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Food Chem Toxicol. 2002 Dec;40(12):1731-43.

Subchronic 3-month oral toxicity study of grape seed and grape skin extracts.

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Huntingdon Life Sciences, Mettlers Road, East Millstone, NJ 08875-2360, USA.


Meganatural brand grape seed extract (GSE) and grape skin extract (GSKE), containing proanthocyanidin (PAC) polyphenolic compounds, are intended for use in food as functional ingredients exhibiting antioxidant activity. Proanthocyanidins, as well as the minor constituent phenolic compounds in GSE and GSKE, are present naturally in many foods such as fruits, vegetables, chocolate, tea, etc., and on average people consume 460-1000 mg/day of these combined substances. Although humans have ingested PACs for centuries without reported adverse effects, the current toxicology literature contains relatively little formal evidence regarding their safety. Accordingly, as part of a program to investigate the safety of GSE and GSKE, these products were incorporated into chow and fed to rats for at least 3 months in a GLP-compliant subchronic toxicity study. Groups of CD (Sprague-Dawley) Crl:CD IGS BR rats (20 males and 20 females per group) were fed diets containing GSE at concentrations of 0, 0.63, 1.25 or 2.5% (w/w); GSKE was fed at 2.5% (w/w) only. Clinical observations were recorded and body weight and feed consumption measured throughout the study. After 1 month, blood was obtained from 10 rats/sex/group by retrobulbar puncture for interim measurement of clinical pathology. At the end of the study the rats were subjected to a full necropsy, aortic blood samples were collected for clinical pathology, selected organs were weighed and a complete list of tissues was preserved from all animals. Histologic examination was performed on all tissues from control and high-dose GSE and GSKE groups. There were no treatment-related changes that were considered to be of toxicologic significance. Therefore, a dietary concentration of 2.5% GSE or 2.5% GSKE was considered to be a no-observed-adverse effect level (NOAEL). This was equivalent to a time-weighted average dose over the course of the study of approximately 1.78 g/kg body weight/day GSE or GSKE in male rats and 2.15 g/kg body weight/day in female rats.

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