Menopausal women who take a couple of capsules of Grape Seed Extract daily gain a little muscle, have fewer hot flushes and sleep better. This is the conclusion drawn by Japanese researchers in a sponsored human study.
The researchers used Gravinol, a product manufactured by the Japanese Kikkoman Biochemica Company. And researchers at Kikkoman also did some of the research. The first author of the study, Masakazu Terauchi of Tokyo Medical and De University, received a grant from Kikkoman.
Gravinol consists of 85 percent proanthocyanidins. One of the typical proanthocyanidins found in Grape Seed Extract is shown below.
The other 15 percent of Gravinol consists of simple flavonoids such as catechin, epicatechin and epicatechin gallate.
The Japanese used 91 women aged between 40 and 60 in their experiment, all of whom had reached or almost reached the menopause. At menopause the ovaries stop producing estradiol. The cease in estradiol production deregulates women’s biological thermostat, which can cause depression, muscle loss and hot flushes.
The researchers divided the women into three groups. One group was given a placebo for eight weeks; a second group took 100 mg Grape Seed Extract daily; and a third group was given 200 mg Grape Seed Extract daily.
The supplementation had no effect on the women’s fat mass, but did have an effect on their muscle mass.
The Japanese got the women to complete questionnaires and discovered that, as a result of supplementation, the women had noticeably fewer problems with hot flushes.
Women in the menopause often sleep badly. This is partly due to hot flushes, which cause some women to wake a couple of times a night. Grape Seed Extract supplementation improved the quality of the women’s sleep.
A reduction in sleep quality and hormonal changes during the menopause can also lead to depression and mood swings. The supplementation did not have an effect on depression, but the Japanese did notice that the women who took Grape Seed Extract worried less.
The researchers were most excited by the discovery of the positive effect of Grape Seed Extract on muscle mass. “To our knowledge, ours is the first report, in animals or humans, to show that proanthocyanidin affects body composition”, they wrote. “After 8 weeks of treatment, Grape Seed Extract 200 and 100 mg/day both increased muscle mass in the middle-aged women in our study.”
“In a pair of animal studies, Pajuelo et al showed that GSPE stimulates mitochondrial function in skeletal muscle cells specifically by increasing their capacity to oxidize pyruvate and by reducing muscle reactive oxygen species generation in normal and obese rats. [J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Apr 27;59(8):4279-87.] [J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Aug 10;59(15):8491-8.] This may be the underlying mechanism by which the polyphenol antioxidant affects muscle mass.”
Effects of grape seed proanthocyanidin extract on menopausal symptoms, body composition, and cardiovascular parameters in middle-aged women: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study.
This study aims to assess the effects of proanthocyanidin-a class of polyphenol antioxidants extracted from grape seeds-on menopausal symptoms, body composition, and cardiovascular parameters in middle-aged women.
We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 96 women aged 40 to 60 years who had at least one menopausal symptom. The study participants were randomized to receive grape seed extract tablets containing either low-dose (100 mg/d) or high-dose (200 mg/d) proanthocyanidin, or placebo, for 8 weeks. Their menopausal symptoms were evaluated using the Menopausal Health-Related Quality of Life Questionnaire, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and Athens Insomnia Scale before and after 4 and 8 weeks of treatment. Body composition and cardiovascular parameters were also measured.
A total of 91 women (95%) completed the study. Background characteristics, including age, menopause status, subjective symptom scores, body composition, and cardiovascular parameters, were similar among the groups. The following significant changes were observed during the course of the study: (1) physical symptom score, hot flash score, and (2) Athens Insomnia Scale score decreased in the high-dose group after 8 weeks of treatment; (3) Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale Anxiety score and (4) systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased in the low-dose and high-dose groups after 4 weeks; and, (5) lastly, muscle mass increased in the low-dose and high-dose groups after 8 weeks of treatment.
Grape seed proanthocyanidin extract is effective in improving the physical and psychological symptoms of menopause while increasing muscle mass and reducing blood pressure in middle-aged women.
PMID: 24518152 DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000200 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]