Grape Seed Extract (GSE)
Grape Seed Extract (GSE) is reported to have beneficial effects on health and is sold as a natural supplement; however, research that may prove effectiveness in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy is still in its infancy and results are generally inconclusive.
GSE contains a type of polyphenol called proanthocyanidins. Initially discovered in 1947 by French scientist Jack Masquelier, further studies resulted in his discovery in 1985 that proanthocyanidins are a powerful antioxidant and work to neutralize damaging molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are the by-product of normal body processes and can also be introduced via the breakdown of some medicines, and through pollutants.
Phenol compounds play an important role in the life cycle of many plants, protecting the plant from harmful effects of radiation, deterring herbivore predators, protecting against infection, and regulating certain growth processes.
Within the last 10 years, research in animals suggests that proanthocyanidins do measurably improve the speed of motor nerve conduction, can reduce pain, and can help maintain the integrity of the myelin sheath that protects nerves. (1)
GSE is available in a variety of capsules and tablets and although it does have several noted side effects (headache, dry itchy scalp, dizziness, nausea), it is mostly very well tolerated. An oral dose of 100 to 300mg/day is the range that has been reported in most studies. As with any supplement, talk to your doctor about the correct dosage and method of administration for you.
1. Cui XP, Li BY, Gao HQ, Wei N, Wang WL, Lu M. Effects of grape seed proanthocyanidin extracts on peripheral nerves in streptozocin-induced diabetic rats. Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology (Tokyo), 2008;54(4):321-8.