26+ Amazing Benefits of Grape Seed Extract
Strong nutritional supplement like Grape seed extract have become more popular in recent years, but before you can derive the benefits of these concentrated substances, it is best to understand what it is, where they come from, what potential benefits they hold, and whether there are any side effects for people who use them.
This Grape seed extract benefits article is part of the ongoing My Health Journey wellness education for nutritional supplements.
What Is Grape Seed Extract?
Grape seed extract is a substance derived from the seeds of grapes. Scientifically belonging to the Vitis genus, most grape seed extract is made from Vitis vinifera, as are many types of wine, but there are a handful of other species from which this extract can be made.
Grape seed extract is produced by grinding up the seeds found at the center of grapes and then using a steam distillation or cold-pressing method to extract the pure compounds of the seeds. Some of the most important compounds found in grape seed extract are tannins, oligomeric procyanidins, catechins and epicatechins, as well as vitamin E, and linoleic acid.
Grape seed extract is most commonly taken in supplement form, and the recommended amount is between 100-300 milligrams per day. Given that the only food source for this extract is grape seeds, supplements are the most logical form.
Some people who have a cold press or grinder at home can also make this extract themselves, particularly if they work at a vineyard and have an excess of grapes to work with. In most cases, you will find grape seed extract in tablet, capsule or pill form, all of which will be able to deliver some of the following health benefits.
Health Benefits Of Grape Seed Extract
The many health benefits of grape seed extract include improving the appearance of the skin, lowering cholesterol levels, aiding in weight loss, and increasing cognitive function. It also helps in regulating blood pressure, optimizing fluid balance, speeding the healing of wounds, reducing swelling after injury, and preventing muscle damage.
1. Fights Candida
Grapefruit seed extract is very effective in the treatment of candidiasis. Candidiasis, commonly referred to as “candida,” is a fungal infection that can affect men and women of all ages in various parts of the body. It most commonly occurs in the mouth, ears, nose, toenails, fingernails, gastrointestinal tract and vagina.
A Polish study published in 2001 found that a 33 percent grapefruit extract has a potent antifungal effect against Candida albicans strains taken from patients with candida symptoms. (1) GSE’s antifungal properties help it combat candida infestations by killing the yeast cells that have taken over in the body.
2. Kills Antibiotic-Resistant UTIs
A noteworthy case study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2005 found that grapefruit seeds were highly effective in killing antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections. The study looked at several patients who were treated with grapefruit seeds (Citrus paradisi) orally for two weeks. The dosage was five to six grapefruit seeds every eight hours.
Within those two weeks, all patients responded satisfactorily to the treatment minus one. However, this patient initially had the bacterial UTI resistant to three different antibiotics, but after taking grapefruit seed there was a reversal of the antibiotic resistance pattern. Although a small human study, the data points toward the antibacterial ability of dried or fresh grapefruit seeds being comparable to proven antibacterial drugs, making it an effective home remedy for UTIs. (2)
3. Remedies Fungal Infections
Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection sometimes mistaken for tuberculosis that’s caused by Histoplasma capsulatum or H. capsulatum, a fungus often found in bird and bat droppings. Histoplasmosis is most commonly transmitted when spores become airborne (often during cleanup or demolition projects) or from dirt contaminated with the droppings. The majority of people who acquire histoplasmosis are symptomless and never even know they’re infected, but some people may develop flu-like symptoms that last around 10 days.
For people with weak immune systems, chronic diseases or for infants, histoplasmosis can be serious.
A recommended alternative treatment for this fungal infection is grapefruit seed extract at a dosage of 100 milligrams (capsule) or five to 10 drops in water three times daily. It’s recommended for its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Since GSE likely helps make the immune system stronger, it can help provide symptom release for fungal infections like histoplasmosis.
4. Relieves Athlete’s Foot and Nail Fungus
Athlete’s foot is a skin disease that usually occurs between the toes and is caused by a fungus. As a natural treatment for athlete’s foot, you can try applying full-strength grapefruit seed extract to the problem areas two to three times per day. (3) It shouldn’t take too long to have the itching, burning and general unpleasantness of athlete’s foot under control.
You can also use GSE as an alternative to tea tree oil to treat toe nail fungus. Simply paint the extract on the infected nails twice a day until you see improvement.
5. Treats Digestive Disturbances Associated with Eczema
Eczema is a common skin disorder that often has links to food choices and digestive issues. One preliminary human trial investigated the effectiveness of grapefruit seed extract on atopic eczema patients who also had intestinal dysbiosis, a microbial imbalance or maladaptation in the digestive tract. All patients showed severe atopic eczema, including bleeding lesions over the face, limbs and trunk, while 14 of 25 also had intermittent diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, intestinal rushes, bloating and abdominal discomfort.
