What is Grapefruit Seed Extract?
Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) which is also called citrus seed extract is a highly concentrated extract derived from the pulp, crushed seeds and membrane of the grapefruit. It is a much more potent extract that bears little resemblance to grapefruit juice.
It has been growing in popularity since its medicinal benefits were first recorded in the 1970s. Grapefruit seed extract is used today to treat a fairly broad range of conditions and is probably best known for its ability to treat fungal infections like candida.
It contains limonoids and naringenin in much higher concentrations than grapefruit juice. These potent compounds exhibit significant antioxidant, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. While it has many supporters, there is a certain amount of controversy regarding its effectiveness and some disagreement about how it works.
Its range of therapeutic treatment potential is due to its natural antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and antioxidant properties. Laboratory tests have demonstrated that grapefruit seed extract can destroy a number of bacterial, fungal and viral microbes but like many natural treatments good quality research on human subjects is lacking up to now.
Despite the lack of concrete human research, many health practitioners and patients claim that grapefruit seed extract can effectively fight a range of infections.
Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is readily available these days in capsule and liquid form and in a range of concentration and dosage. The liquid has a bitter taste and vegetable glycerin is often added to make it more palatable. If you still find the liquid too difficult to swallow then you can use the capsule form; a single capsule is the equivalent of around 10 drops of liquid.
A report published by investigators in 2012 discovered that many commercial grapefruit seed extract products contained synthetic chemicals which weren’t listed on the product’s labels. Because of this many experts do not recommend that you take grapefruit seed extract internally. Obviously a well-respected and lab tested company would be recommended in purchasing any GSE supplement.
Grapefruit Seed Extract Benefits
1. Yeast Infections and Candida
Grapefruit seed extract is often recommended as a treatment for Candida albicans and reports suggest that it is a very effective treatment. Candida is a pathogen that thrives in the digestive and urogenital tract of both men and women.
Left untreated, the yeast can spread through the blood and take up residence in the internal organs. Once this happens there are a number of adverse effects to the body which include fatigue, flatulence, indigestion, diarrhea, depression and anxiety.
When Candida is out of control, it can also lead to bladder and skin infections as well as vaginal infection in women.
Many of the most commonly prescribed medications for Candida are known to be toxic to the body in general and specifically harmful for the liver. So finding an effective, natural and safe treatment like GSE has long been a priority.
Many medical experts are happy to prescribe grapefruit seed extract for infants as a yeast infections treatment in the diaper area. Dr. Sachs a leading expert on grapefruit seed extract states that it is in excellent formulation for treating yeast infection that has been safely used even on very young babies. (1)
- Start off by taking one capsule or 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract twice a day between meals.
- After the first three days, increase the dosage to 15 drops twice a day for the next seven days.
- Continue dosing with 15 drops but increase the frequency to three times a day for the next three weeks.
2. For Dandruff
While there are no human trials that demonstrate its efficacy, grapefruit seed extract might help to treat dandruff due to its antifungal and antimicrobial properties. To treat dandruff or scalp fungus there are several methods that you can try.
- Add two or three drops of grapefruit seed extract to your chosen shampoo. Let it sit on your scalp for around three minutes then rinse thoroughly with clean water.
- Apply the grapefruit seed extract liquid directly to your scalp instead of adding it to your shampoo.
- Take it internally according to directions.
3. As a Mouthwash
Because grapefruit seed extract is a natural and potent antiseptic, it can be used to make a mouthwash to combat a number of conditions including gingivitis, ulcers, halitosis and thrush.
To make your own grapefruit seed extract mouthwash, simply add five drops of liquid to a glassful of water and gargle the mixture three times a day. Not only should this keep your mouth clean and your breath fresh but it might help treat any oral problems that you have and protect against any future infection.
Alternatively, you could add a drop or two of grapefruit seed extract to your toothpaste and brush as normal. As it is potent like grapefruit essential oil—only a small amount is required.
4. For Sinus Infection
Because of its anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties grapefruit seed extract might help to relieve sinusitis but most of the evidence for this seems to be anecdotal.
The most effective way to use it for sinusitis treatment is to irrigate the sinuses in combination with a saline water mixture. Because of its high concentration and its potential to cause irritation, you should always dilute your grapefruit seed extract with water before treating your sinuses.
- Add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract and a quarter of a teaspoon of salt to a glass of bottled warm water.
- Wash out your nasal cavities with a neti pot or a squeeze bottle.
- Repeat the process three times a day for as long as necessary. You can gradually increase the quantity of grapefruit seed extract that you add to your mixture up to a maximum of five or six drops.
5. To Treat Acne
Many people recommend using grapefruit seed extract on the skin to help keep the skin healthy and to treat certain skin complaints like acne. Grapefruit seed extract has antioxidant and astringent properties that can help to regulate the build-up of oil in the pores that leads to acne.
