Grape seed extract, OPCs and cancer

Grape seed extract, OPCs and cancer

Research on Grape Seed Extract and Cancer

Grape seeds are a powerful source of Oligomeric Proanthocyanidin Complexes, or OPC’s and these are thought to be some of the most powerful antioxidants available. Another great OPC source is Maritime Pine Bark. Both are now in short supply as drug companies have been buying up supplies. 

Grape seed extract has had claims made about its health benefits from improving blood glucose control, to Heart Health (University of Maryland - along with chromium it could lower cholesterol better than a placebo), to Skin Health (University of Ohio - can help wound healing). Claims have been made that it can strengthen arteries, help unblock them, reduce wrinkles and skin cancer risk. It is often described as an antioxidant, anti-hypertension and an anti-inflammatory.

Many point to the benefits of natural compounds in grape skins (resveratrol) and grape seeds as an important combination in the French Paradox: Namely that the French consume more fat than anyone else in Europe yet have lower rates of heart disease and cancer. They also consume more alcohol! But in the form of red wine - and this gives them plenty of resveratrol and grape seed compounds.

I covered this aspect of ’Protection and Correction’ from their highly pigmented plant diet in my book, ’The Rainbow Diet and how it can help you beat cancer’. Who said a good diet couldn’t beat cancer?!

It is the area of grape seed extract and cancer that concerns us here.

The skin and seeds of grapes are a good source of proanthocyanidins, a class of flavonoids known to reduce free-radicals in cells. So said the team at the Colorado University of Health Sciences in Denver. They should know:

Colorectal cancer

A ScienceDaily research report by Professor Agarwal in October 2006 showed that Grape seed extract inhibited the growth of colorectal tumours both in vitro and in mice. Importantly, the research showed ’how’. The study, originally in Clinical Cancer Research, showed a 44 per cent decrease in advanced colorectal cancer tumours because the grape seed extract increased levels of a protein Cip1/p21 and this was shown to freeze cell division and cause cancer cell death. In other words, this natural compound actually attacks existing cancer cells.

Brain Tumours to bladder cancer

By 2009, research from the City of Hope Centre in California had concluded that grape seed extract could reduce VEGF levels - VEGF is a protein that produces new blood vessels, essential to growing cancers. Shiuan Chen, Professor of tumour biology, has shown that the grape seed extract blocks the formation of a protein HIF-1, which is produced in situations of low blood oxygen, causing more VEGF to be produced and more blood vessels to form. Bone cancer, brain tumours, bladder cancer, bile duct and colorectal cancers were all named as potential targets by the researchers. This research study confirmed a previous study from 2006 (Free Radical Biology and Medicine, Feb 2006) that grape seed extract could prevent the growth of vascular epithelial growth factors in glioblastoma and other cancers. 


The University of Kentucky showed grape seed extract could kill 76 per cent of leukaemia cells in vitro, within 24 hours. But will this extrapolate to humans in real life situations?

Prostate Cancer

35,239 males were followed over 10 years since 2000 in the VITAL cohort study (May 2011). Men, with "high average use" over 10 years of an individual grape seed extract supplement experienced a 62 per cent lowered risk of prostate cancer compared to non-users. Even average users of grape seed extract supplements experienced a 41 per cent lowered reduction. .

Haematologic Cancers

66,227 men and women in the same VITAL study who had ever used grape seed supplements saw a 43 per cent lowered risk of haematologic cancers. (N.B.high use of garlic also produced a 47 per cent lowered risk).

Skin Cancer 

A study carried out by Maryam Asargi et al, (Department of Dermatology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California; June 2011) involving 830 people compared various combinations of vitamins like A, C, E and multivitamins. The group taking grape seed extract had an incredible 74 per cent reduction in squamous cell carcinoma.


The University of Maryland Medical Centre who have conducted a lot of research on grape seed extract suggest you vary the dose according to your situation.

  • Under normal conditions, 25 to 150 mgs might be appropriate as an antioxidant, taken up to three times a day.
  • Where someone has a heart or blood vessel issue, a level of 150 to 300 mgs per day might be appropriate.
  • For oesdema or swelling 200-400 mgs is deemed appropriate.

To derive benefit from this supplement you must take it regularly and consistently. Research shows, only 30 per cent of its OPC compounds can still be found in the body after 24 hours. No side effects have been reported from Maryland’s studies.

Click here if you are already thinking of buying Grape Seed Extract and would like to see the All Natural Version in the Natural Selection Shop.

People who read this, also read

* Resveratrol - CLICK HERE to read
* Curcumin - CLICK HERE to read
* 3 Natural Herbs to boost your immune system - CLICK HERE to read

Rainbow diet

At last, the definitive, research-based book on how to build a diet to help beat cancer. Click here to read about it.

Please be clear: At CANCERactive we do not consider the above compound to be a cure for cancer, despite what the research says or experts doing the research may claim. The above, is an article on the compound from published research and expert opinion in the public domain. At CANCERactive we do not believe that any single compound (drug, vitamin, whatever) is a cure for cancer. We believe that people can significantly increase their personal odds of survival by building an Integrated Programme of treatments. Equally, cancer prevention is best practiced through a width of measures.


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