Since Biblical times, moderate wine consumption has been recommended for its supposed health benefits. Some imbibers even say “Good health!” as they raise their glasses in cheery toasts before their first sips.
Now a new study, published in the medical journal Plos One, demonstrates for the first time that grape seed extract is a wonder supplement in the fight against cancer, aiding chemotherapy’s effectiveness in killing colorectal cancer cells. What’s more, it also reduces chemotherapy’s painful side effects.
The researchers say adding grape seed extract to chemotherapy is a new approach to bowel cancer treatment, enhancing chemotherapy’s cancer-beating effects and reducing intestinal damage.
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cancer killer in the United States. Only lung cancer is more deadly.
Grape seed extract is commonly sold at health food stores, drugstores, and supermarkets. It is also widely available on the Internet. It is usually sold as 50 mg or 100 mg capsules.
Consumers generally take a daily dosage of 150 mg to 300 mg.
Capsules rather than powder are “the preferred way to take grape seed extract because (they are) more tolerable due to (powder’s) astringent taste and unappealing brownish red color,” says Dr. Amy Cheah, a medical science researcher at the school of agriculture, food and wine at Australia’s University of Adelaide, who led the cancer study.
Rich in vitamin E, flavonoids, and a powerful nutrient called linoleic acid, grape seed extract has no side effects and is usually taken because of its “antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer properties and to promote cardiovascular health,” Dr. Cheah tells Newsmax Health.
The next step is further research to discover whether grape seed extract works as well with other types of cancer – and just why it has such a remarkable ability to help fight colon cancer.
“This is the first study showing that grape seed extract can enhance the potency of one of the major chemotherapy drugs in its action against colon cancer cells,” Dr. Cheah reveals.
The chemotherapy medication most commonly marshaled against colorectal cancers is 5-Fluorouracil, commonly known as 5-FU and marketed in the United States under various brand names including Adrucil.
According to gastrointestinal researcher Dr. Gordon Howarth, “Grape seed extract is showing great potential as an anti-inflammatory treatment for a range of bowel diseases and now as a possible anti-cancer treatment.”
The Australian study found that grape seed extract led to a 55 percent decrease in chemotherapy-induced inflammation and a 26 percent increase in chemotherapy’s ability to kill cancer cells.
Additionally, the researchers found no side effects on healthy intestinal tissue from the use of grape seed extract in high concentrations.
The team’s conclusion, as reported in Plos One: “Grape seed extract may represent a new therapeutic option to decrease the symptoms of intestinal mucositis [inflammation and ulceration] while concurrently impacting on the viability of colon cancer cells.”
There is ongoing research to determine whether grape seed extract prevents cancer in addition to helping treat it. So far, those studies have been inconclusive.
Although grape seed extract is fairly new to the U.S., it has been used for years in Europe to treat a number of diseases.
Research has shown that it is beneficial for a number of heart conditions, including high cholesterol. The supplement has also been used to treat chronic venous insufficiency (poor circulation) and eye disease related to diabetes.
It is impossible to get the levels of beneficial flavonoids and linoleic acid in grape seed extract from drinking wine. (So don’t try!) Also, grape seed extract may interact with some blood thinners and NSAID painkillers such as aspirin, Advil, and Aleve – so check with your doctor if you take any of these medications and want to take grape seed extract.
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