A Summary of Our findings:
Grapefruit Seed Extract is widely promoted for its potent antimicrobial properties.
Several independent studies have revealed that the supposed antimicrobial benefits of Grapefruit Seed Extract are actually attributed to undisclosed synthetic chemicals, commercially available disinfectants, and preservatives.
Grapefruit Seed Extract is widely known for its potent antimicrobial properties, according to commercial claims. It is believed to be effective against various types of microbes, including Candida albicans, Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus aureus, as well as a number of human conditions such as sore throat, acne, and thrush. Numerous companies selling grapefruit seed extract provide detailed research and findings on their websites and publications to demonstrate its antimicrobial efficacy.
Recent independent research has shown that commercially available grapefruit seed extract does not possess inherent antimicrobial properties. Shockingly, the supposed antimicrobial activity is attributed to the synthetic preservatives added to the product, which are not naturally occurring. These synthetic preservatives include Methyl paraben, which can mimic estrogen, Triclosan, which can cause allergic contact dermatitis, Benzalkonium chloride, a disinfectant that irritates the skin and eyes, and Benzethonium chloride, another disinfectant that is harmful with prolonged contact with the skin and eyes, and is only permitted in rinse-off products. These synthetic adulterants are not disclosed on the product ingredient list. Despite several companies marketing grapefruit seed extract and presenting research and results to prove its antimicrobial effects, the research has shown that the so-called antimicrobial properties are due to the presence of undisclosed synthetic chemicals.
YES experience with Grapefruit Seed Extract
In our pursuit of a natural preservation system for YES water-based products, we aimed to find a naturally occurring molecule or combination of molecules with antimicrobial activity that would not cause skin irritation, sensitivity, or allergic reactions, and that had a proven track record of commercial antimicrobial activity. Grapefruit Seed Extract initially appeared to meet our criteria, but when used in recommended concentrations, it failed to adequately preserve our products and did not meet British and European Pharmacopoeia standards. Furthermore, after researching Grapefruit Seed Extract and reviewing published articles, we made the decision not to include it in our products due to the shocking findings that it contains synthetic preservatives that can be harmful.
YES will never contain Grapefruit Seed Extract.
These abstracts were taken from Medline and other internet sources:
(From US department of agriculture website: http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/publications/publications.htm?SEQ_NO_115=182572)
Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 1, 2005
Publication Date: August 12, 2005
Citation: Takeoka, G.R., Dao, L.T., Wong, R.Y., Harden, L.A. 2005.
Identification of Benzalkonium Chloride in Commercial Grapefruit Seed Extracts. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 53:7630-7636.
Interpretive Summary: Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is promoted as a natural product that has reported antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is reported to be safe and effective to use internally and externally for a wide variety of conditions such as acne, allergies, athlete’s foot, body odour, candida, colds, cold sores, gastrointestinal infections, gingivitis, impetigo, parasitic infection, sinusitis, sore throat and thrush. There is recent evidence that some commercial GSE samples are adulterated with synthetic preservatives and that these additives are solely responsible for the antimicrobial activity. Preservatives such as methyl 4-hydroxybezoate (methyl paraben), 2,4,4-trichloro-2¿-hydroxydiphenyl ether (triclosan) and benzethonium chloride have been identified in commercial GSE samples. In this study we identified a new synthetic adulterant, benzalkonium chloride, in commercial GSE samples. This ingredient is a synthetic antimicrobial agent that is widely used in cleaning and disinfection agents. The presence of benzalkonium chloride in a commercial product designated for internal and external use by humans is troubling in light of its toxicity and allergenicity.
Technical Abstract: Commercial grapefruit seed extracts (GSE) were extracted with chloroform. The solvent was evaporated, and the resulting solid was subsequently analysed by high performance liquid chromatography, electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI/MS) and tandem mass spectrometry (ESI/MS/MS), and elemental analysis (by proton induced X-ray emission [PIXE] analysis). Three major constituents were observed by HPLC and were identified as benzyldimethyldodecylammonium chloride, benzyldimethyltetradecylammonium chloride, and benzyldimethylhexadecylammonium chloride. This mixture of homologues is commonly known as benzalkonium chloride, a widely used synthetic antimicrobial ingredient used in cleaning and disinfection agents.