Healthy blood clotting is a necessary defense mechanism to prevent blood loss resulting from an injury to blood vessels, but certain disorders may provoke the activity of a protein involved in blood clotting (thrombin) and contribute to the development of diseases such as atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, and stroke.
According to findings published in Fitoterapia, extracts from aronia berries and grape seeds may slow the activity of thrombin and prolong clotting time of human blood.
“Our research, as well as other studies with the extract from berries of A. melanocarpa-Aronox, indicate that this diet supplement may be important for human health,” wrote researchers from the University of Lodz in Poland.
“Our results presented in this study suggest that polyphenol-rich extracts from berries of A. melanocarpa and seeds of V. vinifera seem to be promising dietary supplements to prevent thrombosis in pathological states where plasma procoagulant activity is observed e.g. in hyperhomocysteinemia or in postmenopausal women after hormone therapy.”
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 Polish researchers performed in vitro studies using fresh plasma and human thrombin. These were incubated with commercial extracts of aronia berries (Aronox from Agropharm Ltd, Poland) or grape seeds (Omnivir, from C.E. Roeper GmbH) at a concentration of 0.5, 5, or 50 micrograms per milliliter.
Results showed that “both extracts prolonged clotting time and decreased the maximal velocity of [clot formation] in human plasma”, wrote the researchers.
“[These results] give hopes for development of diet supplements, which may be preventing thrombosis in pathological states,” they added.
Europe leads the way
As reported by NutraIngredients recently, Europe continues to dominate the aronia berry market with the largest number of food product launches.
According to data from Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD), the number of foods containing aronia berries as an ingredient has increased from a paltry 2 in 1997, to 131 in 2010. Three distinct categories dominate the new product launches: Beverages (non-alcoholic); dairy; and sugar & gum confectionery.
In the US, only 44 products have been launched with aronia berries as an ingredient since 2008. Non-alcoholic beverages again dominate, accounting for about 65% of the 25 products launched in 2008 and 2009.
It is perhaps unsurprising that Europe dominates in product launches: 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 cosmonauts.
September 2011, Volume 82, Issue 6, Pages 811-817
“Anticoagulant effect of polyphenols-rich extracts from black chokeberry and grape seeds”
Authors: M. Bijak, M. Bobrowski, M. Borowiecka, A. Podsedek, J. Golanski, P. Nowak