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Anthocyanins Linked With Reduced Lung Function Decline

Previous studies have suggested that anthocyanins, the flavonoids that are found in certain fruits and vegetables, may have anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to modulate oxidative stress. A recent study suggests that anthocyanins may help improve lung function in people who have never smoked and in former smokers.


Participants in the study included 2,599 people with an average age of 44 who took part in the second and third European Community Respiratory Health Surveys, from 2002 to 2012. All of the participants filled out a dietary questionnaire and underwent spirometry when they enrolled and again for a followup. Spirometry measures the amount of air a person can forcefully exhale in one second (FEV1), the amount of air they can exhale after a deep breath (FVC), and the ratio of the two. The researchers placed the participants in quartiles based on the amount of anthocyanins they consumed.


The researchers found that the highest quartile of anthocyanin intake had a slower rate of annual decline in FEV1, a slower rate of annual decline in FVC, and a slower rate in the ratio between the two, when compared with the lowest quartile.


The researchers also looked at the association between anothocyanin consumption and lung function in smokers, those who had never smoked, and those who had quit. The association between high anthocyanin consumption and reduced lung function decline was strongest amongst those who never smoked and former smokers. No association was found for current smokers.


Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health led the study. It was published on January 15, 2018, in Nutrients.


Anthocyanins can be found in red, blue, or purple fruits and vegetables. Blueberries, cranberries and acai have particularly high levels.

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