Take the Pressure Off with Grape Seed Extract
If you exercise regularly, but still find that your blood pressure numbers have been creeping upward, consider adding grape seed extract to your daily regimen.
After all, high blood pressure numbers are nothing to ignore. If the condition worsens, it can damage your heart and arteries, and you may never know until it’s too late. That’s one of the reasons they call hypertension, or high blood pressure, “the silent killer.”
However, a regular exercise regimen can help keep those numbers in check. And grape seed can help.
A placebo-controlled clinical study of men who were in men who were prehypertensive – just short of being diagnosed with high blood pressure – found that even a single dose of grape seed extract helped lower pressure, reduce the workload on the heart, and even better deliver much needed oxygen throughout the body.
One thing to note is that grape seed compounds, like any nutrients, need to be absorbed in order to be useful. To this end, look for a grape seed extract that is tannin-free for oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) that are truly useful. Tannin OPCs are too large for the body to absorb effectively to be of much use.
By adding this simple, natural botanical to your routine, continuing to monitor your blood pressure regularly (make sure your blood pressure has been properly calibrated), eating and exercising sensibly, you can do a lot to keep; those numbers from climbing further – and possibly reverse them.
Kim JK, Kim KA, Choi HM, Park SK, Stebbins CL. Grape Seed Extract Supplementation Attenuates the Blood Pressure Response to Exercise in Prehypertensive Men. J Med Food. 2018;21(5):445–453.
We tested the hypothesis that exaggerated pressor responses observed in prehypertensive males (N = 9) during dynamic exercise are attenuated following acute dietary supplementation with grape seed extract (GSE) (i.e., a single dose). Effects of placebo and GSE (300 mg) on systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, mean arterial pressure (MAP), cardiac output (CO), stroke volume (SV), total vascular conductance (TVC), and rate × pressure product (RPP) in response to two submaximal cycling workloads (40% and 60% VO2peak) were compared 2 h after ingestion of GSE or placebo on different days, 1 week apart. Endothelial function was also evaluated using flow-mediated dilation (FMD). Placebo treatment had no effect on any of the variables. GSE supplementation attenuated MAP at both workloads (40% VO2peak: 115 ± 1 vs. 112 ± 2 mmHg; 60% VO2peak: 126 ± 2 vs. 123 ± 2 mmHg) and RPP at the lower workload. Conversely, SV, CO, and TVC were augmented during both workloads. FMD was augmented by GSE (18.9 ± 2.0 vs. 12.4% ± 2.0%). These findings indicate that in exercising prehypertensive males, a single dose of GSE reduces blood pressure, peripheral vasoconstriction, and work of the heart and enhances O2 delivery; effects that may be due, in part, to endothelium-dependent vasodilation. We propose that acute GSE treatment represents an intervention that may minimize potential increases in the risk of cardiovascular events during dynamic exercise in prehypertensives.