In humans, youth is characterized by a clearly discernible period of physical and mental development. As our cells multiply, our bodies become bigger and stronger – and as we continue to take in knowledge, our cognitive abilities increase. But as we are well aware, something goes awry in the cell renewal process when we reach the 20-35 year old mark. We begin to lose our ability to respond favorably to stressors, biological homeostasis decreases and we become more prone to diseases. In a nutshell, we begin to age.
It is true that we all want to live long and happy lives, but none of us is particularly eager to welcome the age spots, fine lines, wrinkles and cognitive problems that are intimately associated with old age. Indeed, some persons have even resorted to drastic measures (such as expensive and dangerous plastic surgeries) in a desperate attempt to escape the ravages of Father Time. Sadly, these efforts have largely been made in vain. Mankind has thus far proven itself incapable of halting the aging process — but despite our many failures, has Mother Nature provided a far simpler solution?
Since ancient times, grapes have been highly regarded not only for their excellent taste, but also for their multitude of applications toward improving human health. One much touted health benefit of grape seeds is their ability to reduce and even reverse signs of aging. Today, scientists are diligently investigating these acclaimed anti-aging effects.
Scientific evidence suggests that aging is caused by the action of oxygen-derived free radicals on living cells, leading to impairments in cellular functioning and subsequent tissue damage. Logically then, if we can disrupt the activity of these free radicals we can slow the aging process. Grape seeds contain many antioxidants such as vitamin E, flavonoids, resveratrol, tannins, linoleic acid, pycnogenols and oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OCPs) which are renowned for their ability to neutralize free radicals and limit oxidative damage to cell membranes. In light of these recent findings, a healthy diet supplemented with grape seeds is highly recommended for older persons who are eager to reduce signs of aging, or younger persons who wish to keep their skin looking fresh, clear and glowing.
Free radicals are also involved in the cognitive deterioration that usually burdens individuals who are advanced in age. Thankfully, grape seeds have proven to be vital in the maintenance of good mental health. Rat model experiments carried out by Dr. Balu at the University of Madras suggest that the antioxidant effects of grape seeds can inhibit age-related DNA oxidative damages in various brain regions as well as the spinal cord. Similar experiments conducted by Dr. Asha Devi at Bangalore University posit that the oligomeric proanthocyanidins found in grape seeds can act as a neuroprotectant in the hippocampus and aid in the prevention of cognitive loss due to aging.
Man has been fighting the inevitability of old age since his very inception. Legends of mankind’s endless search for the fountain of youth have been around for millennia. But while we are no longer campaigning across treacherous mountains and dense forests in search of “mystic waters, “our desire to look and feel young is as strong as it ever was. Admittedly, we are still a long way from eliminating all the debilitating effects of old age, but we are definitely on the right path towards achieving that goal. Yes, the time is coming when we will no longer have to spend an arm and a leg for the “privilege” of being butchered on the surgeon’s table. As it turns out, the lowly grape seed is proving to be the essential first step in our search for a simple and cost effective solution for old age.