Grape Seed Extract - Health Benefits, Uses and Safety

Grape Seed Extract - Health Benefits, Uses and Safety

Grape seed extract is made from the seeds of the well-known plant, Vitis vinifera. The fruits of this plant are used to make wine, and it is widespread in the Mediterranean and other warm geographical areas. 

The grape seed extract is made by drying and pulverizing grape seeds, full of antioxidants and other bioactive molecules. Read more and find out what are the benefits of taking grape seed extract supplements

What is grape seed extract good for?

There is enough scientific evidence to support several health benefits that grape seed extract (GSE) offers and many new potential uses are to be discovered and confirmed. 

These can be summarized as the following claims:

  • GSE lowers high blood pressure and increases blood flow,
  • GSE reduces oxidative damage,
  • GSE can improve memory and brain function,
  • GSE may prevent skin aging and improve healing.

Grape Seed Extract - Active Ingredients

The bioactive compounds of GSE mostly belong to the chemical group of proanthocyanidins. These molecules are what give grapes their deep red color, and have excellent antioxidative properties. 

Other represented groups in GSE are phenols, flavonoids, and catechins. As GSE is prepared by cold-pressing the grape seeds, the activity of these molecules is not affected (1). 

Due to their chemical structure, active compounds of GSE exhibit the following properties:

  • antioxidative,
  • anti-diabetic,
  • anti-cholesterol,
  • anti-inflammatory,
  • anti-aging,
  • anti-microbial. 

Of course, grape seeds will only potentially exhibit all of these properties because the concentration of the active compounds is rather small. However, the extract will be more concentrated and potent

Grape Seed Extract - Uses

One of the proven health benefits of GSE is its positive effect on heart health and oxidative damage, and that is the area where most human trials have been conducted. Even if other areas, such as liver and kidney function, haven't been so thoroughly examined in comparison, GSE showed a lot of potential there as well.

Keep reading and find out what can GSE do for your health. 

GSE benefits heart health and blood flow

The most prominent power GSE possesses is the ability to reduce high blood pressure, and this effect happened even with lower doses of 100-800 mg of the supplement. This benefit was proven in more than 17 different human trials (2). 

Moreover, a 12-week study on 61 generally healthy subjects who took either no supplements or 200 or 400 mg of GSE daily, found that GSE can significantly decrease the concentration of malondialdehyde-modified LDL, and protect the blood vessels from atherosclerosis (3)

Two separate studies found isolated active compounds from GSE to be beneficial to healthy and menopausal women in preventing blood clot formation (4, 5).  

GSE reduces oxidative damage

Oxidative stress happens because of superoxidated oxygen atoms which can inflict damage on cellular DNA, proteins, membranes and organelles. Antioxidants work by binding to reactive oxygen species and neutralizing them. 

Since GSE has many compounds that exhibit antioxidative effects, it works against oxidative damage in our bodies, and this has been proven in many test models. Some studies found that taking GSE prevents the oxidation of fats in blood after eating (6, 7). 

GSE has an anti-aging effect on the skin

The first noticed effect of GSE on skin was improved wound healing. This was recorded in a study performed on healthy adults who underwent a smaller surgery procedure and used a cream containing 2% GSE (8). 

The same topical cream improved skin elasticity when applied by 110 healthy men over the course of 8 weeks (9). Other studies found GSE reduces the appearance of wrinkles, skin blemishes, dark circles and redness (10)

When proanthocyanins from GSE penetrate the skin bilayer, they can stabilize collagen and maintain elastin (11). This might be the reason why GSE exhibits an anti-aging effect on skin, even though it needs more evidence from human trials.  

GSE improves cognitive function

Antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of GSE extend from the heart onto the brain. One study found that taking 150 mg of GSE daily improved cognitive function and prevented memory loss after 3 months (12). 

Grape Seed Extract - Side Effects

Grape seed extract tablets are generally safe and well-tolerated. However, the safety has only been tested for up to a year and no long-term side effects are known. Some side effects that were documented were:

  • dizziness,
  • nausea,
  • headache. 

The safe tested dosage was up to 1000 mg daily, but most frequently used doses are up to 400 mg a day (3)

People who suffer from bleeding disorders, and pregnant and breastfeeding women should stay away from GSE supplements. Everyone who would like to start taking it should consult themselves with a doctor. 

