The first human clinical trial examining the effects of grape seed extract on metabolic syndrome found that the extract can reduce high blood pressure.

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a combination of ailments including high blood pressure, excess abdominal weight, high blood cholesterol, and high blood sugar. As many as 40 percent of American adults, or 50 million people, may have metabolic syndrome.

Reduced Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

For the study, 24 male and female patients with metabolic syndrome were given either a placebo or grape seed extract. Those in the grape seed extract groups underwent a significant blood pressure reduction; the average drop in systolic pressure was 12 millimeters, and the average drop in diastolic pressure was 8 millimeters.Those given grape seed extract also showed reduced LDL cholesterol levels.

EurekAlert March 26, 2006

Dr. Mercola's Comment:It's wonderful how natural treatments -- think regular exercise,opitmized sleeping and an improved diet -- can resolve a myriad of health issues withoutthe use of potentially toxicdrugs.

Along with their benefits for blood pressure and cholesterol, grape seeds are also known to be a powerful antioxidant.

Antioxidant protection helps protectyour body from premature aging, disease and decay. Antioxidants are needed to neutralize free radicals, which play a major role in the development of degenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases, strokes and aging.

The antioxidant capacity of grape seed extract comes from proanthocyanidins. Scientific studies have shown that the antioxidant power of proanthocyanidins is 20 times stronger than vitamin C and 50 times stronger than vitamin E.

In fact I have looked at some new research that shows a specific type of grape seed extract has an ORAC value of nearly 50,000.

The ORAC Antioxidant Score

ORAC stands foroxygen radical absorbance capacity, and it measures the total antioxidant potency of foods or supplements. It's a more precise way of determining the free-radical-destroying power of a food than just focusing on individual nutrients. ORAC takes into consideration the effect of all of the plant's compounds--including many phytochemicals that aren't traditionally considered nutrients--and the impact they have when they work in concert.

The next highest ORAC food is gogi berries at 25,000, followed by dark chocolate at 11,000. Blueberries are much farther downthe list at 2,500 and even popular products like noni juice are only 1,500, justbelow spinach at 1,700.

Extensive research additionally suggests that grape seed extract has the ability to bond with collagen, and it also promotes youthful skin, cell health, elasticity and flexibility.

Other studies show that grape seed extract proanthocyanidins help protect the body from sun damage and help improve vision. Grape seeds have been shown to improve flexibility in joints, arteries and body tissues such as the heart.

And, of course, research studies have shown that grape seed helps improve blood circulation by strengthening capillaries, arteries and veins, so the beneficial blood pressure effects shown in this study aren't particularly surprising.

Just a reminder, you don't need to take a grape seed supplement if you juice your food. If you do, don't use more than a handful of grapes and even less than that if you're struggling with insulin problems. Red grapes (naturally, the ones with seeds) are the best to use.

But be careful when purchasing grape seed extract. You only want to purchase WHOLE grape seed extract, and not ones with isolated resveratrol compounds. I am working with one of the top suppliers of grape seed extract in the world and am hoping they will have a product available later this summer.

Author's Bio: 

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