Can Grapeseed & Bilberry Extract Help to Alleviate Fluid Retention? – University of Reading04 June 2001
Fluid retention is experienced by many women just before their period. It often shows up as swelling of the legs, fingers and/or abdomen. Some women also experience breast tenderness and even weight changes. Many women do not feel that they should bother their GP with these symptoms and even if they do, the only treatment options available are diuretics. Unfortunately, these preparations have side effects and many people prefer not to use such strong drugs in the long-term. An effective natural remedy based on foods would be welcomed by many sufferers, particularly if it were able to offer the prospect of a correction of the underlying problem, rather than just treating the symptoms.
A natural flavonoid extract from bilberries, cranberries and grape seeds is to be used as a dietary supplement in the OPCO-II study. Flavonoids are of increasing interest in nutrition research. They are naturally present in the diet, free from side effects and have been shown to alleviate a variety of minor ailments. Fruits and vegetables (and some beverages) are important sources of flavonoids in the diet. In fact, the protective health benefits of these compounds are now thought to largely account for the current dietary recommendation to consume 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily to protect against degenerative illness such as heart disease. Flavonoid extracts of the type used in this study are already available on prescription in France, Italy and Germany for the treatment of circulatory disorders, such as varicose veins.
Dr Ann Walker, who is leading the study feels that ``flavonoids might prove to be a new direction in the treatment of fluid retention. The OPCO-II study is a continuation of a previous pilot study (OPCO-I) carried out on 40 women who took the same flavonoid supplement as will be used in the OPCO-II study. OPCO-I showed a promising reduction in alleviating premenstrual symptoms, especially fluid retention, but the study was too small to be absolutely certain of the results. In the OPCO-II study we aim to confirm that daily consumption of four capsules a day of the flavonoid supplement for 4 months will reduce signs and symptoms of water retention in a larger study group".
We are seeking to recruit 120 women aged 18-50 years with premenstrual fluid retention, but who are otherwise in good health. Women who are pregnant or wishing to become so are excluded. Those using orthodox/herbal diuretics or flavonoid extracts will not be illegible for the study. With the exception of a small group of volunteers no visits to the University of Reading are required, contact will be by telephone and post. Those interested in taking part in the study should ring Keri Briggs on 01892 552181.
For press enquires ring Dr Ann Walker on 0118 931 8723, or Dr George Marakis on 0118931 6727.
For further details, please contact Sue Rayner or Carol Derham, Tel: 0118 931 8004/5, Fax: 0118 931 8924