Six weeks of a rose hip (Rosa canina) enriched beverage was associated with significant reductions in blood pressure of about 3.5%, and a 6% decrease in LDL cholesterol, according to results published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Total cholesterol levels also fell in people consuming the test beverage, compared with a placebo beverage, added the researchers from Lund University, in collaboration with Nordic ASA branded consumer goods company Orkla.
“Although the mechanisms whereby rose hip lowers systolic blood pressure and plasma cholesterol levels remain unresolved, the ﬁndings of this study may have important health implications,” they wrote.
“The current study could be the starting point for exploring rose hip as a constituent of food portfolios aimed at reducing cholesterol and blood pressure, and thereby decrease the risk of coronary heart disease and mortality.”
Waist sizes are increasing in many countries around the world, and obesity has become a global epidemic. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) a whopping 1.5 billion overweight consumers will be walking around by 2015, and we’ll be incurring health costs beyond $117 billion per year in the US alone.
Being obese brings with it a range of associated conditions, including increased risk of type-2 diabetes and heart disease.
The new study indicates that extracts from rose hip may help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels in obese people.
Indeed, according to the Swedish and Norwegian researchers who conducted the trial, “the observed decrease in systolic blood pressure (4 mm Hg) was close to the median reduction observed in 27 pharmacological trials estimated to result in decreases of the incidence of coronary heart disease and stroke by [over] 15% and 25%, respectively”.
Led by Cecilia Holm, the researchers recruited 31 obese individuals with normal or impaired glucose tolerance to participate in their randomized, double-blind, cross-over study.
The participants were randomly assigned to receive either rose hip powder drink or a control drink daily for six weeks.
The rose hip drink provided a daily dose of 40 grams of rose hip powder, and both control and tests drinks also contained apple juice, a citric acid solution, and sugar.
After six weeks of consumption, an average decrease in systolic blood pressure of 3.4% was recorded in the rose hip group, while total and LDL cholesterol levels dropped by 4.9 and 6.0%, respectively.
The risk of cardiovascular disease was decreased by 17% in the rose hip group, compared with the control group, according to the Reynolds risk assessment score for cardiovascular disease (a validated prediction score for heart disease risk over a 10-year period).
“Food portfolios designed to lower plasma cholesterol typically contain soy, nuts or almonds, viscous ﬁber and plant sterols,” wrote the researchers.
“It would be of interest to explore the potential additive and synergistic effects of rose hip in such portfolios.
“Follow-up studies of dietary treatment with rose hip should not only be performed in hyperlipidemic and hypertensive individuals in order to study its potency in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure in more detail, but also in diabetic individuals in order to further explore its possible antidiabetic effects,” they concluded.
Source: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi:10.1038/ejcn.2011.203
“Effects of rose hip intake on risk markers of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease: a randomized, double-blind, cross-over investigation in obese persons”
Authors: U. Andersson, K. Berger, A. Hogberg, M. Landin-Olsson, C. Holm