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High blood pressure is considered a "silent killer" that needs consistent treatment and is best addressed even before it begins. A study reveals that grape seed extract may be an effective natural therapy in lowering the blood pressure of men with prehypertension
High blood pressure is a chronic medical condition that affects about 1.13 billion people worldwide.[i] As one of the major causes of premature death around the world, high blood pressure occurs when blood pressure levels are elevated beyond normal ranges.
Can prehypertension -- which describes blood pressure levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be classified as high blood pressure -- then be managed before it develops into a full-blown case of high blood pressure?
The healing powers of food figure into the medical research, specifically the potential of grape seed extract as a functional ingredient to push down blood pressure in individuals with prehypertension. The term "prehypertension" came about to designate individuals whose systolic blood pressure levels are in the 120 to 130 mm Hg range, and diastolic BP from 80 to 89 mm Hg.[ii]
In November 2017, however, new guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association eliminated prehypertension as a category, classifying patients as having either elevated (systolic 120 to 129 mm Hg and diastolic less than 80 mm Hg) or Stage I hypertension (systolic 130 to 139 mm Hg or diastolic 80 to 89 mm Hg).[iii]
Multiple studies have shown that with proper exercise and a wealth of natural remedies, patients can manage their blood pressure, thereby also reducing their risk for cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and even premature death.
Grape Seed Extract Can Push Blood Pressure Levels Down
One natural remedy that's been proven effective in treating both prehypertension and high blood pressure is grape seed extract.
In a study titled "Grape Seed Extract Supplementation Attenuates the Blood Pressure Response to Exercise in Prehypertensive Men," researchers found that men with prehypertension who were physically active received notable benefits after taking supplements of grape seed extract.
The study found that a single dose of grape seed extract translated to reduced blood pressure levels and enhanced delivery of oxygen to the heart.[iv] This reinforced what previous research has shown: grape seed extract can positively affect blood pressure and minimize the potential risks for heart disease.[v]
One randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study tested the impact of this natural extract on middle-aged adults with prehypertension, finding that those who drank grape seed extract juice for six weeks had lower blood pressure levels.[vi]
Another report reviewed 12 articles involving 16 clinical trials on the effects of grape seed extract on blood pressure levels. It revealed that grape seed extract was highly beneficial for reducing blood pressure, particularly in young or obese patients, as well as those who suffered from a metabolic disorder.[vii] This study suggested that a large-scale, long-term, multiple-dose randomized controlled trial is warranted among people with high blood pressure.
High Blood Pressure: A Global Epidemic
Blood pressure is measured as the force of your blood against the walls of your arteries. When blood pressure levels are too high, the risk for developing complications also shoots up. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to a stroke, kidney failure, heart failure and sudden death.[viii]
Some of the common symptoms of high blood pressure include the following, although it often occurs with no symptoms, hence its nickname as the "silent killer":
- Buzzing in the ears
- Irregular heart rhythms
- Muscle tremors
- Chest pain
Studies offer evidence that exercise can improve the endothelial function of young people with prehypertension.[ix] Likewise, acupuncture could be used to lower the blood pressure of patients with either prehypertension or high blood pressure.[x]
Eating black raspberries and miso soup also surfaces as beneficial in slashing high blood pressure risk. In one study, subjects with prehypertension who received black raspberries in the form of a dried powder extract attained significantly lower levels of blood pressure after an eight-week follow-up period.[xi] Meanwhile, an animal study demonstrated that consumption of dry red miso led to stable blood pressure levels.[xii]
The Benefits of Grape Seed Extract
Grape seed extract is packed with antioxidants that respond to different kinds of conditions. For instance, it can reduce the inflammatory response among patients with systemic sclerosis, an autoimmune rheumatic disorder, due to antioxidants derived from the grape seed proanthocyanidins.[xiii] It can also be effective in:
- Protecting the liver
- Reducing inflammatory markers among obese and overweight patients
- Decreasing cell damage after exercise
There are at least 200 abstracts on the benefits of grape seed extract on GreenMedInfo.com, as well as research-based information on prehypertension.
[i] World Health Organization https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hypertension
[iii] American College of Cardiology https://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2017/11/08/11/47/mon-5pm-bp-guideline-aha-2017
[iv] Kim J K et al "Grape Seed Extract Supplementation Attenuates the Blood Pressure Response to Exercise in Prehypertensive Men." J Med Food. 2018 May ;21(5):445-453. Epub 2018 Apr 23. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2017.0133
[v] Feringa H H H et al "The effect of grape seed extract on cardiovascular risk markers: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials." J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 Aug ;111(8):1173-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2011.05.015
[vi] Park E et al "Effects of grape seed extract beverage on blood pressure and metabolic indices in individuals with pre-hypertension: a randomised, double-blinded, two-arm, parallel, placebo-controlled trial." Br J Nutr. 2015 Nov 16:1-13. Epub 2015 Nov 16. doi: 10.1017/S0007114515004328.
[vii] Zhang H et al "The impact of grape seed extract treatment on blood pressure changes: A meta-analysis of 16 randomized controlled trials." Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Aug ;95(33):e4247. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000004247.
[viii] World Health Organization https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hypertension
[ix] Beck D et al "Exercise training improves endothelial function in young prehypertensives." Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2013 Apr ;238(4):433-41. doi: 10.1177/1535370213477600.
[x] Liu Y et al "Acupuncture lowers blood pressure in mild hypertension patients: A randomized, controlled, assessor-blinded pilot trial." Complement Ther Med. 2015 Oct ;23(5):658-65. Epub 2015 Jul 15. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2015.06.014.
[xi] Jeong S.H. et al "Effects of Rubus occidentalis extract on blood pressure in patients with prehypertension: Randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial." Nutrition. 2016 Apr ;32(4):461-7. Epub 2015 Nov 6. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2015.10.014
[xii] Hirayama T et al "Relationship of soybean paste soup intake to gastric cancer risk" Nutr Cancer. 1982;3(4):223-33.
[xiii] Kalin R et al "Activin, a grape seed-derived proanthocyanidin extract, reduces plasma levels of oxidative stress and adhesion molecules (ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and E-selectin) in systemic sclerosis." Free Radic Res. 2002 Aug;36(8):819-25. DOI: 10.1080/1071576021000005249