Researchers from the Tokyo Medical and Dental University have determined that grape seed extract reduces menopausal symptoms after just eight weeks.
The research, a placebo-controlled, double-blind and randomized study, followed 91 women who were between 40 and 60 years old. Each of the women had at least one symptom of menopause.
The researchers divided the women and gave one group a placebo, and the other group was given grape seed extract with either 100 milligrams per day of proanthocyanidins or 200 milligrams per day of proanthocyanidins.
The researchers utilized the Menopausal Health-Related Quality of Life Questionnaire and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, along with the Athens Insomnia Scale to gauge the patients’ symptoms. They measured these symptoms at the beginning of the study, after four weeks and after eight weeks of the treatment. The researchers also measured heart and metabolic factors as well.
The groups taking the grape seed extract had significantly fewer general menopause symptoms and fewer hot flashes at the end of the study. The high-proanthocyanidin group also scored significantly better on insomnia scores after the eight weeks treatment.
In addition, the was a reduction in anxiety and depression scores, and a reduction of blood pressure among both grape seed extract groups.
Furthermore, muscle mass increased in both grape seed extract groups during the eight week treatment. A loss of muscle mass often accompanies menopausal symptoms.
The researchers concluded:
“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.”
What are Proanthocyanidins?
Proanthocyanidins are plant biochemicals called polyphenols. Within this classification they are considered flavinols. Grape seed proanthocyanidins are also considered proanthocyanidin oligomers — abbreviated as PCOs. (An oligomer is a series of molecular chains that are not repetitive). A number of other plants contain PCOs, including pine bark extract, cranberries, currants, bilberry, and other plants. Grape skins also contain considerable proanthocyanidin content.
Significant research has determined that proanthocyanidins inhibit reactive oxygen species and protect the heart and cardiovascular system.
Terauchi M, Horiguchi N, Kajiyama A, Akiyoshi M, Owa Y, Kato K, Kubota T. 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. Menopause. 2014 Feb 10.
Wang CZ, Mehendale SR, Calway T, Yuan CS. Botanical flavonoids on coronary heart disease. Am J Chin Med. 2011;39(4):661-71.