Grape Seed Battles Hypertension

Aug 17, 2004 10:28 PM EDT

A recent US study has found that moderately high amounts of grape seed extract may blunt salt-sensitive hypertension as well as plant estrogens do.

40–50 Million in US have hypertension

The study’s findings may be important for the increasing number of women entering middle age. It is estimated that between 40 and 50 million Americans have hypertension. This debilitating medical disorder becomes more prevalent with increasing age. Men with hypertension outnumber women with hypertension during young adulthood and early middle age, but hypertension rapidly increases in women after menopause, and they soon outnumber men with hypertension.

Researchers wanted to determine if the polyphenols in grape seed extract could provide similar benefits as plant estrogens. Previous research found that plant estrogens from soy can reduce salt-sensitive hypertension in young, estrogen-depleted spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR).

Extract reduces hypertensive effects

This study concluded that grape seed extract does reduce the hypertensive effects of a high salt diet in the rats to about the same degree as plant estrogens. That means that grape seed extract may be a useful supplement to control hypertension in postmenopausal women.

Hypertension is related to coronary artery disease (CAD), stroke and renal disease. Past research has found that for every 7.5 mm Hg increase in diastolic blood pressure, the risk for coronary heart disease increases 29% and stroke risk increases 46%.