The health effects of grapes have recently been attributed to the presence of antioxidants, and the seeds of grapes contain many of these healing compounds. Grape seeds have been pressed for their oil for several centuries, used as a popular skin treatment and cosmetics ingredient, and as a carrier oil for treatment with essential oils and aromatherapy. Grape seed extract and grape seed oil include beneficial and negative side effects, although the benefits far outweigh the reported harmful effects.
Grape seed extracts have a variety of positive effects on the body, and are taken internally and used topically. Grape seed extract contains powerful phytochemicals, including polyphenols and proanthocyanidins.
Grape seed oil is also used as a part of a dietary approach to health, replacing partially hydrogenated oils that can be a source of transfatty acids. Grape seed oil is not a skin irritant.
Supplement Side Effects
Grape seed extract is a safe supplement taken as a pill or a capsule. Effects of the treatment are best seen in the circulatory system, and include healing and supporting healthy blood vessels. The antioxidants in grape seed extract may prevent cancer. Grape seed extract is useful for its effects on high blood pressure, artherosclerosis, vision problems, and reducing cholesterol and swelling.
Grape seed extract has been found to be safe for prolonged use, longer than eight weeks, with few side effects. Reported side effects include dry scalp, nausea and dizziness.
Skin Side Effects
Grape seed oil is used in many cosmetics and is fairly benign. It's a traditional remedy for stretch marks and can be used on delicate areas of the face, such as under the eyes. Grape seed oil is high in vitamin E and spreads well on the skin.
Linoleic acid, a main component of grape seed oil, has been used for decades to treat eczema and dry skin. The emollient effect of grape seed oil lubricates the skin and it's used by massage therapists.
Dietary Side Effects
Side effects of using grape seed oil to prepare food are hard to quantify. The oil is a rich source of omega-6 fatty acids, which are polyunsaturated fatty acids.
A diet high in polyunsaturated fatty acids has been linked to a decrease in the production of DHA, an important nutrient for brain cell development. Polyunsaturated oils can also lower "good" HDL cholesterol as well as the "bad" LDL cholesterol.
The linoleic acid in grape seed oil can reduce complications from diabetes when added to the diet.
Grape seed extract may interfere with prescription and over-the-counter medication, but possible interactions haven't been studied. The antioxidants in grape seeds may boost the active ingredients in prescription blood thinning medication, and slow down blood clotting, so use under a doctor's supervision.
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