Grape Seed Extract for Macular Degeneration

Grape Seed Extract for Macular Degeneration

More research is emerging regarding the beneficial effects to vision from the consumption of grape seed extract. Grape seed extract has been used throughout history amongst various tribes of people across time. Now, research shows there may be some valid modern day biological benefits of using grape seed extract, particularly for preventing or slowing macular degeneration.

Just Don’t Get Old

Aging breaks down a body. Although some people believe that under the right conditions the human body can sustain life for at least 200 years or more, until we find that youth elixir, grape seed extract may be a good starting point. The compounds found in this fruit could help prevent or slow old age related diseases like macular degeneration.

The San Francisco Gate reported that, according to notes by researchers at The University of Washington,

“Dr. Theresa Graedon, co-author of, “The People’s Pharmacy Guide to Home and Herbal Remedies,” recommends grape seed extract for slowing macular degeneration as well as reducing visual stress caused by computer screens”

Rising in age is one of many reasons for adding grape seed extract into your supplemental protocol. This is particularly important if you are in your forties or beyond as macular degeneration becomes more of risk factor after fifty years old. 

Cell Protection

Cell senescence means that cells can no longer replicate and when it comes to vision this can mean disruptive changes to the retina. Proanthocyanidin (pro-an-tho-sigh-an-i-din) is a compound found in grape seed extract which researchers have pinpointed as being responsible for protecting cells against degenerative diseases such as macular degeneration.

Grape seed proanthocyanidin extract (GSPE) has been linked to alleviating retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cellular senescence. According to a report by NMN, The Official Info Source for Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (a naturally occurring molecule present in all life forms), it was stated that, 

“The senescence of RPE cells impairs its ability to properly secrete factors that promote the health of the sensory cells in the eye and the blood vessels that fuel them.”

NMN continues with a description of the grape seed extract influence on the body, 

“This fruit-based compound [GSPE] has been shown to increase levels of NAMPT [an enzyme], which is critical to maintaining levels of the essential and age-related molecule nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) through NMN [nicotinamide mononucleotide, a naturally occurring molecule present in all life form]. The decline of NAD+ content with age is closely related to health span, longevity, and the occurrence of age-related degenerative diseases. In retinal degenerative diseases, the expression of NAMPT and the NAD+ content is consistent and reduced compared with the healthy controls.”

A 2021 study of grape seed extract and its effects on vision, particularly the RPE, was published in the Journal of Inflammation research.

“This study indicated that GSPE alleviated RPE cellular senescence through NAMPT/SIRT1/NLRP3 pathway. This study highlighted the potential effects of GSPE on degenerative retinopathy through the crosstalk of NAD+ metabolism, SIRT1 function and NLRP3 activation.”

Although it may be challenge to follow the study jargon, overall the research is stating that grape seed extract just might be the real deal when it comes to supporting healthy vision.

Wine Grape Remedy

Grape seed extract is primarily sourced from the ground up seeds from red wine grapes. A daily protocol of this extract in supplemental form (capsule or tincture) shows significant antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging properties. 

It is believed that one cause of macular degeneration is due to increased oxidative stress in various cohorts (groups). Some people may be exposed to more oxidative stress than others which means they are susceptible to more free-radicals roaming their bodies particularly affecting vision. Grape seed extract has been found to inhibit oxidative stress and apoptotic (cellular death) mechanisms.

In addition to containing the active ingredient oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs), grape seed extract also contains:

  • Vitamin E
  • Flavonoids (beneficial plant pigments)
  • Linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated fatty acid essential in the human diet)
  • Resveratrol (a polyphenol compound that has antioxidant properties and has been investigated for possible anti-carcinogenic effects)

Supplement Responsibly

The vast amount of natural supplements available today make for a wide range of beneficial treatments as well as some possible health compromises. It is always best to check with your physician or naturopathic doctor to make sure such contraindications do not apply to you. There are some minor considerations you should be aware of before using grape seed extract.

According to Mount Sinai, these are the most prevalent compromises that may occur:

Anticoagulants (blood thinners): Grape seed extract may act as a blood thinner, and could increase the risk of bleeding if taken with other blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin. If you are taking blood-thinning medications, or have bleeding disorders, ask your doctor before taking grape seed extract.

Phenacetin: Drinking grape juice may increase how quickly the body breaks down Phenacetin [a synthetic compound used as a painkilling and antipyretic (fever reducer) drug] to get rid of it. This may decrease the effectiveness of the Phenacetin you are taking.

Other Benefits

Grape seed extract is not just beneficial for preventing and mitigating macular degeneration. Mount Sinai also reports on some other benefits associated with this high antioxidant wonder fruit extract. This includes using grape seed extract for:

  • Alzheimer disease
  • Diabetes (improving blood sugar control)
  • Improving night vision
  • Protecting collagen and elastin in skin (anti-aging)
  • Treating hemorrhoids
  • Protecting against oxidative rancidity and bacterial pathogens

In addition, grape seed extract has been linked to preventing some cancer cell growth of such cancers as breast, prostate, lung, colon and stomach cancer. It may also prevent excessive damage to the liver cells sometimes experienced by chemotherapy. 

Consider adding grape seed extract to your daily supplemental protocol. It can be yet another tool in your toolbox of natural, alternative remedies that go beyond some pharmaceutical treatments. Grape seed extract for macular degeneration offers an opportunity to take your vision to the next level and stay ahead of the curve.