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Grape Seed Extract: Protecting the Brain

The efficacy of Grape Seed Extract in the treatment of common vascular conditions such as heart disease, stroke, reduced peripheral circulation, macular degeneration, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids is well known.

The action of oligomeric proanthocyanidin (OPC), the active ingredient of Grape Seed Extract, serves to increase blood flow to all areas of the body. In particular, OPCs have the ability to improve microcirculation by strengthening delicate capillary walls. This results in increased circulation to peripheral areas of the body served by fine blood vessels, such as the eyes.

However, Grape Seed Extract is one of the few antioxidants capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier-a selectively permeable guard which prevents harmful substances from reaching the brain. The ramification of this phenomenon is that the beneficial aspects of this powerful antioxidant can be utilized by the brain and central nervous system.

This has enormous implications for psychoneurological health. First, the antioxidant action of Grape Seed Extract protects brain tissues from damage by free radicals. Second, the ability of this compound to improve microcirculation has a beneficial effect by lowering the incidence of stroke. Mental alertness and memory are also improved due to increased blood flow. Current studies are investigating the relationship between Grape Seed Extract supplementation and the memory capabilities of Alzheimer and dementia patients.

Finally, the use of Grape Seed Extract in the treatment of ADD and ADHD indicates that the active OPC compounds reduce hyperactivity and increase attention span in sufferers on a level compatible with that of commonly used medications such as Ritalin.

Clearly, Grape Seed Extract can play an important role in assisting with brain function across all age groups.