Grape seed extract is the primary commercial source of a group of powerful antioxidants known as oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), also generically called pycnogenol, a class of flavonoids.
Laboratory studies have indicated OPCs are much more effective than vitamin C and vitamin E in neutralizing free oxygen radicals, which contribute to organ degeneration and aging in humans.
The primary sources of OPCs are pine bark extract and grape seed extract. However, the grape seed extract is more widely recommended for its lower cost and because it contains an antioxidant not found in pine bark.
A study published in 1998 by a team of researchers at Creighton University, Georgetown University Medical Center, and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, reported that grape seed extract significantly inhibited and sometimes killed human cancer cells, while promoting the growth of normal healthy cells.
The extract was effective in killing 34–48% of breast, lung, and stomach cancer cells. It was not effective in destroying leukemia cells.
Other studies have shown grape seed extract, combined with other antioxidants, can reduce the overall risk of developing cancer.
Grape seed extract has been found to be beneficial in treating several respiratory conditions, including asthma, emphysema, allergies, and sinusitis.
Pycnogenol helps inhibit the production of histamines, which decreases sensitivity to pollens and food allergens, thereby reducing allergic reactions.
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