Choosing the best grape seed supplement for you depends greatly on why you are taking the supplement in the first place. Grape seed extract is generally taken for overall health and vitality, but may also be taken to temporarily boost the immune system, for natural allergy relief, or even just to improve the look of your hair or skin. Supplements are available for these purposes in tablets and capsules of pure grape seed extract or as complexes with other vitamins or even as a carrier oil for topical use. These supplements are best if they contain the right concentrations of ingredients and should be taken in conjunction with other vitamins to work in a synergistic way.
Grape seed extract is a form of oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), which is a natural flavonol found in several types of plants that acts to protect the plants from degeneration. Some supplements may have a very low concentration of OPCs and are therefore not usually effective enough to justify the cost. It has been suggested that only supplements which contain a concentrations of OPCs of 85% or higher are beneficial. Vitamins which may boost the effect of a grape seed supplement include vitamin E, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
Those taking a grape seed supplement to boost their immune system or fight allergies may especially benefit from supplements higher in OPCs along with vitamin C. Studies suggest that the two can be taken at the same time to boost the overall benefit of both. Taking these supplements with any prescribed medication, however, should not be done before consulting a medical professional.
Grape seed extract generally contains a high amount of vitamin E as part of its chemical structure and is therefore used in some products for skin and hair. Vitamin E has been said to improve hair growth, strength, and shine while also providing some sun protection and scar treatment for the skin. Due to these claims, some commercial hair and skin products contain grape seed oil, but the concentration may not be made clear. Grape seed extract can also be bought as an oil, which can be used on its own or added to homemade beauty products.
No common side effects have been reported from the use of any grape seed supplement, but it is typically recommended that anyone on prescribed medication speak with their doctor before taking any supplements. A small number of people may also be allergic to this supplement and not know it. A simple test for allergic reaction can be performed by rubbing the oil on a small, sensitive patch of skin and observing it for any reaction for at least eight hours.