Grape Seed Extract and Green Tea Enhance Absorption of Essential Fatty Acids

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

The highly unsaturated structure of the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA makes them prone to oxidation (damage). Such damage can occur during the digestive process, especially if the digestive environment is on the “hostile” side. In a new study flavonoids from grape seed extract and green tea were shown to protect the essential fatty acids during digestion, enabling a higher uptake of useful fatty acids into the body.

Polyphenol flavonoid compounds are the natural protectors of the plants in which they reside. Humans have learned to use these nutrients for similar methods of protection. Thousands of polyphenol flavonoid structures occur in nature, which means that each one works a little bit differently than another, and offers its own type of protection. Some are clearly better than others. Grape seed extract is highly protective of the circulatory system. Green tea is highly protective of the metabolic system. Both are protective to the healthy structure of the essential fatty acids.

This is important because essential fatty acids are so vital to health. Yet they must get to where they need to go while still in a proper formation. If they begin to oxidize, they become rancid, which is not exactly what you would like your digestive tract to do to them. Research shows that this happens in the stomach and worsens later on in the digestive process. It would be worse in a person with digestive problems prone to bacterial or fungal imbalance, resulting in impaired absorption of these vital nutrients along with increased free radical damage in the digestive tract from rancid fat. 

Supplementing with DHA is vital to health. Protecting that DHA so that it remains in a healthy condition throughout your digestive tract is also important. This new study shows that protective polyphenols such as grape seed extract or green tea can keep DHA in a healthy status in your digestive system to ensure you get the benefit you need from this important nutrient.

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