Bolstering the Body’s Defenses

My doctor told me that supplementing with grape seed extract can help enhance immune function, but I haven’t seen any corroborating evidence of that. Can you steer me in the right direction?

JESSE, Big Sur, CA

Grape seed extract contains a mix of polyphenols, mainly proanthocyanidins, that are known to be beneficial for immune enhancement (see the article “Self-Defense Against Infection” by Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw on page 4 of this issue).

Also of considerable note, a recent article1 reports that the antioxidant properties of grape seed extract can help prevent oxidative lymphocyte damage. Most large granular lymphocytes are more commonly known as the natural killer cells, while smaller ones are the T cells and B cells. These immune system agents play an important and integral role in the body’s defenses.


  1. Stankovic M, Tesevic V, Vajs V, Todorovic N, Milosavljevic S, Godevac D. Antioxidant properties of grape seed extract on human lymphocyte oxidative defence. Planta Med 2008 May 21. [Epub ahead of print]

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