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Grapefruit seed extract, a combination of grapefruit seeds and grapefruit pulp reduced to a highly acidic powder or liquid, carries quite a range of health properties for humans. Whether ingested or applied topically, the extract is regarded as beneficial on a number of fronts. Grapefruit seed extract benefits include relief from bacterial and viral infections and quick healing of cuts and wounds. The extract is scientifically recognized as an antioxidant and an alkalizing agent. The extract is a staple of alternative medicine practitioners, but it is not regarded as a drug, and sales are not typically regulated in any country.
The extract is an herbal remedy, as it is derived wholly from plant matter. If chemicals are introduced to grapefruit seed extract, they are generally used only to hold the extract together, as in a capsule, and do not affect or alter the extract's potency. Grapefruit seeds, and by extension their extract, contain very high concentrations of naringenin, a flavanoid. Flavanoids act as antioxidants, which means that they destroy harmful free radicals present in the body.
Most grapefruit seed extract benefits derive directly from the flavanoid-rich content of the seeds themselves. Academic and other sponsored scientific studies have shown the extract to be a disinfectant, an antibacterial agent, and an anti-fungal agent in different concentrations. It promotes skin regeneration and can improve healing time for cuts and wounds, and it is generally believed to improve immune system health and function. Grapefruit seed extract has also been shown to be an alkalizing agent, which means that it can help to balance a person’s internal pH.
A lot of how grapefruit seed extract benefits will be realized depends on how concentrated the extract is to start with and how much of the extract is consumed or applied. Benefits will also depend on how each person’s body individually responds. The concentrations of grapefruit seed extract that are used in scientific tests are not always the same concentrations or even the same preparations as are commonly marketed and sold as grapefruit seed extract supplements in stores.
Grapefruit seed extract is marketed by numerous vendors and health food stores around the world, usually under the name “GSE.” The range of claims between brands as to what GSE is capable of curing varies wildly. Some claim grapefruit seed extract benefits that have to do with diet, weight loss, and complexion. Others extol benefits ranging from a “miracle cancer cure” to a convenient way to get rid of a cold sore in a hurry. Still others market GSE as an antifungal foot rub, a cure to ear inflammation, relief for gastrointestinal disorders, or a daily pill to ward off degenerative diseases.
There are no established side effects to consuming the extract, and in some sense the potential grapefruit seed extract benefits outweigh the risk that the desired results will not come. Nevertheless, herbal remedies should not be taken without some precautions. No remedy — even one as potentially potent as grapefruit seed extract — can truly cure all ailments. It is a good idea to talk to a doctor about any serious symptoms before using or ingesting grapefruit seed extract.
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