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A clinical trial on people with metabolic syndrome suggests that taking grape seed extract leads to a fall in blood pressure.
Grape seed extract is high in polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants and thought to have various health benefits. A group of 24 people with metabolic syndrome - a cluster of heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol - took part in the first human trial of grape seed extract.
They took either 300 milligrams or 150 milligrams of grape seed extract, or a placebo. Those in the grape seed extract group experienced a fall of around 12 millimeters systolic blood pressure (top figure) and eight millimeters diastolic blood pressure (bottom figure). There was also a decrease in low density lipoprotein (LDL or 'bad') cholesterol levels in the 300 milligram of grape extract group. The researchers, at the University of California, Davis, are also conducting trials of grape seed extract in pre-hypertension - a condition where blood pressure is between 120 and 139 (systolic) and 80 to 89 (diastolic). Those with pre-hypertension often go on to develop high blood pressure, which puts them at risk of strokes and heart disease.