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Grape Seed Extract Linked With Lower Blood Pressure

Two studies have been released recently that found a correlation between grape seed extract and lower blood pressure. Adding on to that research, a small pilot study has been released suggesting that grape seed extract delivered through a beverage is as effective at lowering blood pressure as grape seed extract taken by itself.

Participants in the study included 28 pre-hypertensive men and women between the ages of 25 and 65. Pre-hypertensive was defined as between 120 and 139 in the systolic range or 80 and 89 in the diastolic range.

Over the course of six weeks, 12 of the participants drank a 40 calorie beverage twice daily that contained 300mg of grape seed extract. The other 16 consumed a placebo drink.

The researchers measured blood pressure levels at the conclusion of the study and four weeks after the conclusion when all of the participants had returned to their normal routines.

They found that systolic blood pressure dropped by 7 mm in the grape seed group after six weeks, while diastolic blood pressure dropped 3.8 mm. At the ten week point, after the participants had returned to their normal schedules, systolic blood pressure increased again.

In the group that had a median systolic blood pressure of 125, there was an even more dramatic drop of 13.6 mm. In the individuals with a median diastolic blood pressure of 83.5, there was a 5.8 mm drop. This means that individuals with high blood pressure saw a greater effect from the grape seed extract than those with normal blood pressure.

Researchers from the Center for Nutrition Research at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Food Safety, and Health and from University of California-Davis conducted the study. It was presented at the VI International Conference on Polyphenols in Buenos Aires, Argentina, held the week of October 6, 2013 and has not yet been published.

Grape seed extract is high in polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body that can lead to many common diseases. Previous studies have linked polyphenol intake with a variety of health benefits, including helping with weight management, fighting certain cancers, and reducing inflammation.

Polyphenols can be found naturally in many foods, including honey, a variety of fruits and vegetables, red wine, chocolate, tea, certain oils and many types of grain.

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