Aronia may aid recovery in athletes via changes in inflammatory markers: Study

By Olivia DeSmit

- Last updated on GMT

Aronia melanocarpa (black chokeberries) is the most studied Aronia.  Image ©  Markus Novak / Getty Images
Aronia melanocarpa (black chokeberries) is the most studied Aronia. Image © Markus Novak / Getty Images

Related tags aronia Aronia melanocarpa chokeberry Heart health Inflammation

Supplementation with aronia may be beneficial for athlete inflammation post-recovery, a new study in Nutrients finds. The authors found an increase in total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and Interleukin 10 (IL-10) in those supplemented.

The randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with 22 people indicated that 90 days of consumption of aronia melanocarpa coupled with maximal aerobic effort (MAE) also led to decreases in Interleukin 6 (IL-6), another inflammatory marker. 

Thus, the authors write, “...supplementation with lyophilized black chokeberry extract improves the performance and antioxidant status of serum in humans and induces protective changes in inflammatory markers.”

“Hence, the consumption of a lyophilizate of natural black chokeberry extract may result in beneficial effects, reducing the consequences of an intensive training load.”

Aronia

Aronia is a member of the Rosaceae​ family native to eastern North America. It has also been naturalized in Europe.

The most studied form of chokeberry is Aronia melanocarpa​ (black chokeberries), but other forms of the berry exist, including Aronia arbutifolia​ (red chokeberries) and Aronia prunifolia​ (purple chokeberries).

Although originating in North America, commercial growing of aronia berries started in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The berry was reportedly used for enhancing the diets of Russian cosmonauts.

The majority of the science supporting the potential health benefits of chokeberry relate to heart health (enhancing blood flow​, normalizing blood clots​, benefiting blood pressure​), but other reported benefits include anti-inflammatory effects, antioxidant activity, and immunomodulatory effects. A study from the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism​ also indicated potential for sports nutrition​ (2005, Vol. 15, pp. 48-58).

Study Details

The study, performed by 12 scientists affiliated with universities in Poland and the Czech Republic, included 22 male football players. Participants were randomly assigned either the aronia supplement (6 grams per day) or placebo for 90 days, coupled with maximal aerobic effort exercise. MAE was created through a shuttle run test and bloodwork was analyzed before, directly after, 6 hours later and 24 hours later.

Data showed that supplementation caused an increase in serum TAC and IL-10 levels and decrease in IL-6 during recovery after MAE. Typically exercise creates an increase in IL-6 levels, but participants who were supplemented showed a reduction in increased IL-6 levels for up to 24 hours following MAE. Both the effect on IL-10 and IL-6 were noted directly after and 6 hours after MAE.

The researchers did not find a correlation between supplementation and iron metabolism.

In addition, lactate levels after MAE were significantly higher than the placebo group. This, the authors write, may suggest anaerobic metabolism improves with supplementation, which could equate to an increase in exercise tolerance.

“The presented findings justify the use of lyophilized black chokeberry extract as a dietary supplement for athletes undergoing MAE, and can be a starting point for considering its use to enrich the dietary patterns of populations other than athletes,” the researchers concluded.

Source: Nutrients
Volume 15 Issue 4, doi: 10.3390/nu15040975
“Effect of Supplementation with Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) Extract on Inflammatory Status and Selected Markers of Iron Metabolism in Young Football Players: A Randomized Double-Blind Trial”
Authors: B. Stankiewicz, et al. 

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