Anthocyanin Antioxidants May Lower LDL Cholesterol Levels
Anthocyanins are “indirect” antioxidants that support the body’s direct antioxidants like vitamin E and vitamin C. Anthocyanins also give certain fruits and vegetables their red, blue, or purple color. A recent study suggests that the anthocyanins in berries may help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
For this study, researchers reviewed 12 trials that examined the effect of anthocyanins on cholesterol levels. The studies had to meet the following criteria:
- Randomized, controlled trials
- Compare purified anthocyanins or anthocyanin-rich extracts against a placebo
- Involve participants who were over the age of 18
- Assess the effect of anthocyanins on markers of cardiovascular disease, including triglycerides, total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, or blood pressure
- Anthocyanin content had to have ben quantitative or quantifiable
- Results were published in English.
Analyzing the data showed that supplementation with anthocyanins significantly improved LDL cholesterol levels among individuals with elevated LDL levels. No effect was seen on individuals with normal LDL levels. No effect was seen on triglycerides, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol or blood pressure.
Researchers from George Mason University in Virginia conducted the study. It was published on January 9, 2016, in the journal Nutrients.
Previous studies have shown that anthocyanins may protect the body from damage by free radicals. This may help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Anthocyanins can be found in red, blue, or purple fruits and vegetables. Blueberries, cranberries and acai have particularly high levels.