Grape seed extract and rheumatoid arthritis
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
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Grape seed, known as Vitis vinifera and Vitis coignetiae, has become a popular dietary supplement.
The ancient Greeks believed that wine had health benefits, and science has confirmed that wine has useful properties.
The oil pressed from grape seeds contains a number of essential fatty acids and is rich in vitamin E compounds.
The most interesting ingredients in grape seeds are the polyphenols (catechins). These tannin compounds, also called procyanidins, leucoanthocyanins, pycnogenols, or oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC), are powerful antioxidants. Commercial extracts are generally standardized for OPC content.
OPCs are antioxidants that help neutralize unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals. Although the majority of the studies conducted on GSE (and OPCs) have been done in cell culture and animals, their ability to reduce free radical damage and oxidative stress suggest that they may be particularly effective in reducing the risk of chronic diseases associated with aging. Free oxygen radicals, which are by-products of cell metabolism, have been found in excessive amounts in RA joints and are believed to contribute to joint damage.
Grape leaves and presumably seeds also contain flavonoids, and the skin and seeds are the source of several compounds known as 5-nucleotidase inhibitors.
Grape seed oil can be used for cooking. It is rich in omega-6 fatty acids.
Grape seed is believed to benefit circulation. In animals it reduces capillary permeability and presumably has similar activity in humans.
Another potential benefit of grape seed extract is anti-inflammatory activity. Grape seeds have tremendous antioxidant activity. Antioxidants soak up and destroy free radicals. Free radicals are what cause much of the damage in inflammatory and degenerative diseases.
Proanthocyanidins (flavonoids)-grape seed and pine bark extract are powerful antioxidants and collagen protectors.
In theory, grape seed may increase the risk of bleeding when used with anticoagulants (blood thinners) or antiplatelet drugs. Examples include warfarin (Coumadin), heparin and clopidogrel (Plavix). Some pain relievers may also increase the risk of bleeding if used with grape seed. Examples include aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve).
Grape seed may interact with prescription drugs, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, methotrexate, allopurinol and cholesterol-lowering drugs. There is evidence that grape seed may interfere with the way the liver breaks down certain drugs. As a result, grape seed may cause the levels of drugs in the body to be too high, leading to serious side effects.
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