The characterization and careful research of a nutraceutical is necessary to claim it has positive health benefits. A review published in Nutrition Journal follows Masquelier’s grape seed extract from its isolation in 1947 to its use as a nutraceutical.
The first requirement to substantiate the health benefit of a food product is the characterization of the product. In the case of plant-derived food supplements, it is essential for the supplement to be well-researched and have significant health benefits. Importantly, three major rules must be followed:
1) The product must be well characterized
2) The claimed effect should be well-defined and pose a physiological benefit
3) There must be a cause-and-effect relationship between the intake of the food product and the claim on human health
A new review published in Nutrition Journal followed a botanical preparation of monomeric and oligomeric flavan-3-ols from grape seeds from its creation in 1947 to a commonly used nutraceutical with proven health benefits. Nutraceuticals are any product derived from food sources with extra health benefits in addition to their nutritional value in food and are generally standardized, similar to pharmaceutical-grade nutrients.
What is Masquelier’s grape seed extract?
Various food supplements contain Masquelier’s Original OPCs (Anthogenol), the commercial herbal remedies of monomeric and oligomeric flavan-3-ols, which are extracted from grape seeds. These flavonoids, or plant pigment molecules, are bioactive components that were first isolated in the early 20th century.
Flavonoids are found ubiquitously in plants. Among fruits, berries have the highest amounts of flavanols. Flavanols are the most abundant flavonoids and are found in a wide variety of vegetables and plant-derived food such as wine, cocoa beans, and legumes.
Since the daily dietary intake of flavanols fluctuates between individuals, a flavanol supplement like Masquelier’s Original OPCs can provide the health benefits of flavanols in a regulated concentration. In contrast to many commercially available herbal remedies, Masquelier’s grape seed preparation is rigorously standardized by HPLC and H-NMR/PCA fingerprinting; these methods are optimal for monitoring the quality of plant extracts.
The second requirement is that there is a physiological benefit to the nutraceutical. Through several studies, grape seed extract has been shown to benefit human vascular health through the maintenance of vascular homeostasis. This has been shown through the flavanols’ effects on protecting collagen and elastin fibres, serving antioxidant properties, and having anti-inflammatory effects. Lastly, the third requirement for advocating the health benefit of a nutraceutical is demonstrating a cause-and-effect relationship between the supplement and the health effect.
Nutraceuticals as a part of lifestyle medicine
Studies on Masquelier’s grape seed extract have shown that the mode of action of flavanols in commercial preparation parallels that of the specific monomeric and oligomeric flavanols originally isolated in the 1940s. Masquelier’s Original OPCs, or grape seed extract, is an interesting example of how specific research can isolate, identify and evolve a botanical ingredient into a nutritional supplement. The in-depth characterization and research on flavanols in this context explain how they can be applied as a herbal remedy and nutraceutical for vascular health.
Written by Neeti Nashi BSc
- Weseler AR, Bast A. Masquelier’s grape seed extract: from basic flavonoid research to a well-characterized food supplement with health benefits. Nutr J. 2017;16(1):5. Published 2017 Jan 19. doi:10.1186/s12937-016-0218-1