The best time to take grape seed extract would be before a meal and preferably throughout the morning, to ensure a continuous daily release of active ingredients. 



  1. Ma ZF, Zhang H. Phytochemical Constituents, Health Benefits, and Industrial Applications of Grape Seeds: A Mini-Review. Antioxidants (Basel). 2017 Sep 15;6(3):71. doi: 10.3390/antiox6030071. PMID: 28914789; PMCID: PMC5618099.
  2. Zhang H, Liu S, Li L, Liu S, Liu S, Mi J, Tian G. The impact of grape seed extract treatment on blood pressure changes: A meta-analysis of 16 randomized controlled trials. Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Aug;95(33):e4247. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000004247. PMID: 27537554; PMCID: PMC5370781.
  3. Amaki T., Suzuki T., Nakamura F., Hayashi D., Imai Y., Morita H., Fukino K., Nojiri T., Kitano S., Hibi N., et al. Circulating malondialdehyde modified LDL is a biochemical risk marker for coronary artery disease. Heart. 2004;90:1211–1213. doi: 10.1136/hrt.2003.018226.
  4. Shenoy SF, Keen CL, Kalgaonkar S, Polagruto JA. Effects of grape seed extract consumption on platelet function in postmenopausal women. Thromb Res. 2007;121(3):431-2. doi: 10.1016/j.thromres.2007.09.004. Epub 2007 Oct 24. PMID: 17950783.
  5. Sano A, Tokutake S, Seo A. Proanthocyanidin-rich grape seed extract reduces leg swelling in healthy women during prolonged sitting. J Sci Food Agric. 2013 Feb;93(3):457-62. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.5773. Epub 2012 Jul 2. PMID: 22752876.
  6. Natella F, Belelli F, Gentili V, Ursini F, Scaccini C. Grape seed proanthocyanidins prevent plasma postprandial oxidative stress in humans. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Dec 18;50(26):7720-5. doi: 10.1021/jf020346o. PMID: 12475295.
  7. Safaei N, Babaei H, Azarfarin R, Jodati AR, Yaghoubi A, Sheikhalizadeh MA. Comparative effect of grape seed extract (Vitis vinifera) and ascorbic acid in oxidative stress induced by on-pump coronary artery bypass surgery. Ann Card Anaesth. 2017 Jan-Mar;20(1):45-51. doi: 10.4103/0971-9784.197834. PMID: 28074795; PMCID: PMC5290695.
  8. Hemmati AA, Foroozan M, Houshmand G, Moosavi ZB, Bahadoram M, Maram NS. The topical effect of grape seed extract 2% cream on surgery wound healing. Glob J Health Sci. 2014 Oct 29;7(3):52-8. doi: 10.5539/gjhs.v7n3p52. PMID: 25948437; PMCID: PMC4802053.
  9. Sharif A, Akhtar N, Khan MS, Menaa A, Menaa B, Khan BA, Menaa F. Formulation and evaluation on human skin of a water-in-oil emulsion containing Muscat hamburg black grape seed extract. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2015 Apr;37(2):253-8. doi: 10.1111/ics.12184. Epub 2014 Dec 16. PMID: 25402429.
  10. Silva, E. de L. .; Silva, M. D. da; Vasconcelos, T. C. L. de. Use of grape seed extract and its implications in the skin aging process. Research, Society and Development, [S. l.], v. 11, n. 9, p. e5411931357, 2022. DOI: 10.33448/rsd-v11i9.31357.
  11. Farid Menaa, Abder Menaa, Jacques Tréton, Chapter 63 - Polyphenols against Skin Aging, Editor(s): Ronald Ross Watson, Victor R. Preedy, Sherma Zibadi, Polyphenols in Human Health and Disease, Academic Press, 2014, Pages 819-830, ISBN 9780123984562,
  12. Calapai G, Bonina F, Bonina A, Rizza L, Mannucci C, Arcoraci V, Laganà G, Alibrandi A, Pollicino C, Inferrera S, Alecci U. A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Clinical Trial on Effects of a Vitis vinifera Extract on Cognitive Function in Healthy Older Adults. Front Pharmacol. 2017 Oct 31;8:776. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2017.00776. PMID: 29163162; PMCID: PMC5671585. 
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