Subjects received either two drops of a 0.5 percent liquid concentrate of grapefruit seed extract twice a day or 150 milligrams of encapsulated grapefruit seed extract (ParaMicrocidin®) three times a day. After a month, all of the subjects taking capsules experienced significant improvements in constipation, flatulence and abdominal discomfort, as well as night rest, while 20 percent of the subjects taking the liquid experienced significant improvements in their negative digestive symptoms. The extract was mostly effective against Candida, Geotrichum sp. and hemolytic E. coli. There were zero side effects during the entire study. (4)
6. Works as a General Antimicrobial
Grapefruit seed extract benefits can be experienced when it’s taken by mouth for bacterial, viral and fungal infections, including yeast infections. (5) But there are also many grapefruit seed uses that don’t involve ingesting the extract. Due to its antimicrobial activities, grapefruit seed extract is commonly included in many throat sprays, nasal sprays, ear drops, mouth washes, toothpastes, shower gels, wound disinfectant sprays and other personal care products. Instead of using unnatural and synthetic preservatives, many natural companies turn to grapefruit seed extract for its ability to preserve a product by killing unwanted bacteria.
7. Weight Loss
Research has shown that the active ingredients within grape seed extract inhibit fat deposition within the body, and even lower the level of fat absorption from our diet.  Combined with a negligible amount of calories, this extract can give you an energetic boost and speed up the metabolism, which can further aid your weight loss efforts.
8. Skin Care
The presence of numerous antioxidants and flavonoid compounds in grape seed extract have been linked to improved skin appearance. These compounds are able to seek out and neutralize the free radicals in the skin that threaten the elasticity and durability  of the skin. By eliminating oxidative stress and improving elasticity, this extract can help reduce the presence of wrinkles, age spots, and blemishes, while also promoting the growth of new, healthy cells that keep you looking young.
9. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
The flavonoids that can be found in such high quantities within grape seed extract are responsible for lowering overall cholesterol levels and improving the balance between HDL and LDL cholesterol. This can reduce the dangers of plaque deposition in the arteries and blood vessels, which will lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, coronary heart diseases, and other cardiovascular issues.
10. Controls Blood Pressure
Research has found that the oligomeric procyanidins in this extract are able to protect blood vessels and arteries from damage, which can lead  to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems. Furthermore, the compounds in grape seed extract are able to stimulate the activity of vitamin C in the body, which will boost collagen production and speed up the repair process on damaged blood vessels.
11. Lowers Oxidative Stress
Widely known as an anti-aging secret, the regular consumption of grape seed extract can help flood the body with antioxidants, which will counter the effects of oxidative stress in your organs as well as your skin and hair. These compounds will also reduce your risk of chronic disease, which becomes much more of a threat as we age.
12. Boosts Immune System
The flavonoids in grape seed extract stimulate the vitamin C already present in the body, but there is also a moderate amount of vitamin E in this extract, which can help boost the function of the immune system to defend against  bacterial and viral pathogens. Furthermore, the antioxidants in this extract are considered 30-50 times more potent than vitamin C in terms of protecting the body from pathogens.
13. Prevents Edema
Anecdotal evidence has argued that the regular use of grape seed extract is able to prevent edema from occurring in the body. This excess storing of fluid in the body can be painful and unsightly, but it can easily be remedied with a supplement that regulates fluid transfer and balance between the cells and tissues.
14. Stimulates Brain Function
Oligomeric procyanidins have been researched extensively and it has been found that the compounds can stimulate cognitive function, which can help with things like concentration, retention, memory formation and mood. This is also important for people who are suffering from or are at high risk for  Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
15. Delays Cancer Growth
Research has found that grape seed extract is able to minimize the severity of  skin cancer, and even slow the growth of skin tumor formation, allowing the body’s immune system to control the disease much more effectively.
16. Speeds Healing Process
The procyanidins in this extract have a direct stimulating effect on a certain endothelial growth factor , which is crucial to the wound-healing process. Consumption of this extract will speed blood clotting and increase your chances of the wound to heal without a scar.
17. Relieves Allergies
Thanks to the presence  of resveratrol, one of the highly praised compounds in wine, grape seed extract can also minimize the impact of allergic reactions, due to its anti-inflammatory nature. This is also good for aches and pains, either from acute injuries or from more chronic issues such as arthritis or gout.
Other antimicrobial uses of grapefruit seed extract include:
- In laundry — to kill fungi and bacteria, add 10 to 15 drops to the final rinse
- In carpet cleaners — to kill pathogenic organisms
- Sterilizing and disinfecting operating rooms
- In nebulizers — one drop GSE to one ounce saline water for control of respiratory infections
- In humidifiers — three to four drops per gallon of water to prevent algae growth
- As a better preservative than most chemical preservatives currently on the market
- Disinfecting surfaces — when mixed with water in a spray bottle, it’s great for disinfecting cutting boards and other kitchen as well as bathroom surfaces
- In hot tubs and swimming pools — GSE is added to lessen the need for high levels of chlorine
- Farming — farmers use the extract in animal feed and water to reduce the incidence of infectious diseases
Grapefruit Seed Extract History and Interesting Facts
- Grapefruit seed extract was discovered by Jacob Harich, an American immunologist, in 1972.
