After reading this article, you’ll stop throwing away the seeds when eating grapes. Grape seed extract is bursting with antioxidants that prevent heart disease, brain damage, cancer, and skin aging. Here’s how this gift of nature can transform your health and how to use it safely.
What Is Grape Seed Extract?
Grapes and other berries abound with specific polyphenols, proanthocyanidins. They are responsible for the dry mouth sensation you get from drinking red wine or berry juice, but they also deliver an array of health benefits .
Supplement manufacturers usually source grape seeds from winemakers, and they extract proanthocyanidins and other healthy components.
For other grape seed products and their uses, check out the FAQ section below.
How It Works
Oxidative stress lurks as an underlying cause of many health conditions. Grape seeds are among the best sources of powerful antioxidants, proanthocyanidins, which build oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs) with unique health benefits [4, 5, 6, 7].
Phenolic acids and flavonoids from grape seeds also combat oxidative damage .
- Relieves inflammation and allergies
- Kills microbes and cancer cells
- Protects healthy cells against toxins and radiation
Snapshot of Grape Seed Extract
- Prevents heart disease
- Protects the brain
- Combats cancer
- May enhance weight loss
- Protects the liver and kidneys
- Supports hair growth
- May boost testosterone
- May help with diabetes, asthma, and IBD
- Most benefits lack clinical evidence
- May not be safe for children and pregnant women
- May interact with blood thinners and other medications
Health Benefits of Grape Seed Extract
1) Supports the Heart and Blood Vessels
One-month supplementation with grape seed extract (2 g daily) protected blood vessels of 36 people. The extract boosted the production of nitric oxide and reduced free-radical damage .
In different clinical trials on 130+ people, grape seed extract cut the risk of heart disease by lowering oxidative stress and inflammation. It blocked the oxidation of LDL (“bad cholesterol”) in blood vessels. Oxidized LDL is dangerous as it can trigger plaque buildup or atherosclerosis [16, 17, 18, 19, 20].
- LDL oxidation
- Clogging and hardening
- Drug-induced damage
- Damage due to heart attack
- Lead poisoning
In deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot can travel to the lungs and cause a life-threatening condition known as pulmonary embolism .
In rats with this condition, grape seed extract prevented the formation of blood clots and reduced their ability to clog the veins .
There is sufficient evidence to conclude that grape seed extract can help lower your blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease. For the review of optimal doses, see “Grape Seed Dosage” below.
2) Lowers the Risk of Cancer
In a large observational study (over 35K people), the use of grape seed extract cut the risk of prostate cancer by 41% .
An even larger sample (over 65K people) from the same trial revealed extract users were at 43% lower risk of leukemia (blood cancers) .
Plus, this extract inhibited the growth of many other cancer types in lab animals, such as:
- Colon cancer (by 44 – 88%) [38, 39]
- Lung cancer [40, 41]
- Prostate cancer (by 50%) 
- Breast cancer 
- Liver cancer 
Combinations with Standard Treatment
Chemotherapy and radiation as standard cancer treatments are facing enormous challenges, such as poor efficacy and significant adverse effects .
In rats exposed to radiation, grape seed extract maintained the levels of crucial antioxidants (GSH, retinol, B-carotene). What’s more, it blocked free radicals from damaging important cell-protective fats better than vitamin E (i.e. it prevented lipid peroxidation). It also shielded human lung cells against radiation in test tubes [54, 55].
- Gut inflammation
- Testicular damage
- Kidney damage
- Impaired immunity
- Heart failure
Grape seed extract may combat different types of cancer and improve standard cancer treatment, but clinical trials still haven’t confirmed these findings.
3) Boosts Mental Health
In over 100 older patients, supplementation with grape seed extract enhanced cognition and reduced the symptoms of stress and depression .
The main feature of Alzheimer’s disease is age-related cognitive decline caused by protein mutations and free-radical damage in the brain .
Polyphenols from grapes and blueberries (600 mg daily for 6 months) relieved cognitive decline and memory loss in 215 older patients. This potent antioxidant mixture showed the same results in mice [64, 65].
- Stopping free-radical damage in the hippocampus (the brain’s memory hub)
- Raising the levels of antioxidants
- Preventing protein mutations
- Boosting the animals’ cognition and memory
4) Protects the Liver
In 15 patients with fatty liver, grape seed extract dropped liver enzymes and reversed fat buildup. It showed better results than vitamin C. But such a small sample prevents us from drawing firm conclusions from this study .
