Health & Nutrition

Grape and olive extracts: A natural way to regulate the immune system

Grape and olive extracts: A natural way to regulate the immune system

28 May 2021

The current health situation has increased the focus on solutions enhancing the immune system in a natural way. Grape and olive extracts are rich in phenolic compounds, which have shown to have various positive actions on the immune system

The main role of the immune system is to detect and distinguish foreign, dangerous compounds or cells from healthy ones, and work at their removal from the organism. But it is a balance and the immune system can get overactive and in this way turn against the host itself.


Grape and grape seed extracts contain several phenolic compounds including proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins and resveratrol, while olive extracts contain hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol. All of these are antioxidants, which are able to help prevent and protect against oxidative stress, tissue damage and inflammation.


Studies have shown that the phenolic compounds present in e.g. grape and olive extracts may have positive effects on the immune system including on skin, immune cell activity, gut microbiota and inflammation.


Actions on skin

Phenolic compounds and metabolites can help preserve the integrity of the skin. The skin is exposed to environmental stresses such as UV light, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and bacterial liposaccharides (LPS), which could cause tissue damage. As shown in figure 1 several actions of grape and olive compounds and metabolites help protecting the skin.


Fig.1: Examples of different protective effects of grape and olive compounds on the skin.


Action on immune cell activity

Grape extract and olive extract compounds show interesting effects on different immune cells. There is both an improvement of immune cells’ function and a decrease of their accumulation in the tissues (cf. figure 2).


Fig.2: Examples of effects of grape and olive compounds or extracts on the activity of immune cells.


Actions on gut microbiota

Several studies show the positive effects of grape or olive extracts on the gut microbiota (cf. figure 3). They contribute to promoting positive microflora and to reducing negative microflora and in this way help preventing dysbiosis which is involved in numerous disorders and leads to weakening of the immune system.


Fig.3: Examples of different effects of grape and olive compounds or extracts on the gut microbiota

When the inflammation gets carried away

Inflammation is one of the main mechanisms through which the body protects itself from pathogens and toxins but it is important that it is only a short-term effect. Many human diseases are driven by an uncontrolled chronic inflammation, which is a vicious circle leading to permanent tissue damage and dysfunction. Most chronic inflammatory diseases start by a similar process: immune cells release pro-inflammatory cytokines which leads to the activation of endothelial cells on the inflammation site, which then produce more inflammatory mediators and amplify the inflammation process. The adaptive immune system also participates in the process once the immature T-cells have been activated by macrophages and other antigen-presenting cells. For example, they can differentiate into T helper cells, which can then produce cytokines. So, yes, the immune system must be strong, but it is important to regulate the inflammation to avoid feeding a chronic inflammation leading to a weakening of the immune system in the long term.


Numerous studies (cf. figure 4) have shown a positive effect of grape and grape seed extracts on chronic inflammation through lowering the expression and activity of pro-inflammatory factors such as TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-6 and other cytokines as well as inflammation-inducing NF-κB transcription factor and MAPKs activation.


Hydroxytyrosol from olive extract has also been demonstrated to have an important effect on inflammation, as it decreases the expression and activity of many different inflammatory markers (such as IL-1β, COX2, IL-6, TNF-α) and increases the expression of cytokines that improve the anti-inflammatory defense (IL-10).


Fig.4: Effects of grape and olive compounds or extracts on the regulation of inflammation


exGrape®SEED (grape seed extract), exGrape®TOTAL (grape extract) or Olivex® (olive extract) could be good choices for formulations to improve immune system in association with e.g. omega 3 or vitamins and oligo elements.



exGrape®SEED – exGrape®TOTAL – Olivex®

The Grap’Sud group range of phenolic compounds is mainly produced from French grapes and olives. With the advantage of vast areas for collection of raw materials, the group offers a range of tracked and high quality extracts.


exGrape®TOTAL, red grape polyphenols titrated with anthocyanins, exGrape®SEED grape seed extracts rich in procyanidins, and Olivex® olive extracts with standardised levels of hydroxytyrosol and tyrosol are all supported by scientific studies.






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