Chokeberry extract may lower diabetes and heart disease risk

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Obesity

Extracts from the chokeberry may prevent weight gain in pre-diabetics and affect genes linked to the development of fat tissue, suggests a new study with rats.

Animals supplemented with chokeberry juice, a rich source of anthocyanins, experienced less weight than non-supplemented animals, and has lower levels of fat, and abdominal in particular, according to findings presented by US Department of Agriculture at the Experimental Biology 2010 meeting in Anaheim.

The USDA’s Bolin Qin and Richard Anderson used the commercial chokeberry extract CellBerry produced by Tennessee-based Integrity Nutraceuticals International.

The researchers noted that human studies are needed to support the efficacy of chokeberries and their extracts, but Qin and Anderson said their study “provides evidence that the chokeberry extract inhibits weight gain in insulin-resistant animals and that it modulates multiple genes associated with adipose tissue growth, blood glucose regulation, and inflammatory pathways.”

Study details

The researchers fed 18 male rats a fructose-rich diet for six weeks to induce insulin insensitivity, or to make the animals ‘prediabetic’. The rats were then randomized to continue drinking either pure water or water supplemented with low or high levels of chokeberry extract for a further six weeks.

The weight of the chokeberry-supplemented animals was found to be less than the controls, and the body fat was also lower in the berry extract-fed rats, said the researchers.

Furthermore, the chokeberry-supplemented group was found to have lower blood glucose and reduced levels of plasma triglycerides, cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, compared with control animals.

At a genetic level, changes to the expression of genes linked to inflammation were noted, and in particular a gene coding for the pro-inflammatory interleukin-6 (IL-6). Over-expression of such compounds, or a lack of control of the normal protective mechanism, can lead to chronic inflammation, which has been linked to range of conditions linked to heart disease, osteoporosis, cognitive decline and Alzheimer's, type-2 diabetes, and arthritis.

Future studies, particularly those in humans, are needed to confirm these potentially metabolic benefits.

The data was presented as part of the scientific program of the American Society for Nutrition at the Experimental Biology 2010 meeting in Anaheim. NutraIngredients has not seen the full data.

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