Thanks to its strong antioxidant action, grape seed extract shielded the liver of lab animals from impairment caused by:
- Bile duct obstruction [71, 72]
- Heavy metals [73, 74]
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 
- Cut blood supply 
- Chemicals 
5) Protects the Kidneys
In a clinical trial on 33 patients with kidney disease, grape seed extract enhanced kidney function by providing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support. This study had a small sample size and uneven randomization, making the results questionable .
- Lowering markers of inflammation (IL-1B, TNF-a, MCP-1)
- Raising protective molecules (HDL, NO, cGMP)
- Boosting kidney function (reducing creatinine, urea, and uric acid)
- Preventing LDL oxidation and its buildup
6) Combats Hair Loss
Grape seeds contain procyanidins – powerful antioxidants that support hair growth. An extract of procyanidins (from Annurca apple) boosted hair growth in a trial on 250 men .
These results are promising, but we still lack clinical trials to confirm its benefits for hair loss.
7) Supports Weight Loss
In 51 overweight patients, grape seed extract slightly reduced food intake but didn’t impact appetite. This study lasted only 3 days and had a small sample size .
- Blocked fat buildup and production in the liver
- Enhanced fat burning
- Lowered the levels of cholesterol and blood lipids
Overall, it seems to be a promising natural tool for fighting obesity and related diseases.
But one study revealed puzzling results. Low doses of grape seed extract increased body fat in pregnant rats and their offspring when combined with a high-fat diet. However, the extract improved their inflammatory profile. In a previous study on breastfeeding rats, higher doses of the extract reduced obesity [93+].
It may be that only higher doses of the extract have obesity-fighting benefits. Or it could be that these extracts need to be standardized to a specific active compound [93+].
Well-designed clinical trials should clear up the conflicting effects of grape seed extract on weight loss and fat burning.
Health Benefits with Limited Evidence
Grape seed extract showed the following benefits in animal and cell studies only.
8) Reproductive Health and Testosterone Levels
- Chemo and other drugs
- Toxic chemicals
According to some animal studies, grape seed extract can inhibit an enzyme called aromatase. Aromatase converts male sex hormones (androgens) to female sex hormones (estrogens). This effect may raise the levels of testosterone and protect against breast cancer [98, 99].
That said, grape seed powder had no significant effects on sex hormones in 18 women. It even caused a mild increase in estrogen .
In diabetic rats, grape seed extract lowered blood glucose, cholesterol, and lipids while boosting insulin secretion and antioxidant support .
Plus, grape seed extract protected diabetic rats and mice against an array of complications, such as:
- Heart disease [104, 105, 106]
- Bladder dysfunction 
- Brain damage 
- Neuropathy (nerve damage) 
- Lung impairment 
- Nephropathy (kidney damage) 
In test tubes, it inhibited carb absorption by blocking 2 crucial enzymes in the gut. One of these enzymes is called alpha-amylase, and its function is to break down complex carbs. By blocking it, grape seed extract would reduce sugar absorption and blood levels after starchy meals .
10) Joint and Bone Health
In rats and mice with rheumatoid arthritis, grape seed extract improved the symptoms and reduced autoimmune joint destruction. It lowered the levels of inflammatory molecules (TNF-a, IL-17, IL-21, ICAM-1) and silenced Th1 and Th17 autoimmune responses [113, 114, 115, 116, 117].
In another study, it protected rats against a different joint disease, osteoarthritis. The extract reduced joint pain and cartilage degradation .
11) Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Widespread autoimmune inflammation and oxidative stress cause severe gut damage in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, the 2 main forms of IBD. Antioxidants are among new promising IBD treatments .
- Tightened the gut lining
- Cut the levels of inflammatory markers (TNF-a, IL1B, IL-6)
- Restored the gut microbiome
- Reduced oxidative stress
12) Asthma and Allergies
13) Bacterial Infections
Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) from the cell wall of gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia, Salmonella, Pseudomonas, etc.) can trigger inflammation and cause different symptoms of bacterial infections .
In test tubes, grape seed extract suppressed the growth of :
- Bacillus cereus (causes diarrhea and foodborne illnesses)
- Staphylococcus aureus (infects the skin, lungs, and soft tissues)
- Escherichia coli (triggers UTIs and gut infection)
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa (causes dangerous infections in hospitals)
What’s more, it killed drug-resistant superbugs known as MRSA in one cell experiment .
Benefits of Grape Seed Extract for the Skin
Powerful antioxidants from grape seeds have some visible perks, too. They protect your skin against free radicals, improve complexion, and enhance wound healing.
