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Benefit of grapes may be more than skin deep
Date:4/22/2009

dant protein called glutathione, which is one of our first defenders against damaging oxidative stress. High blood pressure causes oxidative stress in the heart and lowers the amount of protective glutathione. However, intake of grapes actually turned on glutathione-regulating genes in the heart and significantly elevated glutathione levels.

This may explain why the hearts of grape-fed animals functioned better and had less damage.

Although the current study was supported in part by the California Table Grape Commission, which also supplied the grape powder, the authors note that the commission played no role in the study's design, conduct, analysis or the preparation of the journal article for publication. Seymour also receives funding from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, through a National Research Service Award.

Bolling said the latest results take research on the health benefits of grapes "a step further" by examining the mechanisms impacted by antioxidant-rich grapes.

The rats in the study were from a strain called Dahl rats, which have been specially bred to all be susceptible to salt-induced hypertension. The animals are similar to

Americans who have elevated blood pressure related to diet, and who develop heart failure over time because of prolonged hypertension.

Each group of 12 rats was fed the same weight of food each day with powdered grapes making up 3 percent of the diet (by weight) for rats that received grapes as part of either a low-salt or high-salt diet. The rats that received hydrazine were fed it through their water supply in a dose that has been previously shown to be effective in reducing blood pressure.

Such naturally occurring chemicals have already been shown in other research, including previous U-M studies, to reduce other potentially harmful molecular and cellular activity in the body.

In all, the resea
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Contact: Shantell Kirkendoll
smkirk@med.umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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