Certain plants contain beneficial compounds, usually flavonoids, that can improve many health conditions and prevent many diseases. The grape is high on the list of these plants.
The skin of grapes contains resveratrol (pterostilbene), which has incredible protective qualities for the cardiovascular system and the brain, as well as aiding in cancer prevention and treatment.
But it’s not just the skin that contains healthy compounds. The seeds of grapes are also endowed with incredible healing qualities. In fact, studies have shown grape seed extract inhibits stomach ulcers, reduces fat accumulation, improves the antioxidant network in aging brains, inhibits a number of viruses, lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, inhibits a number of cancers (including prostate and breast cancers), and has been shown to inhibit advanced prostate cancer growth and invasion of prostate cancer in patients with advanced tumors.
In a study of 36 patients with high-risk vascular disease, grape seed extract improved vascular and endothelial functions, reduced oxidative damage, and increased blood flow in major arteries. Other recent studies have shown that grape seed extract — which consists of compounds called oligomeric proanthocyanadins — protects the brain against excitotoxicity.
One important way it does this is by reducing glutamate-induced entry of calcium into brain cells, a process that plays a central role in excitotoxic neuron injury and death. Research has shown that one of the most common events associated with brain injury and excitotoxic disorders of the brain (such as strokes, brain tumors, and inflammatory brain disorders) is the activation of calcium-permeable glutamate AMPA receptors.
Thus far, there are no effective drugs to counteract this process.
But a recent study found that grape seed extract inhibited excitotoxin-induced calcium entry into neurons, including by glutamate AMPA receptors. This is a major advance in brain protection, and is also a major step in inhibiting deadly glioma brain tumors, which depend on these special receptors for growth and invasion.
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