2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Knowledge Base

Welcome to our extensive library of articles on health concerns and ailments, alternative therapies, nutritional supplements, and much more. Please mouse over the letters to get started. We hope you enjoy browsing.

Grapefruit Seed Extract

Posted on 02/14/2010

What Is It?

This unlikely herbal infection-fighter is synthesized from the seeds and pulp of the grapefruit. It was farmers who first used grapefruit seed Extract (GSE) to inhibit the growth of mold on their equipment; later, cosmetic companies added it to their products as a preservative.

Then, claims that GSE could fight infections in people spurred interest within the dietary supplement industry, and in the 1980s, GSE products started to appear in health-food stores. It is sometimes also called citrus seed extract.

Health Benefits

Grapefruit seed extract has been most heavily promoted as a treatment for Candida albicans, a yeast naturally present in the human body. Candida can cause complications when it grows out of control, however. GSE is particularly popular for controlling vaginal yeast infections caused by Candida, and in treating a poorly understood intestinal condition called Candida overgrowth syndrome (COS).

Some nutritionally oriented doctors continue to recommend GSE capsules, liquids, and powders for bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, including COS. However, aside from hopeful speculation, there’s no sound scientific evidence to indicate that GSE can actually eliminate any infection in human beings.

Specifically, GSE may help to:

  • Control vaginal yeast infections. One study reported that 20 women with chronic vaginal itching and other discomforts apparently due to overgrowth of the organism Candida albicans responded well to GSE douches. The study, done in Mexico, is frequently cited in the support of GSE for vaginal yeast infections. No other research on the subject appears to have been done, however.


  • Fight Candida overgrowth syndrome. Although no studies have proven the efficacy of GSE for this condition, it is a popular product among some alternative practitioners because of its antifungal effect.


  • powder
  • liquid
  • douche
  • capsule

Dosage Information

Special tip:

–Given its bitter taste, the liquid extract is usually mixed with a sweet fruit juice to make it more palatable.

  • For yeast infections (vaginal): When purchasing a GSE douche, follow package instructions. For capsules, liquids, or powders, take the equivalent of 130 mg GSE twice a day.
  • For Candida overgrowth syndrome: Follow package instructions.

Guidelines for Use

  • Don’t confuse GSE with grape seed extract, a powerful Antioxidant derived from red grapes.
  • GSE is occasionally sold under such names as “Standardized extract of Grapefruit,” “Grapefruit Extract,” and “Citrus Seed Extract.” Unless otherwise indicated on the label, these products are all usually made from grapefruit seeds only.

General Interaction

  • No drug or nutrient interactions have been reported for GSE. However, research is limited.
  • A number of medications should not be taken with grapefruit juice, including certain immunosuppressants, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and antihistamines. It’s not clear whether an extract of the grapefruit’s seeds and pulp pose the same risks. Consult your doctor if you have any questions.

Possible Side Effects

The risks associated with the use of GSE are probably low, but little sound research on its effects in humans have been done.


Many of the types of infections for which GSE is recommended–vaginal yeast infections and intestinal parasites, among others–can cause potentially serious health problems if not treated properly. Consult a doctor if you suspect you have an infection.


Yeast Infections (vaginal) – 130 mg twice a day

For product recommendations and orders click here for the Natural Apothecary or call 773-296-6700, ext. 2001.

Leave a Comment

  1. anonymous says:

    I wanted to post this on the Caprylic Acid post, but there was no section for comments. I have a few questions about Caprylic acid, if u don’t mind:

    1. For Klebsiella, what amount, length of treatment, and dosage is appropriate to treat this type of gut infection with caprylic acid?

    2. Would taking probiotics DURING treatment with Caprylic Acid be recommended? If so, how many CFUs? Would something like VSL #3 be advised?

    3. And should the probiotic be started in advance of/prior to the start of the Caprylic acid, in order to build up some good flora before potentially destroying some of it with the antibiotic properties of the caprylic acid?

    4. I imagine a higher dose of probiotics ought to be taken afterwards, right, in order to replenish/repair the gut with the good flora?

    5. Should other natural antibacterials, like oil of oregano, be used at the same time of treatment with caprylic acid, in order to prevent other possible opportunistic infections from arising?

    6. Or, would just high dose probiotics and NO caprylic acid do a better job at re-establishing normal gut flora and crowding out the bad bacteria?

    Thanks for the clarifications!!

  2. Hi anon,

    Due to FTC and FDA (DSHEA) regulations, we cannot make claims regarding specific nutrients and conditions they may treat on our website. Please feel free to contact us at apothecary@wholehealthchicago.com for further information.

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!


Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our


The Knowledge Base


Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!


Upcoming Workshops

The Next Lyme Academy Begins
Tuesday, October 4, 5:30-7 pm
Here’s a special invitation for patients of Dr. Kelley who are currently being treated for Lyme disease. Dr. Kelley’s new, four-week Lyme Academy starts on October 4, continuing over the following three Tuesdays.


Awakened Body, Quiet Mind
An innovative workshop series for relieving mind/body stress and tapping into your true power and natural health.
4 Group Sessions with Meghan Roekle, PsyD
Four meetings using a unique combination of embodiment meditation and mental inquiry for deep healing.
Thursdays from 6:00-8:00pm; beginning October 20th

Recent Health Tips

  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers!

    Invasion of the Body Snatchers!

    I’d been reading Ally Hilfiger’s new autobiography Bite Me: How Lyme Disease Stole My Childhood, Made Me Crazy, and Almost Killed Me, preferring the Lyme parts to those devoted to fashion and her MTV “Rich Girl” series. Her symptoms were typical of chronic Lyme and …Read More »
  • Making It Easier To Say No To Statins

    Making It Easier To Say No To Statins

    Patients and doctors alike are understandably nervous about taking/prescribing any of the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. You as a patient especially don’t want to hear “You’ll be on this pill for the rest of your life.” And if you’ve followed some of the recent …Read More »

October Sale: 20% Off Urban Moonshine Products


All Urban Moonshine products are 20% off for the entire month of October!

Urban Moonshine creates beautiful herbal formulas that focus on prevention, improving quality of life, and empowering people to create home herbal apothecaries.  More>>