Grape extracts growing popularity
Grape extracts of all kinds: skin, seed and whole grape are reaching a new level of popularity with supplement buying consumers. This may be because we’re dealing with the new lifestyle challenges of today, when the extract benefits that support cardiovascular health and anti-oxidant activity mean even more to us than they did a year ago.
The benefits verified in published clinical study
One of the first and most comprehensive grape extract studies to show these benefits was done by KGK Laboratories using Vincare patented whole grape extract from Ethical Naturals (ENI). KGK laboratories performed this placebo-controlled study, over a six-week period, reviewing a number of cholesterol and cardiovascular health markers. The results were published in the Journal of Functional Foods. 
The KGK scientists reported that consumption of the Vincare extract showed significant benefits in levels of HDL-cholesterol, compared to placebo. Also that the whole grape extract group experienced improvements in the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol, reported to be the most specific lipid risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
In addition the study showed that levels of 8-isoprastine (a marker of oxidative stress), and oxidized LDL (a risk factor for cardiovascular disease) decreased in people with pre-hypertension, overweight and/or pre-diabetes.
“These results are of clinical significance in this population of subjects as the role of HDL-C in reverse cholesterol transport is well documented,” wrote the researchers, “and is believed to be cardioprotective, with each 1 mg/dL increase in HDL-C being associated with a 2–4% reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease.
“It is also known that raising HDL-C concentration reduces cardiovascular disease risk independent of LDL-C lowering.”
Structure/Function claims are now supported by the clinical study
“Our team put a lot of work into the development and patenting of Vincare”, commented Cal Bewicke, CEO of Ethical Naturals, “so we were very pleased when the study results were published. They now support specific S/F claims for Vincare relating to healthy cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health”. ENI can provide more information regarding specific claims, but they include:
- Vincare supports healthy cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health.
- In healthy individuals there is a proper balance between HDL ‘good’ cholesterol and LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol. Taken as directed, Vincare helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and supports cardiovascular health.
VinCare is GRAS affirmed, and standardized to contain a minimum of 80% polyphenols, with an anti-oxidant level measured as Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) Value rated to 15,000 μmol TE/gram. These precise standards are maintained by a US patented manufacturing process, and guaranteed through ENI’s NSF certified laboratory testing and distribution facility.
Grape extracts and focus on polyphenols
The benefits of grape polyphenols as a category are a growing focus of clinical studies, and this is reflected in their increasing use as supplement ingredients. Recent studies have shown health support benefits in a number of areas, including: cardiovascular and cholesterol health , blood pressure regulation , gut microbiota , neuroprotection , diabetes , and overall anti-oxidant ability  & .
Though Vincare is ENI’s key grape extract product, the company has specialized in the development of grape polyphenol based extracts from the whole fruit, skin and seed, and have a wide experience in using these extracts to enhance other nutritional formulas. For example, grape polyphenols are an ideal co-factor to use with vitamin-C, and this is a key ingredient in ENI’s Polyphenol-C, vitamin C blend (that also includes other berry polyphenols). Resveratrol is also an ingredient in red grapes, and ENI has developed an extract standardized to grape sourced resveratrol.
“People have drunk and appreciated red wine and other grape products for thousands of years” says Cal Bewicke, “but the supplement ingredients we’ve developed now expand the many ways we can bring these healthy ingredients into our daily lives”.
References: Evans, M., et al. (2014). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, pilot study to evaluate The effect of whole grape extract on antioxidant status, Journal of Functional Foods  Tjelle, T.E., et al. (2015) Polyphenol-rich juices reduce blood pressure measures in a randomized controlled trial in high normal and hypertensive volunteers. British Journal of Nutrition. Nash, V., et al. (2018) The effect of grape and red wine polyphenols on gut microbiota – A systematic review. Food Research International, Vol 113, Nov 2018. Zhao, D. et al. A critical review on grape polyphenols for neuroprotection: strategies to enhance bioefficacy. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. Vol 60, 2020 – Issue 4 Feeney, M.J. (2004). Fruits and the prevention of lifestyle-related disease. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, 31 (s2), S11–S13. Balu, M. et al. (2005). Rejuvenation of antioxidant system in central nervous system of aged rats by grape seed extract, Neuro Sci Lett., 383 (3), 295-300.