Grapefruit seed extract has become an extremely controversial chemical compound recently. Studies conducted in the US and abroad report suspicious and abnormal chemical acitivity in numerous, randomly selected grapefruit seed extracts. Here is one report from the Institute of Pharmacy, Ernst Moritz Arndt University, Greifswald, Germany:
“The antimicrobial efficacy as well as the content of preservative agents of six commercially grapefruit seed extracts were examined. Five of the six extracts showed a high growth-inhibiting activity against the test germs. In all of the antimicrobial active grapefruit seed extracts, the preservative benzethonium chloride was detected by thin layer chromatography. Additionally, three extracts contained the preserving substances triclosan and methyl paraben. In only one of the grapefruit seed extracts tested no preservative agent was found. However, with this extract as well as with several self-made extracts from seed and juiceless pulp of grapefruits (Citrus paradisi), no antimicrobial activity could be detected. Thus, it is concluded that the potent as well as nearly universal antimicrobial activity being attributed to grapefruit seed extract is merely due to the synthetic preservative agents contained within. Natural products with antimicrobial activity do not appear to be present.”
Further, the USDA did a grapefruit seed extract study and declared, “Confirming an earlier study by researchers in Germany we found that some commercial grapefruit seed extracts contain benzethonium chloride, a synthetic antimicrobial agent commonly used in cosmetics and only approved for topical use, at relatively high levels of 8%.”
The Swiss Toxicological Information Center of Basel, Switzerland, reports that “Grapefruit seed extracts containing benzethonium chloride in concentrations of 7-11% represent a major health risk if larger amounts of a concentrated solution are ingested (i.e. by mouth). Exposure of the skin or the eye may cause toxic symptoms. The Swiss Toxicological Information Center discourages consumers from administration of these extracts unless it is known which of them are containing benzethonium chloride and what the concentrations are."
I have also seen research stating that there are very toxic quarternary by-products in Grapefruit-Seed-Extract (can't remember which ones - maybe some kind of benzoates also) that are toxic for human consumption and that would also be responsible for the antimicrobial effects. They are normally found in industrial disinfectants etc.
Not inspiring, especially that I had started taking Grapefruit-Seed-Extract again in desparate attempt against cryptosporidium before I go on to chemicals (which are not so effective either from what I read).
Mine is from NuriBiotic...from Certified Organically Grown Grapefruit..."contains CITRICIDAL ..is a natural quaternary compound synthesized from the seed and pulp of organically grown grapefruit...process converts the GF bioflavanoids into an extremely potent compound that has been proven highly effective in numerous application" INGREDIENTS: Vegetable Glycerine 67% and Citricidal 33%.......................think this product would be a concern????
The U.S. Department of Agriculture found benzethonium chloride in NuriBiotic GSE. It concluded that "It seems unlikely that benzethonium chloride is formed during any extraction and/or processing of grapefruit seeds and pulp." The obvious implication of this is that the manufacturers of NuriBiotic added benzethonium chloride to their Grapefruit-Seed-Extract to make it work.
The question remains whether the amount of benzethonium chloride contained in effective Grapefruit-Seed-Extract products (8% seems to be a ballpark figure) is hazardous. I am not aware of reported health issues with users of GSE, but obviously it is a concern if taken at high enough doses for an extented period.
Also of concern is that now that this 'practice' has been brought to light, will some or all of the companies concerned stop adding benzethonium chloride? If so, will GSE products suddenly stop working?
How much Grapefruit-Seed-Extract would need to consume to reach 1g of benzethonium chloride, a potentially fatal dose? Well, 10 drops of a popular product is claimed to contain 100mg of GSE, and one tablet of another contains 125g GSE. If such Grapefruit-Seed-Extract products contain 8% benzethonium chloride by weight, then 1250 drops or 100 tablets might be a fatal dose of GSE.
On a more positive note, "Benzethonium chloride showed no evidence of carcinogenic activity in 2-year skin studies on male and female rats."
