(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — Adding grape seed extract to the diet may prevent atherosclerosis, according to three studies conducted by cardiovascular researchers at UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center. The studies, which were presented at the Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego in April, reinforce previous research findings on the beneficial effects of grape seed extract on cardiovascular health.
“Grape seed extract is a powerful antioxidant and has a significant effect on atherosclerosis,” says C. Tissa Kappagoda M.D., professor of cardiovascular medicine at UC Davis. “Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, occurs when cholesterol builds up in artery walls, limiting the ability of the arteries to expand and contract as blood passes through them. Our studies on guinea pigs found that grape seed extract keeps cholesterol from accumulating in the arteries.”
In two of the studies, guinea pigs were used to compare the cholesterol accumulation caused by high-fat diets to those resulting from high-fat diets supplemented with grape seed extract. After 12 weeks, the cholesterol accumulation in the animals’ tissues was significantly lower in the group that received the grape seed extract.
Results of the third study, done in-vitro, showed that fatty acids found in coconut oil, which generally contribute to atherosclerosis, had an inhibitory effect on endothelial function in rabbit aortas. Grape seed extract reversed this effect.
The grape seed extract used in this experiment contains an oxygen radical absorbance capacity, or ORAC value, 1000 times higher than that of grape juice. ORAC is a standardized test adopted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to measure the total antioxidant potency of foods and nutritional supplements.
Polyphenolics, a division of Constellation Wines U.S. and a leading manufacturer of ingredients for the nutritional and beverage industries, funded the research. Its extracts are produced in Constellation Wines U.S. wineries in California from unfermented grapes, using a patented, solvent-free, water extraction process. For more information, call 480-883-6716 or visit www.polyphenolics.com.