Red Wine Extract or Grapeseed
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(commonly known as Grapeseed Extract)
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Botanical:  Vitis vinifera
Family:  Vitaceae (grape)

Other common names:  Grapeseed Extract, OPCs (Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins), Muskat,

PCOs (Procyanidolic Oligomers)

" is a good familiar creature if it be well used."
- William Shakespeare

Red Wine Extract is said to be very beneficial in supporting cardiovascular health  by strengthening blood vessels, increasing blood circulation, lowering cholesterol and reducing platelet aggregation (clots) in the blood.  It is also considered one of the most powerful antioxidants  known to exist that helps to combat free radical damage and enhance immunity.  This is definitely one of "nature's finest."

The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Grapes appear to have originated in the Mediterannean regions of southern Europe and Middle East, thriving in deep, moist, humus-rich, neutral-to-alkaline soil in sun and warm climates; and the grape's hardiness varies according to the cultivar. Grapes were first cultivated near the Caspian Sea, and their use as food and drink had spread throughout the Mediterranean world before The Bible  was written. They were cultivated in Egypt over four thousand years ago, and even the ancient Greeks knew that wine possessed wonderful health benefits. Wine is the fermented juice of grapes, and it has been used in various cultures for almost five thousand years.  Egyptian records dating from 2500 B.C. refer to wines, and there are frequent references to wine in the Old Testament.  Wine was also used by early Minoan and Etruscan civilizations, and we can thank the Roman army for introducing the rootstocks and winemaking throughout Europe as they created an expanding Roman Empire.  Centuries later the role of wine for sacramental use in Christian churches helped to maintain the industry after the fall of the Roman Empire.  Modern science has now confirmed the health benefits included in occasional Red Wine consumption, and although you may not be enjoying the taste of this wondrous gift of nature, you will enjoy a convenient way to enjoy its many healthy benefits (without having to relinquish the keys to your car) in this easy supplement.  Red Wine Extracts (not white) possess high concentrations of oligomeric proanthocyanidins, including dimeric, trimeric and tetrameric OPCs, cathechin derivatives and other flavonoids (quercetin, apigenin) that confer high antioxidant and free radical benefits, as well as phenolic and polyphenolic compounds (including catechin and the all-important resveratrol, etc.) that combat platelet aggregation (clotting) in the blood.  Other constituents include proteins (leucine, arginine, cystine, phenylalanine, valine), tannins, lipids (palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic acids), sitosterol, phosphatidylserine, lecithin and vitamins C, A and E.

Beneficial Uses:
With regard to good coronary health, Red Wine Extract from Grapeseed has become a popular supplement for preventing heart disease and arteriosclerosis.  Numerous studies now say that the level of antioxidants may be a more significant factor than cholesterol levels in determining the risk of developing heart disease.  The powerful antioxidants, including resveratrol, in Red Wine Extract are said to help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol that ultimately leads to the process of arteriosclerosis, and the high flavonoid content in Red Wine Extract appears capable of significantly reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke.  Red Wine Extract is said to help reduce platelet aggregation (clotting) in the blood, thereby also reducing the risk of arteriosclerosis, stroke and heart attacks.  Moreover, it appears to raise the levels of high-density lipoproteins (increase HDLs or "good" cholesterol) in the blood, while lowering the low-density lipoproteins (decrease LDLs or "bad" cholesterol) and thereby help to prevent heart attacks and strokes.  The HDL is said to help clear the "bad" cholesterol from the arterial walls and help eliminate it from the body.  This action also helps to promote better circulation of blood throughout the body, especially to the heart.  Resveratrol increases nitric oxide levels, which helps relax artery walls, thus also helping to maintain good blood flow and improved circulation.

For good vascular health, Red Wine Extract is considered the best herbal supplement that will maintain the health of capillaries, through which the blood delivers nutrients to individual cells and carries away waste products. In 2012, research conducted by scientists from the University of Connecticut and Spain's University of Antioquia indicated that a standardized extract of polyphenols from Grape may improve blood vessel relaxation, blood pressure and overall vascular health in men with metabolic syndrome.

Red Wine Extract's Resveratrol is also said to improve peripheral blood circulation, resulting in less pain and swelling in arms, ankles and legs and fewer nighttime cramps.  Use of Red Wine Extract is thought to relieve numbness and tingling, as well as varicose veins.  When the walls of small blood vessels weaken, the fluids they transport leak out, causing swelling, and OPCs strengthen capillary walls by blocking the degradation of the two proteins that give them strength and elasticity, collagen and elastin.  This action stops edema and swelling.

Red Wine Extract is believed to significantly improve circulation, which benefits both cardiac and cerebral function.  Because resveratrol increases nitric oxide levels, it helps to relax and dilate artery walls, allowing blood to flow more freely to the heart and  the brain.  The body naturally produces nitric oxide from a common dietary amino acid, L-arginine, but if levels are insufficient, resveratrol is said to boost nitric oxide levels thus working to promote better circulation and blood flow to the brain.  Furthermore, because OPCs are able to cross the blood-brain barrier, they can protect the brain and spinal nerves against free radical damage.  Recent studies indicate that Red Wine Extract's compounds (OPCs) may also be helpful in inhibiting Alzheimer's disease and dementia and possibly improving cognitive and brain function (particularly in women).  Research (2008) from UCLA and Mt. Sinai Schools of Medicine have indicated that resveratrol can be protective in cases of Alzheimer's disease.  In animal models, the neurology team studied beta amyloid, the proteins that build up in Alzheimer's affected brains, and found that the polyphenols (resveratrol) from Red Wine-Grapeseed extract blocked precursor proteins from sticking together to form the toxic beta amyloid protein, as well decreased the ability of the beta amyloid protein to damage neurons.  This worked when treating the neurons prior to toxic damage and suggested that administration of the compound to Alzheimer's patients might block the development of these toxic aggregates, prevent disease development and also ameliorate existing Alzheimer's disease.  Pursuant to this, researchers have shown that resveratrol reduces oxidative stress in nerve cells and may protect against age-related nerve changes.

