LOS ANGELES TIMES
After scientists observed in the 1980s that French people had low rates of heart disease, probably because of their fondness for red wine, U.S. consumers began trying to replicate that health success, known as the French paradox.
That has led to interest in the chemicals found in red wine. These chemicals, called oligomeric proanthocyanidins, also are found in grape-seed extract and are available in supplement form.
Uses: Grape-seed extract is believed to be a powerful antioxidant -- a substance that can neutralize free-oxygen radicals, molecules that contribute to aging and organ damage. Some researchers believe it's better than vitamin C or E in helping to prevent diseases such as cancer and heart disease, in which free radicals play a big role.
Dose: Grape-seed extract typically comes in 50-milligram capsules; adults are advised to take 150 milligrams to 300 milligrams a day.
Precautions: People allergic to grapes could have a mild reaction to the extract. The supplement also may increase the potency of the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin).
Research: Much of the research on grape-seed extract, attesting to its antioxidant properties, has been done in Europe.