A Deeper Look into Concord Grape Juice and Healthy
Further Evidence Supports Role of Concord Grape Juice in a Heart-Healthy Diet
August 26, 2013
In addition to a produce-rich diet and active lifestyle, Concord grapes can help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. Research suggests that polyphenols, like those found in Concord grapes, can contribute to heart health in certain populations by promoting healthy arteries.1-7
A new study, led by Dr. Valérie Schini-Kerth at the Université de Strasbourg, adds to the body of evidence on the heart-health benefits of Concord grape juice. The authors suggest that the findings in this experimental study augment our understanding of how Concord grape juice helps promote a healthy circulation.8
Healthy circulation depends on the production of a molecule called nitric oxide by the endothelial cells that form the inner lining of blood vessels. Nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels and stimulates blood flow. In this laboratory study, researchers found that treating endothelial cells with Concord grape juice increased nitric oxide (NO) levels by 50%. And, for the first time, researchers showed that Concord grape juice boosted the levels of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS, the protein that makes nitric acid) for up to a full day. Specifically, Concord grape juice turned on proteins that signal the endothelial cell to make more endothelial nitric oxide synthase.
Although this study was performed in a laboratory model, it builds on earlier work showing that Concord grape juice has positive effects on blood vessel health and helps to further support the link between Concord grape juice and healthy circulation.
According to Dr. Schini-Kerth, besides red wine, drinking grape juice is an excellent way to obtain grape-derived polyphenols, which have been shown to have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system. The dual ability of grape-derived polyphenols to acutely enhance and sustain the endothelial formation of NO might help explain this protective effect.
- Freedman JE, Parker C, 3rd, Li L, Perlman JA, Frei B, Ivanov V, Deak LR, Iafrati MD and Folts JD. Select flavonoids and whole juice from purple grapes inhibit platelet function and enhance nitric oxide release. Circulation. 2001. 103(23):2792-2798.
- Anselm E, Chataigneau M, Ndiaye M, Chataigneau T and Schini-Kerth VB. Grape juice causes endotheliumdependent relaxation via a redox-sensitive Src- and Akt-dependent activation of eNOS. Cardiovasc Res. 2007. 73(2):404-413.
- Chou EJ, Keevil JG, Aeschlimann S, Wiebe DA, Folts JD and Stein JH. Effect of ingestion of purple grape juice on endothelial function in patients with coronary heart disease. Am J Cardiol. 2001.88(5):553-555.
- Fitzpatrick DF, Hirschfield SL and Coffey RG. Endothelium-dependent vasorelaxing activity of wine and other grape products. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 1993. 265(34):H774-H778.
- Stein JH, Keevil JG, Wiebe DA, Aeschlimann S and Folts JD. Purple grape juice improves endothelial function and reduces the susceptibility of LDL cholesterol to oxidation in patients with coronary artery disease. Circulation. 1999. 100(10):1050-1055.
- Vislocky LM and Fernandez MLF. Biomedical Effects of Grape Products. Nutrition Reviews. 2010. 68(11): 656-670.
- Vislocky LM, and Fernandez ML. Grapes and Grape Products: Their Role in Health. Nutr Today. 2013. 48(1):47-51.
- Alhosin M, Anselm E, Rashid S et al. Redox-Sensitive Up-Regulation of eNOS by Purpule Grape Juice in Endothelial Cells: Role of PI3-Kinase/Akt, p38 MAPK, JNK, FoxO1 and FoxO3a. PLoS ONE. 2013. 8(3):e57883.
Grape Research Overview
For nearly 20 years, researchers have been exploring an important mix of plant nutrients – polyphenols – found in Concord grapes and the effects they have on the body, including possible benefits in supporting cardiovascular health. In addition, emerging research is being conducted to determine whether Concord grapes play a role in supporting a healthy mind and immune system. See the research.