Grape seed shows small effect on blood pressure

(Reuters) — Grape seed extract is marketed as a way to guard your heart health, but clinical trials so far suggest the supplement has small effects on blood pressure and heart rate, a new review finds.

Pooling the results from nine clinical trials, researchers found that on average grape seed extract shaved about 1.5 points from people’s systolic blood pressure — the top number in a blood pressure reading.

The supplement also slowed users’ heart rate down by an average of 1.4 beats per minute compared with a dummy pill.

Those effects are modest — though still potentially meaningful, according to senior researcher Craig I. Coleman, an associate professor at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy in Storrs.

He noted that past studies have estimated that a blood pressure reduction of just 3 points can trim the risk of premature death among people who have heart disease or have suffered a stroke.

“Not huge reductions,” Coleman told Reuters Health in an email, “but not inconsequential either.”

Still, diet changes — like reducing sodium and getting plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein — have shown bigger effects on blood pressure numbers. So too have blood pressure medications, which some people may need to get their numbers under control.

Even more importantly, those steps may help prevent heart disease and stroke.

“Unlike diet and exercise,” Coleman said, “there is no data with grape seed extract showing it will reduce patients’ risk of heart attacks or strokes.”

Among healthy seniors, the risk of stroke is generally low even with high blood pressure. Over 10 years, for instance, a 60-year-old man who doesn’t smoke and doesn’t have diabetes has a 3-to-10 percent chance of suffering a stroke, depending on his blood pressure.


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...