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Grape Seed Extract Shows Blood Pressure and Glucose Lowering Potential

Two studies were recently conducted examining the effects of grape seed extract on blood pressure and inflammation. They found that grape seed extract lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people with pre-hypertension, and lowered glycemic response to a meal high in fat and carbohydrates in people with metabolic syndrome.

Pre-hypertension (higher than normal blood pressure) is an early warning sign that you may develop high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, coronary heart disease and kidney failure.

The 32 participants in the study took either a placebo or 300 mg daily of grape seed extract for eight weeks. The researchers measured blood pressure, serum lipids and blood glucose at the beginning and end of the study.

For the participants who took the grape seed extract, systolic blood pressure was lowered by 8 mmHg and diastolic pressure by 5 mmHg. No change in blood pressure was seen in the placebo group. Additionally, there were no significant changes found in serum lipids or blood glucose in either group.

The other study examined the effects of grape seed extract on oxidative stress and inflammation in people with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is an affliction often found in overweight and obese people. It is characterized by high blood pressure, too much fat around the waist, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, higher blood triglycerides, and higher blood sugar.

12 individuals with metabolic syndrome participated in the study. The participants fasted overnight and then consumed a high-fat, high-carb breakfast. The researchers administered a grape seed extract supplement or a placebo to the participants one hour before the breakfast.

Changes in plasma insulin, glucose, oxidative stress and inflammatory markers were measured every hour for the six hours following the meal. The researchers found improved antioxidant status and lower glycemic response to the meal.

The first study was conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis, and was published in the December 2012 issue of Functional Foods in Health and Disease.

The second study was conducted by researchers at the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of California Davis. It was published online ahead of print on November 2, 2012, in the Journal of Pharmacy and Nutrition Sciences.

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 a many types of grain. A healthy and balanced diet can help ensure you consume an adequate amount of polyphenols.

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