14) Sun Protection
The skin of volunteers treated with grape seed extract before UV exposure had fewer mutated and damaged cells and more healthy ones .
In 12 women, supplementation with grape seed extract (200 mg daily for 6 months) lightened the skin and reduced face spots .
Its combination with other antioxidants boosted skin complexion in 35 women. They were able to get rid of dark circles, face spots, and other skin imperfections. The majority of women (82%) were satisfied with the results .
Men are no excuse when it comes to anti-aging properties of grape seed extract. Cream with 2% of the extract reduced the signs of skin aging in a clinical trial on 110 men .
16) Wound Healing
In 40 patients recovering from a surgery, a cream with grape seed extract enhanced wound healing by stimulating VEGF production, blocking oxidative damage, and fighting microbes. It showed the same effect in 2 animal studies [144, 145, 146].
Using Grape Seed Extract
Grape Seed Extract Dosage
The following dosage of grape seed extract had benefits in clinical trials:
- Antioxidant support: 600 mg daily for 5 days 
- Blood pressure and heart disease: 300 – 2,000 mg for 4+ weeks [12, 13, 19]
- Mental health and cognition: 250 mg daily for 12 weeks 
- Food intake reduction: 300 mg, 30-60 mins before a meal 
- Kidney disease: 2,000 mg daily for 6 months 
- Skin appearance: 200 mg daily for 6 months 
- Anti-age: 2% GSE cream, 2x daily for 2 months 
- Wound healing: 2% GSE cream, 2x daily for 3 weeks 
Grape Seed Extract Side Effects & Safety
Grape seeds and other foods rich in polyphenols may hinder iron absorption. To avoid iron deficiency, don’t take grape seed extract supplements with iron-rich foods (meat, legumes, greens). If you do, include vitamin C to boost iron absorption [151, 152].
Children and pregnant women may want to avoid grape seed extract because we still lack evidence of its safety in these sensitive groups.
- Anti-seizure drugs
- Antidepressants (SSRIs)
- Antifungal drugs (azoles)
Grape seed extract prevents blood clotting, which may interfere with blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin). No studies have confirmed this interaction.
Always consult with your doctor before taking any supplement, including grape seed extract – especially if you take prescription medication.
Grape Seed Extract Reviews
Grape seed extract supplements are very popular; people take them for high blood pressure, varicose veins, swelling, etc. Most user reviews of grape seed extract are positive, though some of them experienced only mild benefits.
Older men report positive results for prostate health and libido while women often use it in skincare. Side effects are not common, and they include mild headache, nausea, and skin irritation.
So I don’t take it daily, but I think taking a supplement with proanthocyanidins is important, especially for people who don’t get enough antioxidants through their diet.
Grape Seed Extract FAQ
Does Grape Seed Extract Contain Resveratrol?
Resveratrol is another powerful antioxidant from grapes with a broad spectrum of health benefits. However, grape seed extract is not a good source of resveratrol since resveratrol mainly comes from grape skin .
Grape Seed Extract vs. Oil vs. Flour
Grape seed extract is a concentrated source of antioxidant proanthocyanidins and has the most potent health effects.
Grape seed oil contains healthy fats, fat-soluble vitamins, and a fraction of antioxidants from the seeds. It shares some health benefits with the extract, but its main uses are in cooking (nutrition) and skincare.
Grape seed flour is a byproduct of oil extraction from the seeds. It contains antioxidants, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients, which makes it a healthy addition to baked goods.
Grape Seed Extract For Dogs
Grape Seed Extract Supplement Forms
Grape seed extract supplements usually contain pills with 120 – 400 mg of the extract. Bulk powders and liquid grape seed extracts are also available. Some products are standardized to 95% of proanthocyanidins.
Cosmetics such as face and eye creams can contain grape seed extract, though grapeseed oil is a more common ingredient in skincare.
Buy Grape Seed Extract
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Grape seed extract is loaded with antioxidant proanthocyanidins. It can lower your blood pressure, prevent cognitive decline, and cut your risk of cancer.
Supplements and creams with grape seed extract can rejuvenate your skin, remove face spots, and enhance wound healing.
The evidence is limited when it comes to its benefits for hair growth, weight loss, liver support, testosterone boosting, and others.
Overall, it’s a safe all-around supplement for combating oxidative stress and supporting wellness. Children and pregnant women should avoid it just in case.
The optimal dosage ranges from 300 – 2,000 mg daily. Opt for a standardized product with 95% proanthocyanidins.