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Grape Seed Extract helps prevent swollen legs

Men and women who sit or stand all day are often bothered by swollen legs. Their lack of movement impairs the function of their blood vessels, and their legs swell, feel painful and tired. Moreover, there is a greater chance of varicose veins. Japanese researchers have discovered that supplements with Grape Seed Extract can help.

The Kikkoman Corporation, the researchers' employer, produces the standardised Grape Seed Extract Gravinol. Almost 90 percent of Gravinol consists of proanthocyanidins. The researchers gave that extract to 16 healthy Japanese women between the ages of 25-45 who were bothered by swollen legs during and after their work.

This dose may seem high. Most supplements with Grape Seed Extract contain 50 mg of extract per capsule, so the women took 8 capsules. Nevertheless, this is only 45 percent of the dose that is guaranteed to be safe, according to Kikkoman’s toxicologists. [Food Chem Toxicol. 2002 May;40(5):599-607.]

The researchers had the women sit on a chair and measured the volume of their left legs every 2 hours. They did this twice: once on a day when the women had taken Grape Seed Extract and again on a day when they had been given a placebo.

On the placebo day, the volume of the lower leg increased by 46 cubic cm. On the Grape Seed Extract day, this was only 14 cubic cm. The heavy dose of Grape Seed Extract reduced swelling in the legs by 70 percent. The effect was statistically significant.

Grape Seed Extract helps prevent swollen legs

The researchers gave the other 8 women 133 mg of proanthocyanidins each day for 2 weeks, a third of the dose given in the other experiment. After the researchers had had the women sit for 6 hours, they found that the supplement with Grape Seed Extract had also reduced the swelling in their legs.

In the placebo group, the volume of the lower left leg increased to 62 cubic cm after 6 hours of sitting. In the supplement group, this was 47 cubic cm, which is 40 percent less. That effect was also statistically significant.

Grape Seed Extract helps prevent swollen legs

"This trial demonstrated that Grape Seed Extract might provide a solution for healthy women who suffer from leg swelling that arises in a daily working environment such as prolonged sitting, as well as a pharmacological action as a therapeutic medication for varicose veins", the researchers concluded.

J Sci Food Agric. 2013 Feb;93(3):457-62.