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RedPowerLady's avatar

Know anything about Grapefruit Seed Extract?

Asked by RedPowerLady (12551points) October 8th, 2009

A midwife recently told me to take Grapefruit Seed Extract to help boost my immune system while pregnant (due to the recent flu outbreaks and me asking her how to stay healthy in spite of them). So my husband, who works at an herbal distributor, buys some for me. His boss and a co-worker tell him that it’s not safe to ingest. I did further research and can’t find anything that suggests it’s bad. The people he works with are highly herb knowledgeable so now I’m confused. Does anyone know about this product?

I will be asking my doctor before I take it but that is about a month away so I thought I’d do some research myself beforehand. It’ll probably confuse me even more to hear what everyone thinks but hey I like having as much info. as possible.

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14 Answers

ubersiren's avatar

I don’t know anything helpful, but just wanted to say “congrats!” on the pregnancy! I don’t know how I missed that information…

casheroo's avatar

Most doctors will automatically tell you something is unsafe, especially if they just don’t know…and most OBs don’t keep up with herbal remedies.
All I can find on it is for stretch marks, and perineal massage.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@casheroo Ya his coworkers seemed to know about it’s external uses not its internal ones. But online I found a bunch of stuff that says it’s a good antiviral type of herbal. I agree, most doctors say no because they don’t know. It can be frustrating. Maybe I should call a naturopath.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

yeah if his buddies are herbalists I’d say they carry a little weight in the matter…...

Kraigmo's avatar

If the extract is biologically active, such as the Nutrabiotic brand, then it is unwise, in my patient opinion, to take it for prevention. It works similar to an antibiotic, and only in extreme circumstances should they be used for preventative reasons. And once used for a day, it should be used for 8 days straight. Or else you risk creating supergerms.

And the flu is a virus which wouldn’t be affected by this anyway.

If the extract is not biologically active, and is just a concentration of antioxidants such as pycnogenol… then it is not dangerous in small doses. (And after the baby is born, very helpful to you, in big doses).

bpeoples's avatar

So… from my reading on this, it sounds like the preservatives in GSE are what gives it the antimicrobial properties—specifically the synthetic preservative Benzethonium chloride which doesn’t sound like something I want to drink.

Other than that, it sounds like flavenoids and Vitamin C, which seem like easier to get from other sources (like dark chocolate and juice).

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

how about some vit. C instead…

RedPowerLady's avatar

@bpeoples Someone did briefly mention to look into the preservatives. Maybe I’ll look at that some more. They seemed to suggest that is where the problem lies.

emilyrose's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03—vitamin C is not good for pregnant women because in large doses it can cause a miscarriage….

I have a friend who took GSE when she got really sick in india and it totally worked. I doubt it would help with the flu though, there are plenty of other herbs that would though, but definitely talk to an herbalist before you take anything since so many herbs are slightly abortive

Blondesjon's avatar

I know that if someone tells you that it works better if you smoke it, they just want to see you cough for an hour and a half before you throw up and pass out.

snowberry's avatar

My first thought is that since GSE is antibiotic in nature, it will act that way in the gut, similar to the way antibiotics do. They both kill bacteria, both good and bad in the gut (although I don’t know how GSE compares to antibiotics), but the beneficial bacteria needs to be replenished after taking either, and the longer you take it, the more you need to replenish. This seems to be a pretty even handed discussion of the subject:

Kraigmo's avatar

Treat it like an antibiotic. It’s very powerful. But it can become useless if used too much. If you use it once, then you must use it every day for ten days. I would never use it for preventative reasons (except when camping or flying).

I would not use it when pregnant. You do not want your baby to be immune to nutribiotics through needless usage. I think your midwife is making assumptions based on experience (the stuff does work, after all) or articles she’s read, but her advice is not good because it does not take into account the fact that babies get immune to things they are exposed to. Instead of nutribiotic, wait till the baby is born, then expose him or her to to small amounts pet hair, dirt, dust, dander, pollen, and pine. That will actually help the baby far more, generally speaking.

Aster's avatar

I read you should put a few drops of it in liquid all day during a trip to prevent travelers’ diarrhea.
It didn’t work. ):

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