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Grape Extracts Keep Bacteria at Bay


In a new study researchers from Clemson University found various grape extracts and their compounds to be effective at inhibiting Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacteria responsible for most stomach ulcers and many cases of chronic gastritis (inflammation of the stomach).

As many as half of the world's population is infected with H. pylori. Those living in developing countries or crowded, unsanitary conditions are most likely to contract the bacteria, which is passed from person to person. H. pylori only grows in the intestines and is usually contracted during childhood.

Many people have this organism in their gastrointestinal tract but don't get an ulcer or gastritis. It seems that other factors must also be present for the damage to take place. The factors that increase your risk for an ulcer from H. pylori include abnormal immune response in your intestines, as well certain lifestyle habits, like coffee drinking, smoking, and ongoing stress.

Antibiotic therapy has proven effective at providing initial relief, however resistance can develop over time and relapse can occur. Previous studies have examined other natural plant extracts with anti-H. pylori activity such as garlic, broccoli, cranberries and green tea, however, grapes had yet to be evaluated despite being well known for their high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols.

In the new study the antibacterial effects of extracts from red, white, black and muscadine grapes as well as the pure compounds resveratrol, ellagic acid, and myricetin were tested for anti-H. pylori activity using agar dilution, laser scanning microscopy and cell proliferation. Following 24-hour treatment, results showed that muscadine grape skin extract had the highest anti-H. pylori effect, followed by muscadine grape synergy and seed extract. Additionally, two of the three compounds, resveratrol and ellagic acid, also inhibited H. pylori.

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