Grape Seed Extract and Erectile Dysfunction
Many of you know that Pycnogenol has done quite well in a couple of studies on erectile dysfunction when combined with low dose
arginine, something I cover in this link. However, Pycnogenol is a fairly expensive
supplement and so one man in this thread posted the following question:
"Hey everyone -- My question is if anyone has ever used Arginine with Grape Seed extract? I recently
read that grape seed extract is pretty much the same thing as pycnogenol. (plus its a lot cheaper)."
"I bought 1000mg arginine and 250mg grape seed extract and I am planning on taking them twice per day to help boost my nitric oxide. I wanted
to know if anyone has tried this? There's a lot of information out there saying that taking regular l-arginine will get metabolized fast
and we are all wasting our money.. However other information I read discusses about how arginine/grape seed
or arginine/pycnogenol can boost nitric oxide and is great for erectile health.. so what gives? "
Well, that's a great question. It seems like a great idea overall and the
reason is that Grape Seed Extract a) comes from an actual food, something you
cannot say for Pycnogenol (pine bark extract), and b) it has many great artery
and endothelial-related properties that should make it excellent for improving
erectile dysfunction. Here are just a few examples:
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1. Nitric Oxide. A 2008 study sought to find out just how Grape Seed
Extract relaxes arteries and the answer is simple: it does it the old fashioned, time proven way by
favorably acting on eNOS (endothelial nitric oxide synthase), the same enzyme
that Viagra acts upon.  This means that Grape Seed Extract will increase nitric
oxide levels just like Pycnogenol. (For more information, see my page on
Pycnogenol and Erectile Dysfunction.) Other studies have verifed the same
Lower Blood Pressure. Due to #1, it is no surprise that researchers found that it lowered blood pressure
in patients with Metabolic Syndrome when given at a dosage of 150-300 mg/day.  The hallmark
features of Metabolic Syndrome
are elevated blood pressure, insulin resistance and triglycerides.
3. Blood Flow. If there's one thing you need for good erections, it's
blood flow, eh? Well, one study on men and women with above average
cardiovascular risk found that increased blood flow by taking "2 g/day of GSE (1
g of polyphenols)." 
4. Protection Against Arteriosclerosis. A 2010 study erified #1, i.e. that
Grape Seed Extract increased nitric oxide and the authors noted that "has been
shown to exhibit protective effects against cardiovascular events and
atherosclerosis."  Of course, protecting against arteriosclerosis should be
one of the top goals for any male of any age. As the lining of our
arteries calcify and thicken, they lose their ability to pump out nitric oxide,
and this leads to heart disease and erectile dysfunction. How does it
protect the lining of your arteries? An animal study noted that it 1)
scavenged free radicals, 2) protected lipids from oxidatative damage and 3)
inhibited the formation of the inflammatory cytokines (inflammatory messenger
molecules).  All of these ground zero for the the arterial lesions that
eventually lead to the buildup of plaque.
5. CRP (C-Reactive Protein). One of the key markers to measure whole
body inflammation is CRP. Elevated CRP levels have been linked to heart
disease, erectile dysfunction and a host of other chronic diseases. One
study on type II diabetics using 600 mg/day of Grape Seed Extract decreased
hsCRP from 3.2 to 2.0 mg/l, a very significant drop needless to say. 
6. Glutathione. One very impressive result of the study in #4 is that
Grape Seed Extract increased glutathione levels by 52%. This is very
impressive as glutathione is the master detoxer of the body and this should
definitely protect one's long term health.
7. Venous Insufficiency. Grape Seed Extract seems to significantly help
with venous insufficiency.  Venous insufficiecy is a disease of poor
circulation and should be confused with Venous Leakage,
which has a more direct effect on erectile function. Venous insufficiency plagues
diabetics, for example, who cannot get proper circulation to their extremities allowing
fluid and toxins to build up there.
SUPERCHARGE FOR ERECTILE STRENTH: This has not been proven in any study, but it
is likely that adding low dose Arginine or Citrulline daily along with Grape Seed Extract
will yield synergies. Citrulline has shown beneftis by itself to lower blood pressure and
improve erectile dysfunction as I discuss in my page on
The Benefits of Citrulline. Basically, Citrulline can supply a much needed base quantity of
nitric oxide, which is important for middle aged men and then Grape Seed Extract can act on
eNOS to make sure that that nitric oxide is preserved. Common dosages with Citrulline
are 3 X 500 mg or 3 X 1 gram daily.
DOSAGE: Now, before I go on, I do have to say that one of the advantages of
Pycnogenol is that they require solid standards with their extracts and seem to
have good quality control. There will undoubtedly be more variability in
any Grape Seed Extracts purchased. Furthermore, notice that the above studies
use a wide range of dosages, 150 mg - 2 grams per day - in order to achieve the
desired clinical effect.
LONG TERM SAFETY: It is true that Grape Seed Extract looks very promising to
help men with erectile dysfunction, long term safety has not been established. As far as I know,
all the studies have just looked at Grape Seed Extract for a few months and that is it.
CAUTIONS: Grape Seed Extact is known to be an
aromatase inhibitor, which potentially could raise you testosterone a little . It also, in vitro at least, gives Vitamin C a
longer shelf life. However, Grape Seed Extract has a couple of cautions
that need to go along with it: 1) in combination with Vitamin C it apparently
raises blood pressure  and 2) it may slightly decrease free testosterone because it
can raise SHBG, the protein that binds to testosterone.
1) Clinical Science, 2008, 114:331–337, "Mechanism of the endothelium-dependent
relaxation evoked by a grape seed extract"
2) Metabolism, Dec 2009, 58(12):1743–1746, "Effect of grape seed extract on blood
pressure in subjects with the metabolic syndrome"
3) Cell & Molecular Biology, 34(10), "Grape seed extract enhances eNOS expression
and NO production through regulating calcium-mediated AKT phosphorylation in
4) Diabetic Medicine, May 2009, 26(5):526-531, "Effects of grape seed extract in
Type 2 diabetic subjects at high cardiovascular risk: a double blind randomized
placebo controlled trial examining metabolic markers, vascular tone,
inflammation, oxidative stress and insulin sensitivity"
5) Acta Pharacologica, Dec 2001, 22(12), "Anti-inflammatory effect and mechanism
of proanthocyanidins from grape seed"
6) Nitric Oxide, Apr 2001, 5(2):137–149, "Protection of Primary Glial Cells by
Grape Seed Proanthocyanidin Extract against Nitrosative/ Oxidative Stress"
7) Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, Oct 2005, 46(4):445-451, "Grape Seed
and Skin Extracts Inhibit Platelet Function and Release of Reactive Oxygen
8) Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, 2004, 5:272-278, "Effect of Grape
Seed Extract and Quercetin on Cardiovascular and Endothelial Parameters in
10) J Hypertensm 2005 Feb, 23(2):427-34, "The combination of vitamin C and
grape-seed polyphenols increases blood pressure: a randomized, double-blind,
11) Cancer Res. 2006 Jun 1;66(11):5960-7