The Takeaway First
The Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has received $20 million from an anonymous donor to fund research on muscadine grape extract’s effects on breast and prostate cancer. While we don’t know much about this particular grape, we know a lot about grape seed extract and its protective health benefits.
What’s so great about this grape?
Muscadine grapes are native to the southeastern United States and Mexico, and they’re rich in powerful antioxidants. The seeds contain tannins, flavanols, ellagic acid (a polyphenol that has shown significant antiproliferative properties in vitro), and quercetin rhamnoside (one of a family of chemicals used to treat hardened arteries). The skin contains these compounds as well as flavonoids (a type of antioxidant), myricetin (an antioxidant with anti-mutagenic properties), and kaempferol glycosides (kaempferol is known to mitigate oxidative stress).
What Do we Know Right Now?
Wake Forest wouldn’t need $20 million if we knew everything already, but a few studies have given us some hints. We know that muscadine wine extract (as well as cabernet sauvignon wine extract) inhibited the grown of leukemia cells in vitro in one study (Mertens-Talcott et al., 2008). We also know that, in another study, the flavanols and tannins exerted anti-cancer effects in liver cancer cells in vitro (Ti et al., 2006). This is not a lot of information to go on, and it’s relatively old, so it’s safe to say we need to learn more.
My Take on Grape Seed Extracts
Much of my own research has focused grape seed extract. As you might have guessed from the size of Wake Forest’s research gift, we need to learn more about it! Numerous preclinical studies have suggested the anti-cancer and oxidative stress protection of Grape Seed Extract:
Reduces production of the inflammatory chemical, NF kappa b which has shown to be pro-carcinogenic (Dhanalakshmi et al. 2003)
Inhibits tumor growth in mice (Singh et al. 2004)
The pre-clinical data on Grape Seed Extract is compelling, but the human research in 2011is even more attractive. A study found that men who regularly used grape seed extract had a 41% reduction in total prostate cancer risk when compared to other supplements the group was taking (Brasky et al., 2011). Another study around the same time showed that grape seed extract lowered blood pressure .(Feringa et al., 2011).
What Should You Do?
While we wait for more research from Wake Forest and others, strengthen your body now with a eating plant-based whole foods, moving your body and smart supplementation. Grape seed extract is one of several functional phytochemicals and herbs that I recommend to my patients. There are many supplement companies that have quality Grape Seed Extract: Designs for Health, Douglas labs and Biotics Research (Heart formula) are just a few.
The formula I developed and recommend based on research and clinical experience is ImmunoPCTN. This mixture is loaded with much of what your body needs to exercise its natural immunity and be maximally protective against unnatural, aberrant cells.
Brasky, T. M., Kristal, A. R., Navarro, S. L., Lampe, J. W., Peters, U., Patterson, R. E., & White, E. (2011). Specialty supplements and prostate cancer risk in the VITamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort. Nutr Cancer, 63(4), 573-582. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2011.553022
Feringa, H. H. H., Laskey, D. A., Dickson, J. E., & Coleman, C. I. (2011). The Effect of Grape Seed Extract on Cardiovascular Risk Markers: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 111(8), 1173-1181. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jada.2011.05.015
Mertens-Talcott, S. U., Percival, S. S., & Talcott, S. T. (2008). Extracts from red muscadine and cabernet sauvignon wines induce cell death in MOLT-4 human leukemia cells. Food Chem, 108(3), 824-832. doi:
Yi, W., Akoh, C. C., Fischer, J., & Krewer, G. (2006). Effects of phenolic compounds in blueberries and muscadine grapes on HepG2 cell viability and apoptosis. Food Research International, 39(5), 628-638. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2006.01.001
Dhanalakshmi S, Agarwal R, and Agarwal C: Inhibition of NF-kappaB pathway in grape seed extract-induced apoptotic death of human prostate carcinoma DU145 cells. Int J Oncol 23, 721–727, 2003.
Singh RP, Tyagi AK, Dhanalakshmi S, Agarwal R, and Agarwal C: Grape seed extract inhibits advanced human prostate tumor growth and angiogenesis and upregulates insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3. Int J Cancer 108, 733–740, 2004.