Active ingredients: shining the spotlight on grapeseed extract

The by-product of one of our other favourite – not-so-healthy – elixirs, red wine, grapeseed extract is made from the pips inside grapes, and contains a super-concentrated boost of nutrients. We've taken a look at where it comes from and what you should be using it for.

How is grapeseed extract made?

For many years, grapes have been used in traditional remedies for everything from cancer to arthritis – there's even a form of natural medicine called 'ampelotherapy' (or grape therapy) that involves consuming all the grapes you can eat for health purposes. Today, the seeds from red wine grapes are ground down into a concentrated form to create the powerful grapeseed extract. It's then made into capsules or powder.

How will grapeseed extract benefit my health?

Like blueberries, nuts and green veg, grapeseed extract is rich in antioxidants, which help to protect cells from damage and may be able to prevent diseases. Some of these antioxidants – flavonoids – are particularly good at looking after your cells, and can improve how well your immune system is able to fight off illness and infection. Antioxidants are health all-rounders: they can also help to protect your blood vessels from damage and improve circulation. If you went a bit overkill in your spin class, grapeseed extract can also help – it reduces swelling caused by injury.

What are the beauty benefits of grapeseed extract?

You'll find grapeseed extract in some anti-wrinkle serums, smoothing creams and masks, and it's a great natural choice that's less likely to provoke a skin reaction than chemical solutions. Grapeseed facilitates the production of collagen, which keeps your skin more elastic and looking younger (we use it in our Enhance Me supplement to create a glowing complexion). Another age-defying effect of the extract is its ability to help fight the impact of sun damage thanks to the antioxidants.

So, is grapeseed extract a wonder product?

The Parisiennes across the channel clearly think so – it's a (badly kept) secret that's shared by Mathilde Thomas, founder of Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa at New York's The Plaza – and we definitely agree. Find it in our nutrient-rich supplements at GP Nutrition.