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The Benefits of Grape Seed Extract
As you might expect, the supplement known as grape seed extract is extracted from the seeds, and sometimes the skins as well, of red grapes. These are the same kind of red grapes used to make wine, and the same grapes thought to provide the health benefits that allow the French to eat a fatty diet while staying free of the rampant heart disease that afflicts Americans and other westerners.
Grape seed extract has been used extensively throughout Europe, and it is known to be a rich source of flavonoids, those phytochemicals whose antioxidant properties may exceed those of the more well known vitamin A and vitamin E. Antioxidants are thought to play a role in the prevention of many diseases, due to their ability to reduce the damage done by free radicals in the body.
The most valuable of these flavonoids are thought to be the procyanidolic oligomers. These compounds are known to be strong antioxidants, and they are also thought to help improve blood flow and strengthen the blood vessels. This increased blood circulation may help to strengthen and protect the heart.
This effect on blood flow makes supplementation with grape seed extract a good idea for those who are likely to benefit from increased blood flow. This includes those with leg cramps, diabetes, varicose veins and numbness of the legs and arms. The increased blood flow may even help to treat erectile dysfunction. In addition, eye diseases common to the elderly, like cataracts and macular degeneration, may be prevented by grape seed extract. Grape seed extract is also believed to help combat less serious eye problems such as eye strain.
Grape seed extract is often rubbed directly on the skin as well, and doing so may help people maintain the elasticity of the skin. Many skin creams manufactured in Europe add grape seed extract for just that purpose.
Some studies have shown as well that grape seed extract may help to minimize the damage done by fibromyalgia. This disorder, characterized by its chronic muscle pain and stiffness, does not respond to many traditional treatments, but there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that grape seed oil may be an effective treatment for some sufferers.
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