Grape seed extract is made from the crushed seeds of red wine grapes and can be beneficial for treating a number of health conditions including: poor circulation, high cholesterol, diabetes-related eye disease, age related vision loss, and to treat swelling that is associated with injury. Full of antioxidants, grape seed extract can also help to protect the cells from free radical damage, and it has the ability to selectively target many types of cancerous cells.
Studies with grape seed extract for cancer
In 2009, research from The City of Hope Center in California concluded that grape seed extract could reduce VEGF levels. VEGF is a protein that produces new blood vessels and this is an essential component for tumor growth. Shiuan Chen, Professor of tumor biology, demonstrated that the grape seed extract blocks the formation of a protein HIF-1, which is produced in situations of low blood oxygen and causes more VEGF to be produced and more blood vessels to form. Bone cancer, brain tumors, bladder cancer, bile duct and colorectal cancers were all named as potential targets by the researchers. This also confirmed a previous study from 2006 (Free Radical Biology and Medicine, Feb 2006) that grape seed extract could prevent the growth of vascular epithelial growth factors in glioblastoma and other cancers. Link to the study.
Prostate Cancer- 35,239 males were followed over 10 year period beginning in 2000 for the VITAL cohort study published in May 2011. Men who reported taking the supplement at higher than average doses over that 10 year period experienced a 62% lower risk of prostate cancer development compared to those who did not take the supplement. Even those who took an average dose experienced a 41% lowered risk. Link to the study.
Leukemia (blood cancer) – 66,227 men and women in the same VITAL study who reported using grape seed supplements saw a 43% lowered risk of developing blood cancers. It should be noted that supplementing with garlic produced a 47% lowered risk of leukemia. Link to study. Additionally, the University of Kentucky showed that grape seed extract could kill 76% of leukemia cells in vitro within 24 hours. Link to the study.
Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck- A study carried out by Maryam Asargi et al, (Department of Dermatology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California; June 2011) involving 830 people compared various combinations of vitamins like A, C, E and multivitamins. The group taking grape seed extract demonstrated a 74% reduction in squamous cell carcinoma development of the head and neck. Link to the study
For those with Advanced Colorectal Cancer-
By the time some people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer the disease has already progressed into the more advanced stages. The researchers of this study were surprised to find that it required less grape seed extract to kill advanced stage cancers than it did to kill the tumors that were treated in the earlier stages. Molly Derry, a doctoral candidate in the lab of Rajesh Agarwal, PhD, and investigator at the CU Cancer Center and her team saw that while doses of chemotherapy needed to be increased for the more severe cancer cases (such as with a stage IV diagnosis instead of stage II), the amount of grape seed extract required to kill these tumors was actually decreased. Derry explains, “It required less than half the concentration of GSE to suppress cell growth and kill 50 percent of stage IV cells than it did to achieve similar results in the stage II cells.” She adds, “We’ve known for quite a while that the bioactive compounds in grape seed extract selectively target many types of cancer cells. This study shows that many of the same mutations that allow colorectal cancer cells to metastasize and survive traditional therapies make them especially sensitive to treatment with GSE.” Link to the research.
Edema- is common after breast cancer surgery. One double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that breast cancer patients who took 600 mg of grape seed extract daily for the six months following surgery had less edema and pain than those who took a placebo. Another study found that people who took grape seed extract after experiencing a sports injury also had less swelling than those who took a placebo. Link to the study
Dosage suggestions for Grape Seed Extract:
According to Drugs.com, a standard dose of grape seed consists of 50 milligrams to 300 milligrams daily. It has also been reported that doses of 900 milligrams were used in some of the studies with grape seed extract.
The University of Maryland Medical Center notes the following dosage suggestions: 25 to 150 milligrams daily for general antioxidant support, 150 to 300 milligrams daily for chronic heart or blood vessel issues, and 200-600 milligrams taken for edema or swelling, and up to 900 milligrams for more serious issues.
If you are supplementing with the larger doses they should be divided and taken throughout the day.
To derive the most benefit from this supplement it must be taken on a consistent basis.
Grape seed can interact with some medications, including blood-thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin).