Grapefruit seed extract is derived from the pulp, white membranes, and seeds of the grapefruit. It is also sometimes referred to as citrus seed extract. It has chemical compounds known as naringenin and limonoids that have the medicinal benefits of treating viral, bacterial and fungal infections. It is commonly also used as antimicrobial, broad spectrum and a preservative. The grapefruit seed extract is available in liquid form, pill or powder form. It is widely and commercially used in the cosmetic and personal care products. However, much of the commercially available grapefruit seed extract is a chemically modified product. Whether natural or chemically modified, there are many reasons why you should not use grapefruit extract.
We’ll Start With the Warnings
Pregnant and nursing mothers
Grapefruit seed extract is considered a herbal medicine and supplement and has no proven medical benefits. It is therefore prohibited for pregnant and nursing women to use without first consulting with a medical doctor.
Interacts Badly With Certain Medicines
Grapefruit seed extract has also been proven to interact with and affect the metabolism of some drugs which can lead to their decreased effectiveness or serious reactions. Doctors caution the use of grapefruit seed extract when taking any type of medicine or supplements.
Cytochrome P450, an enzyme that helps in drug metabolism is hindered by grapefruit seed extract. This can lead to high concentration of the medicine in the blood. It can also lead to a risk of the medicine dependency or even overdose.
Use of grapefruit seed extracts by patients with blood clotting issues is also prohibited as it reduces the effectiveness and can cause excessive bleeding.
Grapefruit seed extracts also affect statin metabolism. Statins are drugs used to lower the cholesterol level in the blood hence preventing diseases such as heart attack and stroke. Alteration of the statin metabolism by the grapefruit seed extracts can lead to conditions such as Rhabdomyolysis.
Pain relieving drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin and antiplatelet drugs are known to react with grapefruit seed extract hence it is highly recommended not to be used together.
Grapefruit seed extract is also not to be used with other drugs such as immunosuppressants or antihistamines as it hinders the function of these medicines.
Adverse Reactions Caused By Grapefruit Seed Extract
Despite being used to topically treat fungal infections and eczema, when used without dilution the grapefruit seed extract can cause skin irritation, lips swelling and difficulty in breathing.
It can also cause stomach discomfort, nausea, and vomiting when used to treat Candida or vaginal yeast infections.
Grapefruit seed extract is also believed to cure oral thrush but it can also cause serious mouth irritation and a swollen throat especially when used without diluting.
Commercial Products of Grapefruit Seed Extract
• Over the years, concern has raised over the grapefruit seed extract products and the authenticity of the methods used to derive its products.
• Conventional Non-organic extracts can cause serious health complications because they contain preservatives and high levels of toxins.
• Commercially produced grapefruit seed extract has shown to be contaminated by chloride, triclosan, parabens, and benzalkonium.
• The toxins may overwork vital internal organs such as the kidney and liver leading to further adverse health complications.
Critical Medical Reactions
If a person has cuts and bruises they are advised not to use grapefruit seed extracts. This is because the extract prolongs bleeding by slowing down blood clotting.
Also with surgery patients, consumption of grapefruit seed extract is prohibited because it prolongs bleeding hence slowing down the healing process. Grapefruit seed extract also causes gastrointestinal bleeding which is manifested by blood in the stool or vomit.
Grapefruit seed extract can cause a coma, speech and vision impairment, numbness usually caused by a hemorrhagic stroke. Hemorrhagic stroke is bursting of blood vessels inside the brain.
In some people, grapefruit seed extract has been reported to cause nausea, dizziness, cough, abdominal pain, sore thought, and many other minor symptoms.
Possible Side Effects and Warnings of Grapefruit Seed Extract
• Before using grapefruit seed extract, talk to your doctor if you:
— are currently taking any other medications, especially blood thinners or medicines used after an organ transplant
— are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter or dietary supplements)
— are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
— are breast-feeding
— have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart/blood vessel disease
• NEVER put the extract into your eyes, and don’t use at full strength in your mouth, ears, nose or sensitive areas. If used in full strength on the skin it may cause irritation.
• See a doctor right away if you have any signs of a serious allergic reaction after taking GSE. Signs of an allergic reaction include swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing, hives or rash.
