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What are the benefits of grape seed extract?

Q: What is the substitute available for grape seed extract in India. How can it be extracted from grape or grape seeds?

A:Grape seed extract is derived from the small seeds (and occasionally the skins) of red grapes - the same kind that are pressed to make red wine. Grape seed extract is rich in flavonoids, phytochemicals that have antioxidant properties some consider even greater than the old standbys - vitamin C and vitamin E. Antioxidants are believed to prevent and control numerous ailments by safeguarding cells against the ravages of unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals. The most valuable flavonoids in grape seed extract are procyanidolic oligomers (also known as proanthocyanidins), commonly called PCOs. Beyond their antioxidant powers, PCOs are thought to improve blood circulation and help strengthen blood vessels. These actions benefit people with heart disease and cancer. Significant differences exits in the manufacture of the various grape seed extracts available. Each of these processes has their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages, which can affect composition, potency, manufacturing yield, cost, etc. There are two basic approaches: 1) solvent extraction and 2) water and ethanol extraction. Solvent extraction uses one or more organic solvents such as acetone, methylene chloride or toluene to remove and separate the PCOs from the grape seeds. The solvents are then recovered and the resulting concentrate is then either spray dried or vacuum dried and ground to final specifications. Similar manufacturing procedures are employed in some water and ethanol processes, while others involve complex filtration, concentration and purification steps. Although water and ethanol may be used in a solvent extraction process, the term water and ethanol extraction should be reserved for processes that use only water and ethanol, and do not use any other organic solvent. An alternative source for PCOs is Pycnogenol , the brand name for a PCO derived from the bark of the maritime pine. Its health benefits can be compared to those of grape seed extract. Its more expensive than grape seed extract, however. Manufactures of herbal medicine may have this extract, but it is unlikely that you will find it in India and the safety may be questionable.


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