header glossary of supplements

First, this is not to be confused with grapefruit seed extract, which is more topically applied and often used for household cleaning. Grape seed extract is taken orally via capsule, tablet, or liquid dose. Its best quality is linked to improving cardiovascular conditions. Grape seed extract has a long history, dipping into ancient Egyptian times. Then, people would use the juice from the grape itself as well as the sap from the leaves and branches to treat a multitude of illnesses from a sore throat and inflammation to smallpox and bleeding disorders. Even now, there are studies with promising outcomes, suggesting it can be used to fight certain cancers, including breast cancer. (via UMM) Click here to read about cancer-fighting foods.

grape seed extract

Photo Credit: The Sleuth Journal

This supplement is packed full of antioxidants from OPCs, otherwise known in the chemistry world as oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes. You’ll need to know this term when picking out dosage. So when they say your glass of red wine is actually healthy for you, it’s not far from the truth. However, one glass a day is plenty — the OPC concentration is very much diluted once it’s in wine form.

>> Read more about how red wine affects your health here.

Other health issues, like high blood pressure or high cholesterol can be responded to by this supplement. The evidence isn’t set in stone, but enough studies have shown regular consumption of the extract can decrease both bad cholesterol and high blood pressure levels, especially those linked to type 2 diabetes. It’s also an excellent form of defense against free radicals, those nasty molecules formed inside our bodies or absorbed from some environmental toxins. (via National Cancer Institute)

You only need to take one dose a day between 100 milligrams and 300 milligrams. When you’re picking up your first bottle, look for an OPC or polyphenol percentage of least 95 percent. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you’ll have to wait to take this supplement. Of course, talk to your doctor about incorporating this extract into your regimen. If you get the green light, be aware of side effects like headaches, nausea, dizziness, and an itchy scalp. If you’re allergic to grapes, definitely scratch this one off your list. (via WebMD)

To see the rest of our Glossary of Supplements, click here!