• Grapefruit seed extract is not commonly known to cause any side effects when taken as directed. However, rare side effects of may include nausea, vomiting, swollen or painful tongue, and burns of the mouth, throat or stomach. Discontinue use if you exhibit any negative side effects.
• NEVER buy a grapefruit seed extract product that contains harmful ingredients like benzethonium chloride, triclosan or methylparaben.
• Without fail, if you’re going to use a grapefruit seed extract product, you should always read ingredients lists carefully and make sure that you buy from a reputable company. Scientific research has shown that pure grapefruit seed extract can kill all kinds of infectious microbes and even help combat common health issues like candida and athlete’s foot.
• It is recommended that you take grapefruit seed extract sparingly and as directed. When consumed for long periods of time, grapefruit seed extracted has shown to reduce the proper function of the digestive system by killing the good bacteria in the digestive tract. These good bacteria are responsible for digesting the contents of your intestines and stomach. Excessive consumption of grapefruit seed extract has also been known to cause bowel problems.
On The Other Hand, Here Are Some Grapefruit Seed Extract Benefits
1. Fights Candida
Candidiasis, commonly referred to as “candida,” is a fungal infection that can affect men and women of all ages in various parts of the body. It most commonly occurs in the mouth, ears, nose, toenails, fingernails, gastrointestinal tract and vagina.
GSE’s antifungal properties aids in combating candida infestations by killing the yeast cells that have taken over in the body.
2. Kills Antibiotic-Resistant UTIs
Grapefruit seeds were found to be highly effective in killing antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections. The data points toward the antibacterial ability of dried or fresh grapefruit seeds being comparable to proven antibacterial drugs, making it an effective home remedy for UTIs.
3. It’s Remedy to Some Fungal Infections
Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection that is most commonly transmitted when spores become airborne (often during cleanup or demolition projects) or from dirt contaminated with the droppings of birds or bats. The majority of people who acquire this fungal infection do not show any symptoms and never even know they’re infected. However, some people may develop flu-like symptoms that last around 10 days.
An alternative treatment for this fungal infection is grapefruit seed extract at a dosage of 100 milligrams (capsule) or five to 10 drops in water three times daily. It is recommended because of its antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.
4. Relieves Athlete’s Foot and Nail Fungus
Athlete’s foot, which is caused by a fungus, is a skin disease that usually occurs between the toes. You can try applying full-strength grapefruit seed extract to the problem areas two to three times per day as a natural treatment for athlete’s foot. It shouldn’t take too long to have the athlete’s foot under control.
GSE can also be used as an alternative to tea tree oil to treat toenail fungus. All you would need to do is to paint the extract on the infected nails two times a day until you see an improvement in their look.
5. Works as a General Antimicrobial
Due to its antimicrobial activities, grapefruit seed extract is commonly included in many throat sprays, nasal sprays, ear drops, mouthwashes, toothpaste, shower gels, wound disinfectant sprays and other personal care products.
From the pages of University Health News Daily: 7 Grapefruit Seed Extract Uses, Plus Dangers to Beware
Major Negative Effect Warning
A helpful article by Livestrong: Side Effects of Grapefruit Extract
From the pages of WebMD: Grapefruit Information
How to Choose and Properly Use Grapefruit Seed Extract
• Grapefruit seed extract is readily available at your local health store or online. It’s available in supplement form as a liquid concentrate, tablet or capsule.
• NEVER purchase a grapefruit seed extract product that contains health-hazardous, synthetic chemicals like benzethonium chloride, methylparaben, or triclosan. The best formula contains just two ingredients: grapefruit seed extract and vegetable glycerin.
• Always follow the instructions provided on the extract product or speak with your healthcare provider about proper dosage.
• Grapefruit seed extract can deplete good bacteria in the gut if it’s taken for long periods of time. Make sure to also consume a probiotic supplement a few hours before taking your dose of GSE if you intend to take it for three or more consecutive days.
• Always store your grapefruit seed extract away from direct light and heat.
• You can also include the seeds and membranes when you make fresh grapefruit juice if you feel unsure about taking supplemental forms of grapefruit seed extract.
Let us know if you have tried any natural or commercial GSE and how it is working for you. Our readers all are looking for first-hand information on how supplements work.