Stomping Out the Truth About Grape Seed Supplements
By Katherine Smith
Special to The Pilot
Health supplements have created two populations - one of skeptics and one of starry-eyed disciples.
Health specialists, doctors and -professors are shouting that vitamins and supplements are a pallid replacement for whole foods and fresh vegetables. They do concede that supplements are better than nothing in the deteriorating American diet. But health supplement advertising has bewitched people into believing that -wholesomeness is delivered in a pill.
Nature's Pearl grape seed supplements, though, seem to be the -impervious exception to the rule. The supplement is nothing but ground muscadine grape seed encapsulated by hypromellose, a vegetarian capsule.
Grape seed itself is full of antioxidants, phenolics and phytochemicals - an enormous -contributor to whole body health. It protects the body from adverse damages done by the hundreds of toxins we absorb daily and is demonstrating itself as a strong anti-carcinogen.
Our air harbors pesticides and gasoline fumes, and air pollution can cause upper respiratory -infections, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Formaldehyde can pollute water by the simple processes of ozonation, chlorination and from broken plastic bottles, according to the World Health Organization.
Sodium laurel sulfate, an ingredient in many cosmetics, has a tendency to react with other chemicals to form nitrosodiethanolamine, a potent carcinogen, -according to the Health Food Emporium. Aluminum, an ingredient in antiperspirants, may be absorbed by the skin to cause changes in estrogen receptors of breast cells, a possible cause of breast -cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
Not only does the muscadine grape seed flush out many of these toxins, but it works to rebuild the body after the damage.
Elizabeth King is a Southern Pines local who taught seventh-through 12th-grade grammar, composition and literature at Calvary Christian School for 22 years. At age 42, she had to retire from the classroom, and at age 45, after three years of oddly aching muscles, she went into full-body paralysis.
"I had been at a March for Life, and it had been freezing and rainy," she says. "I just couldn't get warm, so when we got home, I got into the bathtub. When I was ready to get out, I couldn't move."
Her husband, the late Peter King, pulled her out of the tub. That episode began 13 years of an illness that baffled more than 150 doctors, from Moore Regional to Duke to UNC.
In 2006, her son-in-law, Roger Smith, found a chance diagnoses online - hypokalemic periodic paralysis. Doctors confirmed that King had the mutation, which is caused by an inability to absorb potassium.
"I always wondered why I would be out of paralysis during August and September," she says. "Now I know that it's because I was eating our figs, pears and grapes and tons of peaches - all full of potassium."
A daily six tablespoons of potassium chloride is her unlikely $7 per bottle cure. But her pain is still high, and can surge with the smallest increase of barometric pressure.
That is why she has started taking Nature's Pearl grape seed supplement. She says her pain is typically at a level three out of 10, which is "bearable" compared with the previous six out of 10 "misery."
Grape seed alleviates more than just pain.
According to the American Cancer Society pamphlet "Cancer Facts & Figures 2012," men have about a 50 percent risk of developing cancer, and women have about a 33 percent risk, so preventative -measures should be taken before cancer is detected.
Scientists at Wake Forest University researched and tested the affects of Nature's Pearl muscadine grape seed supplements on the brachial artery. They performed the test eight times to be sure their unprecedented results were correct.
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers Dr. E. Ann Tallant and Dr. Patricia E. Gallagher offered an abstract at last year's American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting.
The closing line states, "These results demonstrate that extracts from -muscadine grape seeds and muscadine grape skins inhibit the growth of human lung, colon, prostate, breast, skin, brain and leukemia cells in vitro, -suggesting that further studies are -warranted to investigate their potential use in the prevention or treatment of cancer."
The researchers discovered that cancer cell growth for triple negative breast -cancer cells, a type of cancer rarely touched by strong prescriptions, was -inhibited by 92.6 percent by the grape seed. Human lung adenocarcinoma was inhibited by 81.8 percent and human colon cancer was inhibited by 80.5 percent.
"Cancer cells are fast-growing cells," says Rajesh Agarwal, Ph.D., an -investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmaceutical Sciences. "Not only that, but they are necessarily fast growing. When conditions exist in which they can't grow, they die."
In a study published by Carcinogenesis, Agarwal explained that grape seed extract creates conditions that are unfavorable to cancer cell growth. The grape seed extract both damages cancer cells' DNA (via increased reactive oxygen species) and stops the pathways that allow cancer cell repair (as seen by decreased levels of the DNA repair molecules Brca1 and Rad51 and DNA repair foci).
"Yet we saw absolutely no toxicity to the (tested) mice themselves," Agarwal says about his research, in an interview with Garth Sundem.
The grape seed extract killed the cancer cells but not the healthy ones.
Grape seed extract also boosts heart health.
Subjects taking two grams of the extract daily for four weeks experienced -increases in nitric oxide, a gas molecule that improves blood vessel health. This study was published in the Dec. 2004 issue of Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology by scientists at CSIRO Health Sciences and Nutrition in Australia.
Type 2 diabetics who consumed 600 mg of the extract daily for four weeks experienced significant decreases in C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in the body that contributes to heart disease. This study was conducted by scientists at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in the United Kingdom and published in the May 2009 issue of Diabetes Medicine.
According to Science Daily, researchers at the University of California have found that 150 to 300 mg of grape seed extract, taken daily, also decreases blood pressure.
King reports that her daughters use the grape seed for thyroid problems, her -pastors for joint problems, her neighbor for knee problems, and her grandchildren for cramps.
"It really is good for everything, because it's all natural," she says.
To visit a local muscadine vineyard to harvest grapes yourself, visit nccommerce.com/wine. Click on the "Growing Grapes" tab, then the "N.C. Grape Varieties" tab, then "Muscadine Grape Growing" tab and then click on the link to "Pick Your Own Muscadine Vineyards."
To purchase the Nature's Pearl -supplement for $33.95 per bottle of 60 -capsules, visit naturepearlproducts.com.
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