Muscadine grapes were discovered in 1810 in North Carolina, growing in the wild. These grapes are native to the southeast United States and are particularly well-adapted to the hot humid growing conditions of that region. Some research studies have shown potential health-boosting properties of muscadine grape seeds. Muscadine grapes are primarily found fresh in warm or southern climates, such as the southeastern United States or California. Their seeds need to be chewed for their health benefits, but if you aren't fond of munching on grape seeds you may want to take a muscadine grape supplement. Check with your doctor before using muscadine grape seeds to treat a medical condition, especially if you are on medication.
Four varieties of muscadine grapes showed significant anti-cancer properties in a study published in the March 2007 issue of "Journal of Medicinal Food." In the test-tube study, scientists tested grape pomace, the solids left over after juice is extracted for wine production against a known carcinogenic substance. Antioxidant activity and inhibition of tissue degrading enzymes were evaluated and found to be high in all four samples. However, two samples showed poor ability to protect against cellular mutations when exposed to another mutation-causing molecule. Researchers concluded there was a good potential for the use of muscadine grape extract at preventing cancer.
Researchers at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston Salem, North Carolina, found that polyphenol antioxidants in muscadine grape seeds had a relaxing and dilating effect on arteries. In the study, participants with coronary artery disease took 1,300 milligrams per day of muscadine grape seed extract for four weeks. There was no evidence of improved blood flow, reduced inflammation or increased antioxidant activity. However, diameter of certain arteries increased, implying potential blood pressure-lowering effects. Researchers called for further research to determine whether these results indicate important health benefits of muscadine grape seeds. The study was published in the October 2010 issue of the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition." If you are currently on medication for blood pressure, speak with your doctor before supplementing with muscadine grape seed.
In a study published in the April 2010 issue of the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry," muscadine grape seeds showed the highest antioxidant levels in the grape, followed by the skin and pulp. The seeds contained 87 percent phenolic antioxidant compounds, skins contained 11.3 percent and pulp contained 1.6 percent. The researchers identified a total of 88 different antioxidant compounds in muscadine grapes, 43 of which occurred in the seeds. Seventeen of the compounds were unique to muscadine grapes.
Muscadine grape seed extract may offer antibacterial and food preservative benefits, according to a study was published in the July 2008 issue of the "Journal of Food Protection." In the study, two varieties of muscadines, one purple and one bronze-colored, were tested against three strains of E. coli bacteria, which is associated with food-borne intestinal illnesses. The purple variety showed higher acidity and higher antioxidant levels than the bronze variety, though heating the seed extracts from the bronze grapes increased activity of one antioxidant compound by 83 percent. Researchers concluded good potential for the use of muscadine grape seed extract as a preservative for juices and other beverages.
- Journal of Medicinal Foods: Anticancer Effects of Four Varieties of Muscadine Grape
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Effect of Muscadine Grape Seed Supplementation on Vascular Function in Subjects with or at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease: A Randomized Crossover Trial
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: Antioxidant Capacity, Phenolic Content, and Profiling of Phenolic Compounds in the Seeds, Skin, and Pulp of Vitis Rotundifolia (Muscadine Grapes) As Determined by HPLC-DAD-ESI-MS(n)
- Journal of Food Protection: Antimicrobial Effect of Water-soluble Muscadine Seed Extracts on Escherichia coli O157:H7
- California Rare Fruit Growers: Muscadine Grape
- Southern Living: Muscadine 101