Muscadine’s Proven “Whole-Food Synergy”
The most long-standing traditional use of muscadines in the past 200+ years has been in wine, but juice and fresh fruit markets have also been developed. Muscadines differ from table grapes in DNA, appearance and taste, and they are considered separate fruits.
Muscadines have been cultivated in vineyards since the mid-18th century (Reimer, 1909). The muscadine wine industry was booming, until Prohibition, when many vineyards were abandoned. William Olien, HortScience 25(7) 1990
The muscadine industry is currently expanding throughout the southeastern U.S. as interest in muscadines increases around the globe. There is particular interest in this fruit for small and part-time farm operations and as an alternative crop for agronomic growers.
The antioxidants from mighty muscadines are healthy, whole-food nutrients.
Muscadine nutrients are in food-bound form, which means they’re bioavailable and better absorbed into cells.
Recent studies show muscadines are more effective at quenching free radicals compared to isolated antioxidants like vitamin C and quercetin.
Muscadine grapes are versatile, and several types of muscadine ingredients are produced from the fruit:
Muscadine ingredients may be used as primary ingredients in products such as the following:
For the use of Muscadine pomace in nutritional supplements, both bronze and purple/black cultivars can have commercial value. Only the purple and black variants have a robust level of anthocyanins. However, the bronze pomace after wine making is anticipated as a good source of ellagic acid, i.e. one of the compounds that has value in inflammation, metabolic health, and cancer prevention.
Juice Versus Wine
The juice from Muscadine grapes contain readily available, water-soluble polyphenols, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming the juice will provide moderate amounts of those polyphenols, including ellagic acid and anthocyanidins. These polyphenolic compounds have beneficial effects on metabolic health.
Wine produced from Muscadine grapes contains some of the same readily available, water-soluble polyphenols as the juice, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The wine also contains modified muscadine-based compounds altered during the fermentation process. Possibly, the wine may also contain some yeast-based compounds, contributed from the fermentation process. An exact chemical comparison of juice to wine has not been published in the literature at this time.
Both red and white muscadine wines had higher antioxidant capacity after storage than juices made from an identical grape press, despite lower concentrations of individual polyphenolic compounds.8 This suggests that the fermentation, even though it breaks down some known polyphenols, will generate other fermentation-based compounds with antioxidant capacity less affected by storage.
Muscadine pomace is a byproduct from wine making, and contains the skin and seeds, as well as fibers from the grape after the juice has been pressed out. Muscadine pomace in the diet has a positive effect on resistance of bacterial diseases. It has demonstrated the capacity to interfere with carcinogen formation during heat-treatment of foods. which suggests that pomace may be an attractive food additive in foods known to generate carcinogens during cooking; examples include fried foods, chips, and meat. Application of muscadine-based marinades or dressings prior to cooking may be seen as a healthy trend, as similar food treatments have been shown to also reduce carcinogen-formation.
The muscadine grape skins contain anthocyanins, where the levels of each type depends on the color of the cultivar. Muscadine grape skins also contain a high level of non-anthocyanin phenolic compounds compared to other grape species, due to their richness in flavanols and ellagic acids.9 Muscadine grape skin is more potent than vitamin C and quercetin alone at inhibiting superoxide-induced free radical damage.
The seeds contain two main fractions:
– Oil-soluble compounds
– Water-soluble compounds
Tocotrienols are oils that are part of the Vitamin E family, and are important for our metabolic health, anti-obesity, and cardiovascular health. These oily compounds are not soluble in water.
Water-soluble compounds from seeds of both purple (cultivar Ison) and bronze (cultivar Carlos) muscadine grape seeds were tested for anti-microbial effects, and both extracts had antimicrobial effect against several stains of disease-causing E. coli bacteria. The purple extract was more potent.
Both extracts showed higher effect after heating, suggesting that the heating process breaks down some polyphenolic compounds to other efficacious compounds. This has relevance for use as food additives, both prior to storage and prior to cooking.
MUSCADINE SEED OIL
You may have heard about the health benefits of grapeseed oil. Muscadine Seed Oil, in short, is a more advanced form of grapeseed oil.
Muscadine seed oil is among the richest sources of healthy omega-6 PUFA and is considered a novel source of higher levels of tocotrienols containing significant amounts of α- and γ-tocotrienol.
Tocotrienols are a group of chemicals that are part of the vitamin E family. So far, research has uncovered numerous benefits associated with tocotrienols. Tocopherols are another group of chemicals that make up the vitamin E family. Both tocotrienols and tocopherols comes in four forms: alpha, beta, delta, and gamma.
The average American diet contains more tocopherols than tocotrienols, so researchers are increasingly interested in how supplementing with tocotrienols might improve health.
- The forms of Vitamin E in muscadine seed oil may be more stable, bioavailable and with more diverse benefits than other common forms of Vitamin E in products.
- Muscadine seed oil is predominantly unsaturated fat (85-90%) and 70% Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). PUFA are very well known for their diverse health benefits on metabolic and inflammatory processes in the body. The anti-inflammatory effects have been demonstrated in this research article, where muscadine seed oil reduced the inflammation in stimulated cells.
- This suggests that muscadine seed oil is likely to possess similar anti-inflammatory activity as other omega-6 fatty acids. The researchers suggested that muscadine seed oil can potentially address metabolism related issues and promote a healthy body weight and cardiovascular function, and the researchers suggested that together these may positively impact the causes and symptoms of obesity.
- Unlike most oils, muscadine seed oil also contains polyphenols, such as OPC which are known to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
The recommended dosage for MSO is 500-2,000 mg/day for supplementing, and 5-10 grams for cooking.
The complementary polyphenol profiles, and different biological properties of products from Muscadine and other grapes offer many opportunities for positioning muscadine-based extracts as ingredients in blends with other grape-based powders.
The skin, pulp, juice and seed of muscadine grapes all contain antioxidants! Each part is associated with different types, or classifications of polyphenol antioxidants. It’s possible that the whole muscadine fruit has the most biological activity than any one part of the fruit.
The below chart summarizes the demonstrated activities of different parts of muscadine fruit:
Antioxidant capacity is highest in the seeds. The compounds identified in seeds included hydrolyzable tannins, flavan-3-ols and condensed tannins, ellagic acid derivatives, and quercetin rhamnoside.
Antioxidant capacity is second highest in the skin. The skin contained hydrolyzable tannins, flavonoids, including anthocyanin 3,5-diglucosides, quercetin, myricetin, and kaempferol glycosides.