- The grapefruit is a subtropical citrus tree grown for its fruit, which was originally named the “forbidden fruit” of Barbados.
- Grapefruit was first documented in 1750 by Reverend Griffith Hughes describing specimens from Barbados.
- Farmers in Europe use a powdered form of GSE in fish and poultry feed to prevent infections caused by salmonella and E. coli bacteria.
- GSE is used in cosmetic products for its natural antimicrobial abilities.
- Other uses for diluted grapefruit seed extract include as a mouthwash, throat gargle, acne skin cleanser and disinfectant.
- Don’t confuse GSE with the other GSE — grapeseed extract— another supplement entirely. Grapefruit seed extract is from a grapefruit while grapeseed extract, or grapeseed oil, is from a grape.
How to Choose and Use Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract is available in supplement form as a liquid concentrate, capsule or tablet. It’s readily available at your local health store or online.
Never purchase a grapefruit seed extract product that contains health-hazardous, synthetic chemicals like methylparaben, benzethonium chloride or triclosan. A typical formula I recommend contains just two ingredients: grapefruit seed extract and vegetable glycerin.
Always speak with your health care provider about proper dosage or follow the instructions provided on the extract. The typical recommended dosage for the liquid extract is 10 to 12 drops in a glass of water (at least five ounces), one to three times daily. For capsules and tablets containing dried grapefruit seed extract, the usual recommendation is 100 to 200 milligrams, one to three times daily. The amount depends on the strength of the GSE and the reason you’re taking it.
Grapefruit seed extract can deplete good bacteria in the gut if it’s taken for long periods of time. If you intend to take it for three or more consecutive days, make sure to also consume a probiotic supplement a few hours before taking your dose of GSE.
Always store your grapefruit seed extract away from heat and direct light.
If you feel unsure about taking supplemental forms of grapefruit seed, you can also eat the seeds (warning: they’re bitter) and white membranes of the grapefruit. You can also include the seeds and membranes when you make fresh grapefruit juice.
Side Effects Of Grape Seed Extract
While the benefits of using this extract are clear, there are some possible side effects of which you should be aware, including bleeding disorders, drug interactions, complications with pregnancy, allergic reactions, stomach upset and dizziness.
- Drug Interactions: Depending on what medications you are taking, grape seed extract could cause some unwanted side effects, including  medications for blood clotting or cholesterol. For example, this extract can slow down blood clotting, and lower cholesterol, so it may complicate the use of anticoagulant drugs and cholesterol-suppressing medication.
- Pregnancy: As an herbal remedy, rather than a formal pharmaceutical one, there can be some unexpected hormonal fluctuations when using this powerful substance. For pregnant women, this can stimulate menstruation, or be dangerous for your unborn child. Speak with your doctor before using this or any other herbal remedy if you are pregnant.
- Bleeding Disorders: As mentioned, the anticoagulant nature of grape seed extract can cause internal and external bleeding, so do not consume this extract within 1-2 weeks of any major surgery.
- Allergic Reactions: The concentration of organic compounds in this extract can cause allergic reactions in certain people, even if they aren’t allergic to grapes. The symptoms include upset stomach and diarrhea, as well as skin inflammation, rashes or hives. Consuming an excessive amount of grape seed extract may also cause abdominal pain and discomfort.
- Dizziness: Some people have reported dizziness, cognitive confusion, and lightheadedness when using this extract, particularly when more than 1 supplement is taken. As with any herbal medicine, only use this extract in moderation, and speak with your doctor or a trained herbalist about any specific risk factors for you.
Final Thoughts on Grapefruit Seed Extract
- Grapefruit seed extract, also known as GSE or citrus seed extract, is derived from the seeds, pulp and white membranes of a grapefruit.
- Many professionals, including doctors, veterinarians, farmers and consumers, praise GSE’s multipurpose use and effectiveness.
- Grapefruit seed extract has been shown to posses antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties, and it fights candida, kills antibiotic-resistant UTIs, remedies fungal infections, relieves athletes foot and nail fungus, and treats digestive disturbances associated with eczema.
- If you have candida, it’s best to begin GSE therapy in partnership with a cleansing anti-candida diet. This means avoiding things like sugar, alcohol, dairy and grains.
- NEVER buy a grapefruit seed extract product that contains harmful ingredients like benzethonium chloride, triclosan or methylparaben.