Grapes and their products have always been a pleasure to eat and imbibe. Now, research is showing that grape ingredients also have healthful properties. Phenolic bioflavanoids from grape seeds and other parts of the grape are powerful antioxidants that augment heart health.

Polyphenolics, a subsidiary of Canandaigua Wine Inc., Fairport, N.Y., has compiled self-determined GRAS status for its MegaNatural™ Gold Grape Seed Extract and MegaNatural™ GSKE Grape Skin Extract. The first petitions cover beverage applications. Future petitions will cover food bars, cereal, yogurt and confections.

How They Work

Grape polyphenols, it is theorized, inhibit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which contributes to atherosclerosis. They may also relax the blood vessels and inhibit platelet aggregation, leading to improved blood flow. Evidence of these effects was found in studies conducted at the University of Scranton, Pa., and University of California, Davis.

The work at Scranton revealed that grape polyphenols may be synergistic with antioxidants in the human body. Volunteers who drank a sugar-sweetened soft drink with 300mg of grape seed extract showed significantly greater impact on blood plasma Trolox Equivalent Antioxidant Capacity (TEAC) than would be expected from ingestion of the extract alone. When used with either vitamins C or E, the extract resulted in double the antioxidant capacity.

The synergy between grape seed extract and certain vitamins magnifies the extract’s impact on blood plasma antioxidant levels.
Grape seeds contain two-thirds of the phenols of the grape, 5-8% by weight. The skins also contain phenol compounds. Catechin, epicatechin and epicatechin gallate, and gallic acid are the monomeric compounds identified in grape seeds. These, along with dimers, trimers and oligomers of catechin and epicatechin are referred to as procyanidins.

MegaNatural Gold Grape Seed Extract is produced in California wineries from unfermented wine and juice grapes, using a solvent-free water extraction process. The water- and alcohol-soluble extract contains 90% or greater polyphenols on a dry basis.

MegaNatural GSKE Grape Skin Extract is extracted primarily from grape skins with some grape seeds and stems. The starting material is the unfermented pommace that remains after juice is squeezed from grapes. No sulfur dioxide is added during the extraction of the grape skin. It contains greater than 80% polyphenols on a dry basis. Like the Grape Seed Extract, it is water- and alcohol-soluble.

After the spray-dried powdered ingredient is dissolved, it stays in solution without clouding. Because the extract presents its best flavor and color at a pH of 3-4, good beverage applications are fruity juices, sports beverages or waters. It enhances the tart taste of fruit, berry or citrus flavors. It has a red color at acidic pH levels and turns a blue tone when the pH is higher.

“The amount recommended in a beverage is approximately 50mg per 8 oz. serving,” says Ron Martin, vice president of sales, Polyphenolics. “Flavored water with 50mg grape seed extract and vitamin C can give more antioxidant benefit than a glass of orange juice, because it has more antioxidant capacity.” The amount of 200mg of extract is equivalent to a 4 oz. glass of red wine, two 6 oz. glasses of white grape juice or one 6 oz. glass of purple grape juice.

For more information:
Ron Martin at 574-243-9825 *