Surprising uses for Grapefruit Seed Extract, Based on Science

Grapefruit is a citrus fruit. People use the fruit, oil from the peel, and extracts from the seed as medicine. Grapefruit seed extract is made by mixing grapefruit seeds and pulp into a highly acidic liquid. 

Grapefruit benefits include weight loss, cellulite reduction , reducing the growth of cancers, lowering the risk of a stroke, and immune system enhancement. When you eat a grapefruit, what do you do with the seeds? I’m guessing you may spit them out or remove them from the start. What if I told you that those grapefruit seeds, particularly in grapefruit seed extract (GSE) form, actually might hold a wealth of health benefits. [1]

Grapefruit seed extract contains citrus flavonoids with potent antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. It acts as a natural disinfectant in personal care and cleaning products. However, especially when used internally, can be somewhat of a controversial supplement due to a lack of human studies as well as evidence of adulteration of grapefruit seed extract. Practitioners of alternative medicine say grapefruit seed extract possesses antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties and recommended its use for the treatment of candidiasis, earaches, throat infections and diarrhea. 

Grapefruit Seed Extract Benefits 

1. Fights Candida 

Candidiasis, commonly referred to as “candida,” is a fungal infection that can affect men and women of all ages in various parts of the body. It most commonly occurs in the mouth, ears, nose, toenails, fingernails, gastrointestinal tract and vagina.

A Polish study published in 2001 found that a 33% grapefruit extract has a potent antifungal effect against Candida albicans strains taken from patients with candida symptoms. [2] GSE’s antifungal properties help it combat candida infestations by killing the yeast cells that have taken over in the body.

2. Kills Antibiotic-Resistant Urinary tract infections

A noteworthy case study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2005 found that grapefruit seeds were highly effective in killing antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections. The study looked at several patients who were treated with grapefruit seeds (Citrus paradisi) orally for two weeks. The dosage was five to six grapefruit seeds every eight hours.

Within those two weeks, all patients responded satisfactorily to the treatment minus one. However, this patient initially had the bacterial UTI resistant to three different antibiotics, but after taking grapefruit seed there was a reversal of the antibiotic resistance pattern. Although a small human study, the data points toward the antibacterial ability of dried or fresh grapefruit seeds being comparable to proven antibacterial drugs, making it an effective home remedy for UTIs. [3]

3. Lower the risk of Diabetes and Heart Disease

In diabetic rats, grapefruit seed extract was able to boost insulin function and lower the levels of glucose, LDL, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. The effects were comparable to those of an antidiabetic drug, metformin [4].

One-month supplementation with the extract yielded similar results in another study on rats and also caused moderate weight loss [5].

Flavonoids found in grapefruit seeds – naringenin, naringin, and hesperidin – enhanced glucose metabolism and blocked oxidative damage in many studies on rats with diabetes and insulin resistance [6, 7, 8, 9, 10].

Grapefruit seed extract flavonoids support the heart and blood vessels. According to different clinical reviews, they may protect against heart disease by [11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17]:

  • Fighting oxidative stress and inflammation
  • Cutting the blood lipid levels
  • Preventing plaque buildup in blood vessels (atherosclerosis)
  • Protecting the heart cells against damage

In test tubes, naringenin and hesperidin boosted cholesterol metabolism by raising the number of LDL receptors 4-7 times [18, 19, 20].

Truth be told, the potential benefits of isolated flavonoids and their dietary sources might not translate to grapefruit seed extract.

4. Help to relieve Stomach Ulcers

Grapefruit seed extract protected rats against stomach ulcers caused by alcohol and stress. The extract caused a 50% reduction in ulcers by [21, 22]:

  • Improving stomach blood flow (via nitric oxide)
  • Boosting mucus production (via prostaglandin E2)
  • Stopping free radical damage

In cell experiments, grapefruit seed extract inhibited the growth of Helicobacter pylori, the leading cause of stomach ulcers [23, 24].

5. Improve Digestive Disturbances Associated with Eczema

Eczema is a common skin disorder that often has links to food choices and digestive issues. One preliminary human trial investigated the effectiveness of grapefruit seed extract on atopic eczema patients who also had intestinal dysbiosis, a microbial imbalance or maladaptation in the digestive tract. All patients showed severe atopic eczema, including bleeding lesions over the face, limbs and trunk, while 14 of 25 also had intermittent diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, intestinal rushes, bloating and abdominal discomfort.

Subjects received either two drops of a 0.5 percent liquid concentrate of grapefruit seed extract twice a day or 150 milligrams of encapsulated grapefruit seed extract three times a day. After a month, all of the subjects taking capsules experienced significant improvements in constipation, flatulence and abdominal discomfort, as well as night rest, while 20 percent of the subjects taking the liquid experienced significant improvements in their negative digestive symptoms. The extract was mostly effective against Candida, Geotrichum sp. and hemolytic E. coli. There were zero side effects during the entire study. [25]

6. Works as a General Antimicrobial

Grapefruit seed extract benefits can be experienced when it’s taken by mouth for bacterial, viral and fungal infections, including yeast infections. [26] But there are also many grapefruit seed uses that don’t involve ingesting the extract. Due to its antimicrobial activities, grapefruit seed extract is commonly included in many throat sprays, nasal sprays, ear drops, mouth washes, toothpastes, shower gels, wound disinfectant sprays and other personal care products. Instead of using unnatural and synthetic preservatives, many natural companies turn to grapefruit seed extract for its ability to preserve a product by killing unwanted bacteria.

7. Reduces Risk of Kidney Stones

Passing a kidney stone is one of the most unpleasant experiences imaginable. Luckily, grapefruit houses organic acids that may be able to prevent the buildup of calcium in the kidneys, thus preventing the formation of kidney stones. [27]

8. Relieve Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

In one study,  Participants received either 2 drops of a 0.5% oral solution of grapefruit seed extract twice daily or 150 mg of encapsulated grapefruit seed extract three times daily. After a month, IBS symptoms in 20% of people taking the liquid, while all of the patients taking capsules noted definite improvement of constipation, flatulence, abdominal discomfort, and night rest. [28]

Other antimicrobial uses of grapefruit seed extract include:

  • In laundry — to kill fungi and bacteria, add 10 to 15 drops to the final rinse
  • In carpet cleaners — to kill pathogenic organisms
  • Sterilizing and disinfecting operating rooms
  • In nebulizers — one drop GSE to one ounce saline water for control of respiratory infections
  • In humidifiers — three to four drops per gallon of water to prevent algae growth
  • As a better preservative than most chemical preservatives currently on the market
  • Disinfecting surfaces — when mixed with water in a spray bottle, it’s great for disinfecting cutting boards and other kitchen as well as bathroom surfaces
  • In hot tubs and swimming pools — GSE is added to lessen the need for high levels of chlorine
  • Farming — farmers use the extract in animal feed and water to reduce the incidence of infectious diseases

Dosage and Standardization :

Common dosage: 5-10 drops, 2-3 times/day [29]

Grapefruit seed extract dosage that suppressed the growth of gut pathogens and relieved digestive symptoms in the only clinical trial was 150 mg, 3 times daily for 4 weeks. [30] The effective dose range for the seed in promoting microbial balance is 250- 1,000 mg. 

Super Diet Grapefruit Seed Extract 50ml :  

  • Maximum twice a day, 20 drops per  (*43mg Grapefruit seed extract per drop)

Before using grapefruit seed extract, talk to your doctor if you:

  • are currently taking any other medications, especially blood thinners or medicines used after organ transplant
  • are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter or dietary supplements)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breast-feeding
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart/blood vessel disease

Written by Qualified Nutritionist, Frieda Hung

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