History of The Grapefruit
Grapefruit seed extract (sometimes just called GSE) is a fairly controversial food supplement. It is a citrus seed extract, prepared from white membrane, pulp, and seeds of grapefruit. There have long been ongoing debates about the actual benefits of its use. Additionally, it has a rather interesting and peculiar commercial history. The grapefruit, which is actually a descendant of the Japanese sweet orange, was officially documented in the mid 1700′s; but it wasn’t until the early 1960′s that it was first brought to market by a nuclear physicist named Jacob Harich. Harich claimed to have extensively researched the grapefruit in Florida before ultimately discovering that its ground up seeds produced a microbial effect. He later produced and sold grapefruit seed extract commercially.
The grapefruit is a relatively new discovery, with one of the first discoveries of the trees taking place in the 19th century. Each part of the fruit has its own uses, and hence, has been popular ever since its discovery. The fruit is generally used as a source of food, well known for its tangy juice, while aromatherapy oil can be extracted or derived from its peel, which is also a genuine source of dietary fiber. Ever since this first came into light, its seed and pulp, generally considered as a by-product, are used as cattle feed.
Grapefruit seed extract is used as a food supplement (i.e. dietary supplement.) It is made by taking the seeds and pulp of a grapefruit and grinding them up into an extractable liquid. This liquid is then sold to consumers for its alleged microbial and antioxidant attributes. The extract is readily available online and in major vitamin retailers.
Grapefruit Seed Extract: Does it have benefits?
The controversy surrounding grapefruit seed extract mainly centers on the alleged benefits it produces. A number of recent and legitimate scientific studies which tested commercial grapefruit seed extract for an antimicrobial effect have concluded that these supposed effects were actually the result of contamination from synthetic antimicrobial agents – most notably a synthetic chemical agent known as benzethonium chloride. Many in the scientific community suspect that makers of grapefruit seed extract are adding these synthetics to create an artificial appearance of a naturally occurring antimicrobial.
On the other hand, many independent (though less reputable) scientific studies claim to have evidence suggesting that grapefruit seed extract does indeed succeed as a valid antimicrobial. Furthermore, these same studies claim that grapefruit seed extract is also a valid antioxidant. They cite the presence of absorbic acid, calcium, falvanoids among other properties claimed to provide health benefits. Probably the most intriguing of these small independent studies is the one which suggested that the compounds found in grapefruit seed extract may in fact prevent the development of colon cancer. If this finding withstands the test of time, then it will very likely spark a renewed interest grapefruit seed extract from legitimate members of the scientific community who are currently skeptical of the compound.
Furthermore, despite insufficient information, grapefruit seed extracts are thought to be responsible for improving the performance of the lungs in asthma patients. This is disputed due to contrasting studies which have produced different, and hence, not wholly reliable results. Meanwhile, developing evidence seems to suggest that grapefruit seed extracts may help in decreasing gas, constipation and stomach disorders. Studies suggest this may be due to a change in intestinal bacteria in people who suffer from eczema.
Other unsubstantiated reports claim that grapefruit seed extracts can also help in reducing the level of cholesterol, reduce the hardening of arteries while helping in weight loss, prevention of cancer, hair growth, skin toning, reducing both acne as well as oily skin, treatment of headaches, depression, stress, infections, digestive complaints and yeast infections amongst others. However it is important to remember that these are not completely verified and hence, are not completely reliable. Regardless, these studies are significant and the potential is there for innovation if further studies are ever conducted.
Due to the hype and controversy that has surrounded grapefruit seed extract; many places refuse to sell it, for fear of damaging their reputation if the extract causes any sort of harm. Despite that, there are still many shops that sell grapefruit seed extracts which are verified to be pure and do not contain or possess any of the harmful chemicals that have lead to the controversy regarding the extracts. Not only does the famous Vitamin Shoppe sell a variety of pure grapefruit seed extracts, they can also be purchased from major online retailers which include the likes of Amazon.