As one of the finest antioxidants found in nature, Red Wine Extract from Grapeseed supports the immune system and works to combat and reduce free radical damage to cells and tissue and defend the body against serious malignant disease and infection.   This herbal supplement contains resveratrol and is an important source of nature's most potent antioxidants, tannin compounds called proanthocyanidins (also called OPCs for oligomeric procyanidins or PCOs for procyanidolic oligomers) that provide a high degree of antioxidant capacity, which fight free radical damage in the body.  These compounds allow the body's cells to absorb vitamin C, which is helpful in protecting cells from the free radicals that can bind to and destroy cellular compounds.  Such qualities are believed to be helpful in building the immune system and fighting invasive material and other infections.  They are classified as flavonols, and the way in which these versatile healing compounds are distinct from flavonoids is their simple chemical structure, which allows them to be readily absorbed into the bloodstream.  They work actively against fat-soluble and water-soluble oxidants, thus protecting the cells from damage. OPCs may also be derived from Pine Bark (the original source) and are present in Pomegranate, Hops, various flowers, fruits, berries, nuts and beans.  Clinical tests suggest that OPCs may be as much as fifty times more potent than vitamin E and twenty times more potent than vitamin C in terms of bioavailabile antioxidant activity.  Studies have shown that Red Wine Extract not only enhances the development of normal cells, but may also inhibit abnormal cell growth.  Furthermore, Red Wine/Grapeseed tannins may even stimulate cell renewal by interfering with mucosal proteins.

In a study from the University of Kentucky Graduate Center for Toxicology and published in the January, 2009, issue of Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, scientists found that Red Wine extract stimulated leukemia cells to commit suicide, a process called cell apoptosis.  A number of studies have already revealed that eating fruit and vegetables helps to prevent cancer, and previous research has shown Red Wine extract has an effect on skin, breast, bowel, lung, stomach and prostate cancer cells, which is llikely due to the presence of proanthocyanidins, a family of antioxidant compounds and a class of polyphenols. Red Wine contains a number of antioxidants, including resveratrol, which is known to have anti-cancer properties, as well as positive effect on the heart.  In lab experiments, within twenty-four hours, 76% of leukemia cells exposed to the extract were killed off, while healthy cells were unharmed.  The University of Kentucky study is the first to test Red Wine-Grapeseed extract's impact on a blood cancer, and these results could have implications for the incorporation of agents such as Red Wineextract into prevention or treatment of hematological (blood) malignancies and possibly other cancers.

According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, the resveratrol content and a class of enzymes known as sirtuins in Red Wine Grapes have been shown to enhance cell survival during times of stress, delay cell death and extend life.  It may be a way to boost the principal "anti-ageing" enzyme in living cells.  The researchers claim that resveratrol, which has already been credited with Red Wine’s ability to lower the risk of heart disease and cancer, may be the most potent anti-ageing booster ever discovered.   Echoing above research, the University of Missouri show resveratrol as a means to reduce oxidative stress in nerve cells and may protect against age-related nerve changes.

In 2009, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School showed that increased intake of the flavonoid apigenin, found in Red Wine (and celery, parsley and cooked or processed tomato), may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by twenty percent in a large, population-based study.  The mechanism included an inhibitory effect on endogenous estrogen activity or a reduction on circulating estrogen levels via competition for estrogen receptors or suppression of estrogen biosynthesis.

Macular degeneration may be slowed by the use of Red Wine Extract, and it may also reduce myopia and improve vision that is stressed by computer screens or glare.

Red Wine Extract's OPCs are said to promote tissue regeneration, strengthen and repair connective tissue, enhance collagen production, revitalize ageing skin and promote tissue elasticity, all of which also helps to reduce the tendency to bruise easily and increases the healing of injuries.

Test tube research has shown that the polyphenols in Red Wine Extract inhibit the growth of the Streptococcus mutans  bacteria that causes tooth decay.  Other research has indicated that the Resveratrol content in Red Wine Extract may be more effective in combatting three strains of bacteria that cause diarrhea than several over-the-counter antidiarrheal medicines.

Red Wine Extract is said to reduce histamine production, thus moderating allergic and inflammatory responses, and this action has helped many allergy sufferers.

Recent research at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus by professor Sidhartha D. Ray of the University’s Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Science indicates that Red Wine Extract may protect the liver from damage caused by toxic doses of acetaminophen (a non-prescription pain reliever).

According to recent research (2008) from Peninsula Medical School, England, the resveratrol found in Red Wine, Grape Skin and Pine Bark can protect against cellular damage to blood vessels caused by high production of glucose in diabetes, claiming Resveratrol's antioxidant effects are well documented. But the new research establishes the link between high levels of glucose, its damaging effect on cell structure and the ability of resveratrol to protect against and mend that damage.  Moreover, resveratrol could be used to block the damaging effect of glucose, which, in turn, might fight the often life threatening complications that accompany diabetes.  It may potentially be the basis of effective diet-based therapies for the prevention of vascular damage caused by hyperglycemia in the future.

Do not take Red Wine Extract Herbal Supplement if you have anemia or if you are taking blood-thinning medication (aspirin, Coumadin, etc.).  Since the tannin content of Grapeseed is high, it may counter the effects of iron supplements and should be taken at a different time.

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