It is reported that over 50 million Americans suffer from metabolic syndrome, according to the American Heart Association. However, there is exciting news about how a powerful antioxidant grape seed extract may help the millions of overweight Americans at risk for developing this syndrome.
A study presented at the American Chemical Society Meeting in March 2006 in Atlanta found that men and women with cardiovascular disease risk factors known as metabolic syndrome experienced a reduction in blood pressure after consuming grape seed extract.

Conducted by UC Davis cardiovascular researchers, the study was the first human clinical trial to assess the effect of grape seed extract on people with metabolic syndrome, a combination of risk factors that increase the risk for heart disease, including high blood pressure, excess abdominal body weight, high blood cholesterol fats and high blood sugar.

This study was undertaken to determine whether grape seed extracts that contain powerful vasodilator phenolic compounds lower blood pressure in subjects with the metabolic syndrome. The subjects were randomized into 3 groups-(a) placebo, (b) 150 mg GSE per day, and (c) 300 mg GSE per day-and treated for 4 weeks.

Serum lipids and blood glucose were measured at the beginning of the study and at the end. Blood pressure was recorded using an ambulatory monitoring device at the start of the treatment period and at the end.

After 4 weeks, both GSE supplemented groups experienced systolic blood pressure drops of 5 to 7 percent. This change was considered significant as no other dietary or lifestyle interventions were followed. Researchers believe that GSE and grape derived compounds including resveratrol can be used to prevent and treat hypertension based on the potent antioxidant load delivered by the fruit extracts.

These findings suggested that GSE could be used as a nutraceutical in a lifestyle modification program for patients with the metabolic syndrome. The finding was also reported at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology’s April 2006 meeting, held in San Francisco.

Grape seed extract is an anti-coagulant. As such, it may interfere with blood thinners and result in excessive bleeding. In addition, consumption of grape seed extract via red wine is not advised due to the risk of alcohol abuse and dependency.

Besides, drinking too much alcohol can cause HBP. Finally, the majority of studies involving grape seed extract have been performed on animals. Future studies are needed to determine its effects on blood pressure in humans.

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