Does Grape Seed Extract Help with Celiac Disease?

Vilma Ruddock
Grape Seeds

There are no medical studies or reports that have investigated the treatment of celiac disease with grape seed extract (GSE). Without such information there is no way to know if grape seed extract can help treat celiac disease.

The Potential of the Extract

Grape seed extract (GSE) is known to contain several substances, including antioxidants such as vitamin E and proanthocyanidins polyphenols, which may be of medical benefit. Researchers are studying further whether GSE can benefit on heart disease, cancer and other diseases. It appears that the polyphenols can affect cancer cell growth and cell renewal but there is no study looking at their effect on cell renewal in celiac disease.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

While not specifically on celiac disease, there are two studies in mice available for review:

  1. There is evidence from a mouse study in 2013 that grape seed extract may be beneficial in treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  2. In a second mice study in 2014 GSE was also shown to have the potential to repair the lining cells of the small bowel in an IBD mice.

The damage to the bowel in IBD is caused by a different mechanism than in celiac disease. It is not clear if grape seed extract polyphenols can rejuvenate the damaged cells lining the small intestine in celiac disease.

Autoimmune Disease

Celiac disease or celiac sprue is a well-defined autoimmune disease triggered by an allergic reaction to gluten. When eaten, gluten triggers antibodies that attack and destroy the small bowel lining cells. This gluten intolerance and malabsorption causes specific bowel symptoms and also makes it difficult to absorb some essential nutrients.

Treatment

The treatment for celiac disease is to completely avoid the immune trigger, gluten, by avoiding wheat and other gluten foods and gluten-containing medicines. For grape seed extract to alleviate the disease it would have to either be able prevent the immune response to gluten or repair the damaged small bowel cells.

No Evidence

There is no evidence that GSE can affect an immune response or repair damage cells, but because of GSE's effects on cell renewal and its apparent effect in mice IBD the second theory is appealing but has not been studied. There is also no evidence that the extract can relieve or treat the symptoms or health consequences of celiac.

Caution

The cause and treatment of celiac disease are well-defined. To date, there is no cure for this autoimmune disease so the best treatment is prevention by avoiding gluten in foods or medicines. Advocates of alternative treatments may advise grape seed extract or other supplements; however, be careful to avoid alternatives that have no evidence to support them and could potentially worsen your condition.

Does Grape Seed Extract Help with Celiac Disease?