Every morning I eat a grapefruit with my breakfast. Yes, it has a slightly stringent taste that might take some getting used to, but the benefits far outweigh the slightly acidic, bitter flavor. Grapefruits are high in fiber, potassium, and vitamins A and C.
They have high levels of the antioxidant naringenin, which can help stabilize glucose metabolism; so if you eat grapefruit earlier in the day for breakfast, you’ll have a smaller chance of having a mid-afternoon blood sugar crash!
Throughout the years, people have used various components of the grapefruit to treat a number of ailments. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at grapefruit seed extract (GSE). Derived from grapefruit seeds, white membranes, and pulp, GSE is a liquid extract (also sold in supplement form) used for everything from fighting infections to treating skin conditions.
The Many Benefits of Grapefruit Seed Extract
In the early 1970s, Dr. Jacob Harich first documented the medical benefits of GSE, particularly how it could protect poultry and fish from various bacteria, fungi, and parasites. GSE is now typically combined with vegetable glycerin and used in antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, and antiviral products.
In a 1990 study published in the Journal of Molecular Medicine, researchers discovered that grapefruit seed extract performed in a similar fashion (or even better) than 18 fungicides and 30 antibiotics, but without the side effects of antibiotics. Let’s take a further look at more GSE benefits:
1. GSE has the potential to kill viruses and fungi. Various studies have revealed that GSE can kill over 800 types of bacteria and viruses, including salmonella, E. coli, herpes, parasites, and fungi.
2. GSE has anti-cancer properties, because it contains antioxidants, sterols, tocopherols, citric acid, limonoids, and other minerals. In a 2006 study, researchers from the University of Colorado discovered that colon cancer cells treated with GSE had a higher chance of dying, compared to the cells not treated with GSE.
3. Consuming GSE can help heal wounds and scar tissue at a quicker rate. According to a study published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, GSE accelerated wound healing and minimized scarring by encouraging the body to produce more of the compound that regenerates blood vessels that have been damaged, while also increasing the number of free radicals that help clear bacteria.
4. GSE contains naringenin, which is a flavonoid that has been shown to help reduce cholesterol in rats.
5. Certain skin conditions, sinus infections, and vaginal infections can be treated with GSE.
6. Add GSE to swimming pools and to your bath water to help keep your skin clean and healthy.
7. Consuming GSE can help reduce the risk of developing a coronary heart disease (for high-risk patients) due to its high levels of pectin.
8. GSE is great for boosting the body’s immune system.
9. GSE supplements may prove to be beneficial for those who obtain food poisoning or other food illnesses that cause diarrhea and dysentery. It is recommended to mix one drop of GSE with one ounce of liquid (preferably water) to treat the food poisoning.
10. If your dog has fleas, put one or two drops of GSE into your dog’s food twice a day. This is also a great way to help prevent your pet from getting fleas and other infections.
11. Spray GSE onto your plants to prevent bugs from eating them—it’s a non-toxic disinfectant.
12. GSE can help treat acne. After you cleanse your face, add two to three drops of GSE to your fingertips and massage your face in a circular motion for one minute. After you rinse your face, you might feel a tingling sensation, but that’s just the bacteria-killing properties doing their job.
13. Studies have shown that HIV-positive people can improve their immune systems by consuming GSE. According to a 2002 study published in the journal Biological Research, GSE can lower the amount of certain HIV receptors and cause a cellular decrease in the number of co-receptors, meaning GSE may effectively reduce the impact of HIV.
14. Consuming GSE can help heal stomach ulcers. Dissolve one GSE capsule into juice or water and consume with food. If you don’t feel irritation in the stomach, start taking two a day and then eventually increase to three capsules a day.
15. To build up your immune system and fight chronic fatigue, mix 10 to 15 drops of GSE in liquid and drink; or take one to two GSE capsules three times a day for maximum efficiency.
Consume GSE between meals; if the extract irritates your stomach, then consume with your meals. Try incorporating GSE into your diet for approximately one month. The following recommended dosages are for individuals who weigh approximately 150 pounds:
- Day 1 to 3: Take 10 drops of GSE twice daily. Alternatively, take one 125 mg capsule twice daily.
- Day 4 to 10: Increase the dosage to 15 drops twice daily or one capsule three times daily.
- Day 11 to 28: Increase the dosage to 15 drops three times daily or three capsules three times daily.
The four-week trial may not be sufficient enough for those who have chronic diseases, which means you may need to extend the trial—three to six months may be more effective. The recommended dosages depend on a number of factors, including an individual’s weight. I recommend speaking with your doctor first before introducing any new supplements into your diet. Your doctor can also help you figure out what the correct dosage would be for your body.
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Jankoski, T., “Benefits of Grapefruit seed Extract,” Applied Health web site; http://appliedhealth.com/benefits-of-grapefruit-seed-extract/, last accessed June 8, 2015.
Hitti, M. “Grape Seed Extract vs. Colon Cancer,” WebMD web site, October 19, 2006; http://www.webmd.com/colorectal-cancer/news/20061019/grape-seed-extract-vs-colon-cancer.
Wagner, H., “Grape Seed Extract Helps Speed Up Wound Recovery, Study Suggests,” The Ohio State University Research News web site; http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/gdgrapes.htm, last accessed June 8, 2015.
“GSE for Dogs (Grapefruit Seed Extract),” Natural Dog Health Remedies web site; http://www.natural-dog-health-remedies.com/gse-for-dogs.html, last accessed June 8, 2015.