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Grape seed extract may improve blood vessel function

Until recently, doctors thought hardening of the arteries began with cholesterol sticking to blood vessel walls. But now doctors believe it is certain immune blood cells that penetrate and stick to blood vessel walls, creating lesions that begin a progressive inflammatory response that is the first step in hardening of the arteries.

In this study, 13 male smokers took 200 mg per day of a powerful antioxidant from grape seeds called procyanidins. After eight weeks, doctors found that the grape seed extract activated 864 genes that helped keep immune cells from sticking to blood vessel walls.

Discussing their findings, doctors said taking grape seed procyanidins could decrease immune cell penetration of blood vessel walls and help protect against hardening of the arteries.

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