Many people take this powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory extract to protect their cardiovascular system, improve blood sugar control, heal wounds, increase bone strength, prevent age-related memory loss and enhance bowel health.
Besides this dazzling array of benefits, there’s now growing scientific evidence that it helps prevent and treat cancer as well.
In fact, based on exciting new information uncovered by our Cancer Defeated research team, this may be one of the important, powerful and safe natural cancer remedies you can take.
This mighty nutrient is grape seed extract (GSE). Keep reading for the full story. . .
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Every part of the grape contains health benefits, but the seeds in particular are heavily concentrated with proanthocyanidins or oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs). These are extremely potent antioxidants, 50 times as strong as vitamin C.
A by-product of the wine-making industry, the extract is made by pressing the seed. This has the effect of creating a more concentrated and powerful health agent.
Scientists discover GSE’s most active component
Although there are multiple compounds within GSE, most of which are yet to be identified, scientists have recently discovered one of the active components.
University of Colorado Cancer Center researchers, led by Professor Rajesh Agarwal, have been testing GSE in their laboratories for a decade.
Previously, they had found the substance to be effective against cancer cells located in various regions of the body, but they didn’t know which part of the extract produced its most powerful anti-tumor effects.
Then, in their 2014 study, they pinpointed the component they believe is the most biologically active against cancer cells. It’s called procyanidin B2 3,3″-di-O-gallate or B2G2.
In their experiments they found B2G2 could inhibit cancer growth as well as selectively target and destroy cancer cells in the prostate while leaving normal cells unharmed.
The researchers succeeded in creating a synthetic version of B2G2 which was also successful in targeting cancer cells. The man-made purified compound is much simpler and cheaper to produce and will make it easier to earn FDA approval for a human trial.
With this advance, scientists may lose interest in the natural, whole extract as they set out to create the next blockbuster drug.
However, we don’t need to wait for the development of a new pharmaceutical. We can get all the benefits of B2G2 and its myriad of OPCs within the whole seed.
Lowers risk of prostate cancer
A large study conducted over ten years included more than 35,000 American men aged 50-76. The researchers found those who regularly supplemented with GSE had a significantly lower risk of prostate cancer.
Average use of the supplement (less than four days a week or taken for less than three years) was associated with a 41% reduced risk. Those with a high average use (greater than four days a week and for more than three years) saw a 62% reduction.
Nine other nutrients were analyzed in this study, but only GSE proved to be effective at reducing the risk of prostate cancer.
Confirmation of the benefits of taking GSE for prostate cancer comes from several in vitro studies (cells cultured in a lab), including the B2G2 study, but a rodent study published in the International Journal of Cancer best demonstrates the power of this supplement.
Mice implanted with prostate cancer cells were fed GSE for seven weeks. At the end of this period the researchers found that tumor volume was inhibited by 59-73% and tumor weight was reduced by 37-47%. There was a 51-66% decrease in cancer cell proliferation and a three- to fourfold increase in cancer cell death (apoptosis).
In a process called angiogenesis, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) helps supply new blood vessels so that cancer can grow. GSE inhibited VEGF secretion by 47 to 70%.
A growth factor called IGFBP-3 is inversely associated with prostate cancer risk. After introducing GSE, levels of this beneficial growth factor multiplied six or seven times over.
In short, in this one animal study, GSE was able to shrink tumors, reduce angiogenesis, promote apoptosis, and upregulate IGFBP-3. These are very impressive findings.
Proven benefits in colon cancer
In 2006, the University of Colorado team demonstrated that the growth of colorectal cancers could be inhibited in vitro as well as in mice. There was a 44% reduction in volume of advanced tumors.
The molecular mechanism revealed for the first time in this study was an increase in a critical protein called Cip1/p21. This stops cell division and causes the cancer cell to self-destruct.
The leader of the Colorado team, Prof. Agarwal, said the “beneficial effects were correlated with how much extract was used and how long it was used for. The number of live cells decreased by 92% in one cell line when the highest dose was given for the longest time period, which was two days.”
A later study by the same research team found that less GSE was required to kill stage 4 cancer cells than stage 2.
This is in direct contrast to chemotherapy where larger doses are usually required at the later stages because of increasing resistance to the chemo drugs and diminishing effectiveness.
Molly Derry, a doctoral candidate and member of the research team, explained it this way:
“A colorectal cancer cell can have upwards of 11,000 genetic mutations — differences from the DNA in healthy cells. Traditional chemotherapies may only target a specific mutation and as cancer progresses more mutations occur.
“These changes can result in cancer that is resistant to chemotherapy. In contrast, the many bioactive compounds of GSE are able to target multiple mutations. The more mutations a cancer presents, the more effective GSE is in targeting them.”
Can be used along with chemotherapy
Australian researchers found that GSE improved the ability of a chemotherapy drug to kill colon cancer cells and also reduced its side effects in a study published in 2014.
They found that the inflammation induced by 5-FU — a commonly used colon cancer drug — was reduced by 55% when combined with GSE, and the chemo drug’s ability to kill cancer cells increased by 26%.
The study concluded that GSE “not only enhanced the impact of 5-FU in killing colon cancer cells, but also surpasses standard 5-FU chemotherapy as an anti-cancer agent.”
Dr. Gordon Howarth, a gastroenterologist who was part of the study group, said, “Grape seed extract is showing great potential as an anti-inflammatory agent for a range of bowel diseases and now as a possible anti-cancer agent.”
Effective in other cancers
Hematologic cancer: Researchers from the University of Kentucky demonstrated that when exposed to GSE, more than three out of four leukemia cells are killed within 24 hours. They found GSE strongly activated a protein called JNK. This plays a critical role in apoptosis.
A population study over ten years involving 66,227 American men and women aged 50 to 76 found those using GSE supplements had a 43% lower risk of hematologic cancers. Besides leukemia, this cancer category also includes lymphomas.
Skin cancer: In a study that included 830 people, those taking multivitamins saw no effect on their risk of contracting skin cancer, but those taking GSE had a 74% (nearly three-fourths) reduced risk of squamous cell carcinoma.
Breast cancer: Highly malignant mammary cells designed to mimic stage 4 human breast cancer were implanted into mice. GSE significantly inhibited tumor growth and metastasis and increased the animals’ survival.
Head and neck cancer: Professor Agarwal’s lab team has also investigated GSE’s effect on two human head and neck cancer lines implanted into mice. They found that the supplement decreased growth by 65% and 67%.
The professor said “It’s a rather dramatic effect. Cancer cells are fast-growing cells. Not only that but they are necessarily fast growing. When conditions exist in which they can’t grow, they die.
“…cancer cells have a lot of defective pathways and they are very vulnerable if you target those pathways.”
Liver cancer: Researchers from Egypt published new findings in September 2015 to show that GSE is effective in liver cancer. They described it as “a promising natural remedy…that has a great future” in the control of hepatocellular carcinoma.
GSE fulfills the criteria of a powerful anti-cancer agent. It helps prevent the formation of new tumors, inhibits their growth and spread, and induces cancer cells to die (i.e. induces apoptosis).
Researchers have also emphasized that GSE is harmless to healthy tissue even in high doses.
To take as a supplement, an OPC content of 95% is advised. Dosage recommendations range from 100mg to 250mg a day. If you want to take substantially higher amounts, it’s best to work with an integrative physician or naturopath.
Our last issue covered another powerful natural cancer remedy. If you missed it, just scroll down and read it now.