Grape Seed Extract for Greater Respiratory Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is fairly common. If you’re in good health, you could feasibly come down with it and dismiss it as a slight cold. However, for infants and older adults, RSV could be serious.

Fortunately, grape seed extract may provide an answer. In laboratory research, key compounds from grape seed extract called proanthocyanidins (sometimes called oligomeric proanthocyanidins or OPCs) were used as a pretreatment on lung epithelial cells. These are cells on the surface of your bronchial airways, the ones that swell up during infections because they are irritated and inflamed.

The cells pretreated with grape seed extract showed less inflammation because the botanical compounds interfered with the usual expression and increase of cytokines, the inflammatory cascade that can make respiratory symptoms dangerous.

Like all botanicals, the most effective grape seed extract is one that has readily absorbed, helpful OPCs. But you need to choose carefully, because not all grape seed extracts are standardized and verified to contain the beneficial OPCs and anthocyanin content. When looking for a supplemental grape seed, make sure it provides only tannin free OPCs for the best absorption (tannins are large molecules and not easily absorbed) so it can help you breathe easier in more ways than one.


Kim SJ, Lee JW, Eun YG, Lee KH, Yeo SG, Kim SW. Pretreatment with a grape seed proanthocyanidin extract downregulates proinflammatory cytokine expression in airway epithelial cells infected with respiratory syncytial virus. Mol Med Rep. 2019;19(4):3330-3336.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Inflammation is mediated by cytokine secretion from RSV‑infected airway epithelial cells. Grape seed proanthocyanidin extract (GSPE) exhibits potent antioxidant capacity, as well as anti‑bacterial, anti‑viral, anti‑carcinogenic, anti‑inflammatory and anti‑allergic actions. However, few studies have explored the anti‑inflammatory effects of GSPE on airway epithelial cells infected with RSV. Airway epithelial A549 cells were pretreated with GSPE and its effects on cytokine production during RSV infection were investigated. A549 cells were infected with RSV, with or without GSPE pretreatment, and cultured for 24, 48 and 72 h. The expression of interleukin (IL)‑1β, IL‑6 and IL‑8, were measured by reverse transcription‑quantitative polymerase chain reaction, ELISA and western blotting. RSV infection induced significant increases in proinflammatory cytokine expression. However, GSPE pretreatment decreased the mRNA and protein expression levels of IL‑1ß, IL‑6 and IL‑8. GSPE regulated the immune response by reducing the RSV‑induced transcription of proinflammatory cytokines in airway epithelial cells, suggesting that GSPE helps to prevent RSV‑induced airway disease.