charis Grey's award-winning work has appeared in film, television, newspapers, magazines and on the Internet. She has worked as a story editor on the CBS drama "Flashpoint" and her work appears bimonthly in "The Driver Magazine." She has a Bachelor of Science in biology and a doctorate in chiropractic medicine from Palmer College.
Is Grape Seed Extract Safe or Toxic?
Grapes and grape seeds. Photo Credit Dimijana/iStock/Getty Images

You probably don’t give much thought to what might be inside the tiny seeds of a grape. Yet for wineries that process tons of grapes yearly, these seemingly inconsequential morsels have become the source of a whole new product – grape seed extract. By pressing the seeds and extracting nutrients from them, manufacturers create this extract, which is available for purchase at natural foods outlets.

Nutrient Content

Grape seeds are a rich source of powerful antioxidants called oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes. Antioxidants help prevent cell damage by neutralizing unstable molecules called free radicals, which are believed to accelerate aging and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Grape seed extract also contains vitamin E, flavonoids, linoleic acid and resveratrol, an antioxidant that has gained notoriety as an anti-aging nutrient.

Safety Concerns

If you’re considering taking grape seed extract, you’ll be pleased that this supplement has not been associated with any serious side effects. According to Zhion.health, researchers in Japan, Nevada, New York and the U.K. have tested the extract and found no negative repercussions from its use. However, be advised that it is possible to develop an allergic reaction to just about any substance, and if you have allergy symptoms such as hives, respiratory difficulties or swelling after taking grape seed extract, you should see a doctor immediately.

Health Benefits

Grape seed extract shows promise in a number of health applications. It has been found to relieve the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency and vascular fragility, and it may reduce swelling after an injury. Diabetics who have retinopathy, a vision problem, may benefit from grape seed extract as well. The National Cancer Institute is currently exploring the use of grape seed extract in the prevention of breast and prostate cancer.

Dosages

The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests different dosages of grape seed extract depending on the type of health problem you are attempting to address. If you’re using grape seed extract as an antioxidant, a dosage of 25 to 150mg of standardized grape seed extract containing 95 percent oligomeric proanthocyanidin complex is recommended up to 3 times daily. For venous insufficiency, take between 150 to 300mg per day. For edema, or swelling, a 200 to 400mg daily dose is recommended for a duration of 10 to 30 days.

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