Grapefruit Seed Extract Safety

There are widespread claims across the internet that Nutribiotic grapefruit seed extract is toxic, unsafe for consumption and contains dangerous chemical compounds. I have spoken to the manufacturers of GSE many times over the years and I strongly believe that the claims of toxicity are incorrect. In addition,  I have been using Nutribiotic GSE every day since the mid 1990s to feed thousands of birds throughout that period and I  have never seen a problem with it. And I have looked! I have done lab testing of seeds that were soaked in GSE: nothing dangerous was found. Lab results did show, however, that no pathogens were present in the GSE-soaked seeds, whereas massive numbers of pathogens were present in the soaked seeds that did not contain GSE. 

I have also used GSE in birds' drinking water at a dose of 3 drops per 8 ounces of water as a gentle antimicrobial. It works beautifully for minor flock problems such as conjunctivitis. I have not had luck using a higher dose as the taste becomes unpalatable.

With regard to the safety of grapefruit seed extract (Nutribiotic and/or Citricidal): there have been numerous safety studies run on GSE since the 1970s and no toxic effects have ever been found. But, the false rumors are very real, and a large percentage of reputable people believe them. The line I often hear is that the manufacturers are the only ones claiming safety. Well, I would hope the manufacturers claim safety! But in my conversations with the manufacturer, I have asked repeatedly about independent testing for safety and he has referred me to numerous independent (non manufacture-funded) safety tests that have found no toxicity over a period of decades.

In addition, they are now testing every batch of Citricidal for the presence of toxic compounds and are offering certification that no such compounds are present.

You have to ask yourself to be logical about this: GSE is used in enormous quantities in health professions and veterinary practices, sold in every health food store in the US, and the safety tests have been run repeatedly for nearly forty years. If these extremely dangerous toxic compounds were present, how do you explain all these non-toxicity results?

The only results that found these supposed toxic compounds were, as this information from the Nutribiotic website explains, false positives due to mix-ups in the lab.


"What about rumours of Chemicals in GSE?  

Newsgroups and email groups have received postings to the effect that GSE contains Triclosan, Benzelthonium Chloride, or Methyl Paraben. The source of this type of report comes from both Germany (Here is the PubMed reference to the German Report) and Japan, where Citricidal is not approved for human consumption. A more recent attack on GSE can be found at this link. The reason is that Citricidal is very similar in molecular weight to both Benzelthonium Chloride and Triclosan, both of which are effective disinfectants, but are toxic to human and animal life. In Germany their test(which is not well documented at all) for BC, Triclosan, and M.Paraben came up positive(which is more correctly called a "false positive") and in Japan, the same is happening for Triclosan. USDA found benzelthonium chloride in its 2001 test. Was this a simple error or a deliberate attempt to scare people away from Citricidal and Nutribiotic products?

Meanwhile, Citricidal has been tested for the presence of these toxins by independent labs, and has been proven clean. (Ex: Weston Gulf Coast Laboratories, Inc., University Park, IL, test completed in March of 1992. Tested for heavy metals, Cyanides, Pesticides and PCBs and Benzelkonium Chloride. Results: None Detected.) In fact, the accusations about triclosan(used in many dish and hand soaps in the US) became so frequent a few years ago, that Citricidal began specifically testing each batch of GSE for its absense, and providing a Certificate of Analysis to that effect.

The truth is, Citricidal is not only effective, it has been in use for decades and recommended by many high profile doctors and healthcare professionals. If these allegations had any validity, there certainly would be a history of complaints and judgements against the product, and it would have been removed from the market many years ago. Triclosan has recently been compared to "Agent Orange" in toxicity. The EPA rates triclosan as "highly toxic". The US FDA made inspections of the Nutribiotic manufacturing facility back in the 1990's and found no chemical preservatives; and the formula is the same today.

Such rumours are false, and are not a threat to those armed with accurate information. The test reports from Germany and Japan and the USDA are certainly bothersome, but they have produced "false positives", not accurate profiles. The vast body of evidence from many years of use by thousands of satisfied consumers, doctors, manufacturers, and veterinarians, speaks most loudly against such reports. (The German report, linked above, does suggest that some suppliers of "GSE" may, in fact, be fraudulent. But Citricidal and NutriBiotic GSE are both proven, safe, and effective products.) "


I have been using GSE at 3 drops per 8 oz water as the only water source for an aviary of about 22 birds for two years now - six days per week. Birds in this aviary are older, retired and/or sickly birds who cannot be bred. Species include Princess of Wales, canary, and finches: society, cordon bleu waxbill, shafttail, gouldian, zebra. A couple of the birds have chronic infections that tend to bloom if I stop GSE treatment, the treatment keeps them functioning well but they probably are never going to be curable. In the two years of using the GSE six days per week I have had no fatalities, even though many of the finches are invalids and some are twelve or thirteen years old. Not only no fatalities, but no illness has developed in any of these birds.  In addition to the GSE, I use Primal Defense probiotics on all softfoods every day.

Lainey Alexander

‚ÄčDisclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, or by any veterinarian. All information, including any product or technique mentioned, is for educational purposes only. None of the information is intended to diagnose or treat any disease.