For thousands of years, people have harvested grapes. Think of the ancient Romans… the Greeks. But not just because they taste great. As Hippocrates – the Father of Medicine – noted, these gem-like fruits have miraculous healing properties.
And modern science has proven him right. Scientists have discovered more than a hundred biologically-active compounds in grapes. And while the flesh might be the sweetest and tastiest part, the skin and seeds have the greatest nutritional value.
In fact, research shows that nutrients extracted from grape seeds can provide powerful protection against many forms of cancer. That includes stomach, breast, colon, lung, skin, and prostate cancer.
Here’s how it works…
Selective cytotoxicity is the most promising area of cancer research. It simply means that a compound can kill cancer cells, while leaving healthy cells unharmed. Unfortunately, chemotherapy drugs fail to meet this standard. But there are natural compounds that can wipe out cancer cells and leave healthy cells to thrive.
Xianglin Shi, PhD from the University of Kentucky is a researcher who looks for compounds like this. “What everyone seeks is an agent that has an effect on cancer cells but leaves normal cells alone,” says Dr. Shi.
And he just may have found it in the seeds of a grape…
According to the journal Clinical Cancer Research, Shi exposed and treated leukemia cancer cells with a commercially available grape seed extract (GSE) in different doses.1 He found that grape seed extract caused cancer cells to self-destruct. The higher the dose, the more cancer cells died.2
And even better…
GSE killed 76 percent of cancer cells within 24 hours, while leaving the healthy cells completely unharmed.
Dr. Shi says these results might be enough to start using agents such as GSE to prevent and treat cancer.
Another study, published in the journal Carcinogenesis, confirms his findings.3
Rajesh Agarwal, PhD conducted the study on mice with mouth or nasal cavity cancer. The mice received GSE in their feed. And just like in the previous study, cancer cells died. The healthy cells remained unharmed. The mice also showed no toxicity to GSE.
“Cancer cells have a lot of defective pathways,” said Dr. Agarwal. “And they are very vulnerable if you target those pathways.”
That’s just what the GSE did. But how?
Researchers in both studies found that the anti-cancer effect is due to GSE’s activation of a protein in our body called JNK. Once activated, JNK damages the DNA of cancer cells. This causes them to self-destruct. It does not have this effect on healthy cells.4
In cancer treatment, cell suicide is important. But keeping healthy cells alive is just as vital. Chemotherapy doesn’t exclusively target cancer cells. It damages and destroys healthy cells too. Perhaps even worse, according to a recent study in Nature Medicine5 (among others), chemotherapy can actually cause cancer.
These studies on grape seed extract are great news for anyone who wants to treat and prevent cancer. But it doesn’t mean you should fill your grocery cart with grapes. The grapes that Hippocrates called “medicine” were very different from the grapes you’ll find in the store today. Most commercial grapes – especially the green seedless variety – were bred to be sweet and juicy. They are full of sugar and have little nutritional value.
If you do enjoy grapes, choose smaller varieties with red or purple skin. And always buy organic. Conventional grapes are loaded with pesticides.
But for the greatest nutritional benefit, consider taking a high quality grape seed extract supplement. They usually come in capsule form. And they can be easily found online. Also, while grape seed oil might be good for cooking, it does not contain the anti-cancer compounds found in the extract. So it should not be used as a substitute.
GSE is perfectly safe to consume. And research proves that it kills cancerous cells. It’s a win-win. It might just keep cancer – and chemo – at bay.