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Polyphenol-Rich Grape Extract May Reduce Metabolic Syndrome Risk

Metabolic syndrome (MetS) effects 32% of American adults and has been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes. Researchers from the University of Connecticut and the University of Antioquia have released a study suggesting that polyphenol-rich grape powder may reduce systolic blood pressure and result in improved blood vessel health, two of the risk factors for MetS.

Metabolic syndrome is the group of risk factors that contribute to coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. These risk factors include high blood pressure, insulin resistance, large waist circumference, high triglyceride levels and high cholesterol.”

Twenty-four men with MetS consumed either a freeze-dried grape polyphenol powder or a placebo for one month, completed a three week washout period, and then switched interventions. After one month, the researchers found that the grape extract group showed an average 122.6 mmHg systolic blood pressure, while the placebo group showed a 128 mmHg measurement.

Flow-mediated dilation (FMD) in the extract group increased by 1.7%, and the inflammatory marker soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 was reduced. No change was recorded in the placebo group. Decreased FMD is considered to be a predictor of future adverse cardiovascular events.

The study was published online ahead of print on July 18, 2012, in the Journal of Nutrition.

The effects noted here are most likely due to the high number of the antioxidants known as polyphenols that are found in grape extract. They have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-carcinogenic properties. Polyphenols are also found in plant foods, tea, coffee and chocolate.

Previous studies have suggested that polyphenols may help lower cardiovascular disease risk and aid in weight management.

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