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Review: Daily Aronia Berry Intake May Benefit Cardiovascular Disease

Date 07-29-2022
HC# 112155-693
Aronia Berry (Aronia melanocarpa, Rosaceae)
Cardiovascular Disease

Kasprzak-Drozd K, Oniszczuk T, Soja J, et al. The efficacy of black chokeberry fruits against cardiovascular diseases. Int J Mol Sci. June 18, 2021;22(12):6541. doi:10.3390/ijms22126541.

The aim of this review was to summarize the reports on the impact of black chokeberry (black chokeberry; Aronia melanocarpa, Rosaceae) fruits and extracts against several cardiovascular diseases, as well as to provide an analysis of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect of these fruits.

Diets abundant in fruits and vegetables have been associated with reducing the incidence chronic pathologies, including cancer, infections, obesity, neurodegeneration, and cardiovascular disease. Aronia berry is rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fibers, and polyphenols and has great potential to reduce chronic pathologies. Previous aronia berry research has demonstrated antioxidant activity, improved cardiovascular risk profiles, and improvements in hypertension, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation, lipid peroxidation, total plasma antioxidant capacity, dyslipidemia, and glucose metabolism.

Aronia berry contains high levels of flavonoid and non-flavonoid polyphenolic compounds. Its flavonoid content includes anthocyanins which are soluble in water and give color to fruits and flowers. Anthocyanin content in aronia berry ranges from 357-1590 mg/100g fresh weight and makes up 25-41% of all polyphenols. Most of the anthocyanins are cyanidin glycosides, including cyanidin 3-O-galactoside. Aronia berry also contains flavanols and flavonols, including procyanidins. Phenolic acid content ranges from 63.9-121.9 mg/100g fresh weight, the most abundant being chlorogenic acid. Aronia berry also contains caffeic, ferulic, and p-coumaric acid. Many of these constituents are unstable and decrease in quantity after juice pasteurization; phenolic compounds are affected by the environment, including thermal treatment. Bioavailability is a key factor for intake of these constituents. The bioavailability for the phenolic compounds in aronia berry is quite low; however, encapsulation technology can increase bioavailability.

Antioxidants help prevent or inhibit oxidative cell damage. Research has indicated that the juice of aronia berry has high antioxidant potential and is nearly four times higher than cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon, Ericaceae) juice, blueberry (V. angustifolium spp.) juice, and red wine (Vitis vinifera, Vitaceae); however, in another study, elderberry (Sambucus nigra, Adoxaceae) and blueberry showed more antioxidant activity. [Note: This information may reflect a different varietal of blueberry.] Aronia berry also measured higher for radical-scavenging activity compared to the synthetic antioxidants butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene. This activity is thought to be related to the anthocyanin and phenolic compound content. Research has indicated a higher polyphenol content was associated with higher antioxidant activity.

Inflammation is a temporary protective response of the immune system; however, chronic low-grade inflammation accompanies cardiovascular disease. Research has demonstrated that procyanidins and anthocyanins can improve inflammation. In vitro studies and animal studies have demonstrated that aronia berry juice can improve inflammation markers. In a trial with patients, aronia berry indicated a decrease in inflammatory markers and in another study, it showed the same inhibition of adhesion activity as anti-inflammatory drugs. It is concluded that aronia berry reduces the level of monocytes and granulocytes and helps reduce the inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease.

Research has exhibited improvement in triacylglycerols, total cholesterol, and LDL levels; however, not all trials saw a consistent improvement in each marker. A lowering in these levels can also lessen the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Animal studies indicated an improvement in lipogenesis and a reduction in triacylglycerols, total cholesterol, and LDL levels. It is indicated that the anthocyanins are what cause this activity. Another in vitro study showed the potential of aronia berry affecting the expression of genes involved in intestinal lipid metabolism.

Aronia also indicated a strong anticoagulant activity. This was by prolonging blood-clotting times and decreasing the maximal velocity of fibrin polymerization in human plasma, as presented in in vitro studies. An in vivo study demonstrated anti-aggregatory effects on platelets at a higher rate with patients with cardiovascular disease risk factors compared to those who did not have risk factors.

Blood pressure and fluid and electrolyte balance are affected by the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. A human trial with aronia berry demonstrated a positive effect on this system and on hypertension. Another human trial saw a reduction in blood pressure after three days. On top of reducing angiotensin II, aronia berry increased endothelial progenitor cell proliferation, decreased senescence of cells, improved functionality, adhesion, angiogenic potential, and migration capacity. Aronia berry also may affect nitric oxide production.

The authors conclude aronia berry has many beneficial effects regarding cardiovascular disease due to its flavonoid and anthocyanin content. Research has shown many positive effects and the authors propose to include aronia berry in daily diets to help mitigate the problems of cardiovascular disease. The authors state no conflicts of interest.

Dani Hoots