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Anthocyanins May Reduce Inflammation and Cholesterol

A recent study suggests that supplementation with a mixture of anthocyanins may noticeably reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol. Anthocyanins are the antioxidants that give fruits and vegetables their red, blue or purple color.

24 weeks of anthocyanin supplementation resulted in a 22% reduction in C-reactive protein. C-reactive protein levels rise in response to inflammation. In addition, supplementation led to a 12.3% reduction in vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1), another marker of inflammation, and improvements in cholesterol levels.

150 adults with high cholesterol participated in the study. They consumed either a 320 mg anthocyanin supplement or a placebo daily for 24 weeks. In addition to the reductions in inflammation markers, researchers noted a 10% reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol and and14% increase in HDL (good) cholesterol in the supplement group. The placebo group saw a 0.3% increase in LDL and a 0.9% decrease in HDL.

When the researchers conducted a cell study, they found that the mix of anthocyanins had a stronger impact on inflammatory markers compared to any individual anthocyanin.

The researchers were based at Sun Yat-Sen University and Shaogun University in China. They published their results online ahead of print on August 20, 2012, in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases.

Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols. They can be found in red/purplish fruits and vegetables such as berries, purple cabbage, beets and purple grapes. They help protect the body from damage by free radicals, which may help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

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