Researchers from the Medical University of Lodz report that people suffering from metabolic syndrome experienced improvements in a range of cardiovascular measures, including overall clotting and their lipid profiles.
Writing in the European Journal of Nutrition, the scientists report that potential benefits of extracts from Aronia melanocarpa may be related to the anthocyanin content of the berries.
“Anthocyanins are lipid-lowering, anti-aggregative, and also exert direct vasoactive action,” explain the researchers.
“It should also be mentioned that Aronia melanocarpa fruits contain significant amounts of niacin, well recognized for its lipid-lowering activity.”
The appeal of aronia has centered on its high antioxidant value, measured in terms of Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC).
Also known as black chokeberry, aronia berries reportedly have an ORAC value of more than 7,300 micromoles per gram. The total anthocyanin content in chokeberries is reported to be around 1,500 mg per 100 g of fresh berries, while the proanthocyanidin content is around 660 mg per 100 grams.
The berries are grown extensively across Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, and Russia. According to the Agronomy Institute opened at Orkney College in the Scottish Isles, use of the berry was developed for enhancing the diets of Russian astronauts.
The Polish researchers studied the effects of extracts from aronia berries on a number of blood health in 38 volunteers with metabolic syndrome and 14 healthy volunteers.
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a condition characterised by central obesity, hypertension, and disturbed glucose and insulin metabolism. The syndrome has been linked to increased risks of both type 2 diabetes and CVD.
Fifteen per cent of adult Europeans are estimated to be affected by MetS, while the US statistic is estimated to be a whopping 32 per cent. Obesity is established to be the main risk factor for MetS.
Participants received 300 mg of the aronia extract every day for two months. The extract was provided by Agropharm SA, Poland.
Results showed a “significant reduction” in a number of heart health markers, including total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and triglycerides following two months of supplementation.
Indeed, total cholesterol decreased by about 6.5%, while LDL and triglycerides both decreased by about 9%.
In addition, “a significant decrease in the overall potential for coagulation was induced after 1 or 2 months of supplementation”, wrote the researchers.
“Moreover, after one month of extract supplementation, we observed a beneficial reduction in the overall potential for clot formation,” they added.
Source: European Journal of Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1007/s00394-011-0238-8
“Short-term supplementation with Aronia melanocarpa extract improves platelet aggregation, clotting, and fibrinolysis in patients with metabolic syndrome”
Authors: J. Sikora, M. Broncel, M. Markowicz, M. Chalubinski, K. Wojdan, E. Mikiciuk-Olasik