GSE - Grapefruit Seed Extract

weco

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I recently saw a post/reply that listed GSE as being used for disinfectant purposes and while I hadn't seen any similar posts/notations, I checked & there are quite a few over the years, but apparently, due to some constraints in the forums search parameters, searching for GSE will not get any hits, while searching for grapefruit seed extract will get you a bunch of hits, so, I'd like to post the following to provide the forums with some more up to date information on the topic:


GSE - Grapefruit Seed Extract

Another subject that elicits numerous discussion and/or arguments on many bird forums/groups is that of whether grapefruit seed extract has any real benefit. Purported, by many, usually those selling it, to be a broad spectrum ‘wonder’ product, GSE is promoted as “…a broad spectrum antimicrobial compound synthesized from the seeds and pulp of grapefruits,” with recommended uses being:

• Cold Sores
• Cuts
• Dandruff
• Diaper rash
• Diarrhea
• Ear infections
• Flu
• Food poisoning
• Fungus Infections
• Herpes
• Parasites
• Periodontal disease
• Sore throats
• Urinary tract infections
• Warts

A study conducted at the Institute of Pharmacy, Ernst Moritz Arndt University, Greifswald, Germany, in 1999, found:

“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.

”Subsequent findings by USDA researchers, in Identification Of Benzethonium Chloride In Commercial Grapefruit Seed Extracts, 2001, dispel the miracle myth and concluded that:

“In our search for natural antifungal agents effective against aspergillus flavus we examined the chemical composition and activity of commercially available grapefruit seed extracts as well as extracts prepared in our laboratory by extraction of grapefruit seeds with ethanol. 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%. It is unlikely that benzethonium chloride is formed during any extraction. or processing of grapefruit seeds and pulp.”

Whether GSE is harmful to our feathered friends or not, I do not know, but to quote a member of a newsgroup I belong to, speaking of benzethonium chloride:

“What was even more disturbing is that this chemical is not listed in the ingredients of those products even though it could not have gotten there by accident or unintentionally.”

This parrot lover goes on to state:

“There are certainly other means of providing safe drinking & bathing water to our birds as well as disinfectants that are safe. It’s up to you, but if you want to see whether or not you consider benzethonium chloride safe for you or your birds to be drinking & eating.......... This makes it a ripe field for fraud.”

Todd Caldecott, in his article Grapefruit Seed Extract is alarmed by the widespread usage of GSE (Caldecott is a Canadian clinical herbalist, Ayurvedic practitioner):

“The ubiquitous and widespread usage of grapefruit seed extract (GSE) within the health food industry, including its use by supposedly knowledgeable practitioners, is an issue of serious concern for me as a herbalist, researcher and clinician.”

Something you might want to consider, while researching and reading about herbal supplements and additives, is that many of the popular internet discussion boards may be censored. Where messages that are counter to the teachings and beliefs of the board’s owner and/or moderators never make it to posting or are removed after having been posted.

The censoring and skewed information problem is not limited to the supplement and additive groups. Although it is not readily apparent, this may happen all too often in moderated newsgroups. The following reply was posted, to one of the parrot newsgroups that I am a member of, during a conversation thread about censored posts:

“I can only speak about from my own personal experience. My posts were edited by the moderators and then posted incomplete. When I posted to the group that my posts were being censored, they never made it - they were completely censored.”

One well published behaviorist is known to have placed a group member on permanent ‘monitor’ status and to have basically told him that anything that was contrary to the philosophy of her group would not be allowed to be posted.

I was banned from a parrot newsgroup when I questioned some advice that one of the forum moderators was giving as a suggested technique for stopping a conure from biting. The advice being given amounted to ‘flooding, a technique thought by some, to be a form of abuse. I was told that because I was not certified in avian behavior or training, I should not
question ‘expert’ advice.

As I stated in my introduction (this was originally part of another publication), anyone can proclaim themselves an expert. You may want to ask for or research an “expert’s” credentials if they are not published in media other than the internet or otherwise recognized as an “expert.”

The sad part of these pompous and pretentious attitudes, in some internet newsgroups, is that those seeking information may not realize what they are being told is skewed and their feathered friends are the ones that end up being the real losers.

Always keep an open mind and seek information from different sources. Weigh what you read/learn and if you don’t think that what you have read/learned is enough, seek additional information, your feathered friends may not thank you for it but you will be glad you did, in the end.

Thanks for reading.....
 

Allee

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Thanks for posting this, weco. I learn something new every day. I should have done more research. I actually have a bottle of the stuff, I use it in a spray bottle mixed with water to clean poop off cage bars and grates. I have put a drop or two in their water bowls, but not in a while, I change water so often it seems pointless. But I did think it was a disinfectant.
 
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weco

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You're welcome Allee, but I don't know that all the uses (i.e. sprouts/sprouting) for GSE are wrong/false, but as a disinfectant, I think the proof is in the pudding and I hate to see companion bird novices led down the wrong primrose path and while, to some, I might come off as argumentative, that's not my intention, but a beginner reading anecdotal information may lead one to assume a dangerous position/belief, often when the misinformation is taken out of context, as when a thread/story refers to a large macaw and the extrapolated information is used with a much smaller bird, say parrotlet, while it may still be a bird, its system certainly is considerably smaller than that of a macaw and using a given formula for a parrotlet could, in fact, be dangerous.....

Just trying to offer some verifiable credence to the things some may get upset with.....
 

SilverSage

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Thanks! I had always heard it was great, but had never used it and never really looked into it. I have even been chastised for not having it in my possession since I have birds.

I always appreciate when someone puts the time and effort into dispelling myths, especially in the avian community. We are so eager, as a culture, to cry "wolf!" and "miracle!" when we learn about a certain danger or a certain solution, and so much of our knowledge comes from forums like this, that there is always a danger of something becoming "common knowledge" that is not true at all. Thanks!
 

Kalidasa

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I use citric acid when I sprout. Is that the same as GSE? It just says organic citric acid (for sprouting).
 
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weco

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I use citric acid when I sprout. Is that the same as GSE? It just says organic citric acid (for sprouting).


Sorry Kalidasa, but I never delved into the the whys & wherefores of sprouting, so cannot answer your question & what your citric acid might be.....have you tried writing the manufacturer? If you do and you get a reply claiming that it is proprietary/secret formula, I might suspect their product may not really be what they claim it is.
 
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weco

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I recently saw a post/reply that listed GSE as being used for disinfectant purposes and while I hadn't seen any similar posts/notations, I checked & there are quite a few over the years, but apparently, due to some constraints in the forums search parameters, searching for GSE will not get any hits, while searching for grapefruit seed extract will get you a bunch of hits, so, I'd like to post the following to provide the forums with some more up to date information on the topic:

.


I had thought that I had been in a previous discussion on this topic previously somewhere on these forums, but could not find it earlier, though when I went back & looked again, I found the conversation/thread:

http://www.parrotforums.com/general-health-care/30967-truth-behind-grapefruit-seed-extract-2.html

figured I'd better make sure that nobody reading this thread would misinterpret me as meaning these forums were censoring posts.....
 
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thekarens

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We use it to sprout seeds, but it's kind of on the pricey side so I'm not sure I'd use it for other things.
 

Anansi

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Excellent and informative thread, weco. Thanks for taking the time to put this info out there.
 

Dinosrawr

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Great info, Weco! I'm all for an educated opinion. It's not argumentative at all, but informative. :)
 

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