Not only is grapefruit seed extract free of the chemicals found in many prescription acne medications but it is a rich source of vitamin C which is known to be beneficial to the skin.
Treating your skin with grapefruit seed extract is easy and safe enough to repeat on a long term basis.
- First wash your face thoroughly as a clean face is far more receptive to absorption.
- Dilute three or four drops of grapefruit seed extract with the water on your hands.
- Apply it to your entire face being careful to avoid contact with your eyes.
- Let it sit on your face for two or three minutes to ensure that it has absorbed, rinse your face with clean water and pat your skin dry.
- Repeat the process every morning and before bedtime.
6. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Research has demonstrated the potential of grapefruit seed extract in treating irritable bowel syndrome. Subjects were given 150mg capsules or two drops of grapefruit seed extract liquid three times a day for a month.
All of those treated with the capsules exhibited significant reduction in their symptoms which included flatulence, discomfort and constipation while 20% of those treated with the liquid form reported significant improvement. (2)
7. Colds and Sore Throat
If you are suffering from a sore throat, gargling with grapefruit seed extract might help you ease the symptoms even when the soreness is caused by strep germs.
Simply add four or five drops to a glass of water and gargle with it three times a day until your symptoms have gone.
8. May Protect from Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions, afflicting millions each year. One suffers from diabetes when they have high blood lipid levels and high blood sugar levels. Currently, animal studies show that grapefruit seed extract may manage these high blood sugar levels. These animal studies also found that grapefruit seed extract dramatically lowered bad cholesterol while raising levels of good cholesterol in rats. These results may be due to the fact that grapefruit seed extract is rich in phytonutrients such as cardiac glycoside and flavonoids. There is currently no human studies replicating these results, but they the results are promising.
9. Protect the Health of your Stomach
Modern life can wreak havoc on your gut: stress, alcohol, and a lousy diet. All of these factors can take a major toll on your stomach, tearing it up and making healthy digestion difficult. One study found that grapefruit seed extract provides significant protection against the damage that alcohol may inflict on the stomach lining. These studies also found that grapefruit seed extract may protect against lesions that form on the stomach lining due to stress.
Grapefruit seed extract hunts down free radicals and prevents the tissue damage that they cause. Meanwhile, the high antioxidant levels in grapefruit seed extract help heal the damage caused by these roaming free radicals. Rich in the antioxidants limonoids, naringenin, and flavonoids help protect the stomach against ulcers, especially ulcers caused by aspirin.
10. Preserve Food
Grapefruit seed extract not only provides a wide array of health benefits, but it also serves as an effective way to preserve food as well. One study found that grapefruit seed extract helps prevent the growth of yeast and bacteria in some beverages over an extended period of time in comparison to other beverages not treated with grapefruit seed extract. Another study found that food treated with grapefruit seed extract prevented the growth of food-borne pathogens.
Many people find grapefruit seed extract as an effective method for disinfecting vegetables. It is important to make sure your veggies disinfected because it’s not always certain what conditions they were exposed to while being grown and harvested. Thousands of people suffer from food poisoning from tainted vegetables every year. To protect yourself from such food-borne illnesses, try the following method to disinfect your vegetables:
Grapefruit Seed Extract Veggie Wash
1. Add 20 drops of grapefruit seed extract to your sink or a basin filled with fold water.
2. Let the vegetables soak in the treated cold water.
3. Another method is to fill a spray bottle with 20 drops of grapefruit seed extract oil and water. Cover the bottle and shake, ensuring that the oil and water are thoroughly mix together. Then simply spray on your veggies. You can also use this spray to disinfect your meat, cutting boards, and tabletops. Ensuring that you properly wash all surfaces after handling meat and even vegetables prevents the spread of vicious food-borne illnesses.
11. May Improve Cognitive Function
Although there are currently no human studies, animal studies show that grapefruit seed extract may improve cognitive function. These results indicate that grapefruit seed extract may turn back the damage caused by oxidative stress resulting in hippocampal dysfunction. Some studies indicate that grapefruit seed extract may also protect against Alzheimer’s disease. This research is promising, but more studies have to be done to see how effective grapefruit seed extract is in the cognitive health of humans.
Grapefruit Seed Extract Side Effects and Precautions
- Like other grapefruit products, grapefruit seed extract might interact with certain medications and could lead to adverse reaction. If you are taking any prescription medication, check first with your doctor.
- Grapefruit seed extract might cause irritation when applied topically. You should always dilute it first and don’t let it contact the eyes.
- Many experts don’t recommend taking the extract internally because it may contain unlisted synthetic chemicals.
(2) J Orthomol Med. 1990;5:155-8.