For Dr. Anil Shrikhande, understanding the health benefits of grape seed extract is like unraveling a mystery. The deeper that this leading expert dives into polyphenol research, the more he’s eager to learn. As President of Polyphenolics, Shrikhande is in a unique position to continue discovering new health breakthroughs. He discussed how all of the excitement about grape seed extract began, and where it might lead, with Alternative Health Expert Bryce Wylde, BSc, DHMHS.
It started with the French Paradox
Shrikhande described becoming fascinated with the power of grape seeds in the early 1990s. That was about the time that health professionals and researchers were discussing the so-called French Paradox: the French diet is rich in saturated fats, yet heart disease incidence is minimal. Epidemiologists attributed this to red wine consumption.
Shrikhande knew that the phenols in red wine come from grape seeds and skins. But he wondered, “What ingredient specifically was causing this benefit?” Shrikhande began studying the seeds.
Now years later, Polyphenolics is the leader in human clinical research on the health benefits of grape seed extract, using its own proprietary ingredients. “Our biggest breakthrough has been to take those polyphenolics (found in grape seeds) and start using them for health benefits,” he confirms.
This first required understanding the molecular chemistry of these beneficial polyphenols. “Taking the chemistry to biology was the next step, which we have done with MegaNatural-BP.”
Wylde expressed his excitement. “That’s what I appreciate as a clinician,” he said. “Because ultimately, I apply your scientific findings in a clinical setting and I see the results.”
MegaNatural product line is the result of careful development
For Polyphenolics, safety is always the first concern. Shrikhande explained that one of the first hurdles to developing the premium line of MegaNatural grape seed extracts was achieving GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) certification from the FDA. Independent research confirmed the safety of MegaNatural, which has no known side effects even at higher dosages.
Polyphenolics first developed a generic grape seed extract. “Then we got fascinated with the molecular structure, and started looking at developing a product specifically for blood pressure management because pre-hypertension is such a huge problem in this country, affecting something like 90 million people,” said Shrikhande. Commenting that blood pressure should be managed by lifestyle, and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, he added that he was excited about, “giving people one more tool such as grape seed extract, that they can take in the morning.”
“Prevention is the best way to manage your health. Why wait until you get sick,” agreed Wylde.
Polyphenolics partnered with leading researchers at the University of California Davis. The research team was led by cardiologist C. Tissa Kappagoda, M.D., whose major interest was on preventive medicine. Already familiar with grape seed extract’s benefits, Kappagoda launched into the initial research using MegaNatural-BP. “The first study was done with subjects diagnosed with metabolic syndrome,” recalled Shrikhande.
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of factors that add up to high risk for heart disease, including elevated blood pressure, excess abdominal body weight, high blood cholesterol, and high blood sugar.
Results of Kappagoda’s research were impressive. The average drop in systolic pressure was 12 mm. The average drop in diastolic pressure was 8 mm. “That pumped up our energy. We said we’ve got to do more.”
What Polyphenolics has learned about how the body absorbs polyphenols
Grape seed polyphenols can only be effective if your body can absorb these nutrients. It was once generally accepted that due to the molecular size, we needed to consume a lot of polyphenols for our body to get the benefits. But a few years ago, Polyphenolics took a closer look at how the gut metabolizes polyphenols. This led to an understanding that the required grape seed extract dosages are much less than previously thought.
“We need very small amounts of grape seed extract, only about 300 mg/day.” It can be consumed in capsules or dissolved into beverages. “Several large companies have decided to move into this beverage area,” confirmed Shrikhande. “Soon, you won’t have to think about taking a pill every day. That’s what we’re working on.”
Who should be supplementing with polyphenols?
Shrikhande explained that MegaNatural-BP grape seed extract’s ability to increase endurance is why it is becoming part of so many athletes’ sports nutrition programs.
Another growing market is young adults. Shrikhande commented that MegaNatural-BP’s cardio-protective qualities may help to balance their diets. Polyphenolics is working on ways to make supplementation easier. “We’re looking at what we can do with incorporating it into food and beverage products. It’s very exciting.”
Polyphenolics will continue to be the premium grape seed extract pioneer. “We are looking into how our products may benefit those diagnosed with pre-diabetes. And we’re looking at (its benefits for) Alzheimer’s disease. Scientifically, we are progressing very rapidly.”