Why would I want to use the GSE® Liquid Concentrate? - As a natural, non-toxic compound our Grapefruit-Seed-Extract (Grapefruit Seed Extract) Liquid Concentrate has many uses. Internally, the concentrate has been used as a supportive treatment for a wide variety of ailments, including Candida infections, sore throats, intestinal upset, etc.
How can the product be non-toxic if it is so potent? - Extensive testing done at independent laboratories and universities around the world has proven the concentrate to be safe for human consumption. It is effective against pathogens because it belongs to a family of compounds known as quaternary compounds. This family is best known for benzalkonium chloride and benzethonium chloride as well as the infamous Quaternium group, a very toxic antimicrobial preservative used in the cosmetics industry. While Grapefruit Seed Extract is molecularly similar to these compounds, there are some profound differences in structure and function. Studies done to date indicate that there is little danger in either short-term or long-term internal use.
What is the pH of this product? - The concentrate has a pH of about 3.8, which is very acidic. This is why we recommend you dilute it before use. We do not know if the product becomes alkaline when ingested the way orange juice and other citrus foods do.
Is this product safe for use with children? - Yes. The extract is frequently used in pediatric medicine in applications such as diaper rash, ear infections, abrasions, etc. Common sense will indicate using a very dilute solution on an infant.
What about using it for my pets? - Since the concentrate is safe for consumption, it is well suited for animal uses. The extract can be added to the animal’s water or food.
What about the "grapefruit juice effect"? - There is a phenomenon known as the "grapefruit juice effect". Two components found in grapefruit juice, naringin and naringenin*, inhibit production of an enzyme in the intestinal tract, thus increasing the rate of absorption for certain classes of drugs (including some antihistamines, birth control pills, anti-epilepsy medications, and some antibiotics).
In some instances, as in low dose birth control pills and some uses of antibiotics, this could be a good thing because the net result is "more efficacy, less drug". In other cases, especially for anti-seizure medicines, blood levels have to be monitored and maintained very carefully. The customer would be well-advised to check with his doctor or pharmacist to see if there is any interaction between his medication and the naringin and naringenin*.
*NOTE: Nutribiotic Grapefruit Seed Extract contains only 0.1% of these compounds.
Is there anything I can't use the concentrate for? - We do not recommend using it in your eyes, even in a dilute form. We also advise users to dilute the extract before use. If you place a drop of the product on your tongue, it will burn. Sensitive skin areas also will end up with an unpleasant irritation if the concentrate is used full-strength.
Still I wonder about the effects of this "quaternary ammonium chloride or whatever on my body. Doesn't sound any better than Benz chloride. It is after all amonium.
I've taken loads of Grapefruit-Seed-Extract last time I had candida and maybe this caused in part my serious liver problems. That and Diflucan.
The active component of Citricidal is a quaternary ammonium chloride(a diphenol hydroxybenzene reacted with ammonium chloride) similiar to benzethonium chloride when analysed in accordance with USP XXII/NF XVII. (Benz. Chloride is a powerful germical agent, but is highly toxic to all animal life. See info on toxicity, below)
Very good posts ndul. They provide a pretty good discussion about the proof of fraud and the company's response to these allegations.
Do we believe the independent research laboratories or the manufacturers? It is tempting to believe Citricidal's claim that their product is very similar to, but different and safer, than benzethonium chloride. However I think for me to do so, I would be guilty of believing what I want to believe. I want to believe Grapefruit-Seed-Extract is safe and effective against Candida. But after reviewing the evidence, and trying to be as objective as possible, I believe it is all a giant fraud.
That said, is benzethonium chloride safe enough in the doses used in Grapefruit-Seed-Extract to make it a legitimate treatment option for candidiasis, and dysbiosis in general? I don't know. It has been used quite widely for quite a while now, but I don't think there have been any reliable studies on long term safety.