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Aronia Berries Help Reduce the Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome

While exercise and a healthy diet are the best ways to control the effects of metabolic syndrome, researchers from the Medical University of Lodz in Poland recently released a study showing that an extract from aronia berries may help ease some of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

The findings were published online ahead of print in the European Journal of Nutrition on August 18, 2011.

32% of American adults suffer from metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that include obesity, hypertension, high levels of blood lipids and high blood sugar. People suffering from metabolic syndrome are at a much higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, and suffering a heart attack.

Participants in the study included 38 volunteers suffering from metabolic syndrome and a control group of 14 healthy volunteers. Over the course of two months the participants consumed 300 mg of aronia berry extract daily.

The researchers observed a 6.5% decrease in total cholesterol and a 9% decrease in LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and triglyceride levels. They also noted a reduction in markers for clotting and improved blood flow in the metabolic syndrome participants.

These results are probably related to the anthocyanin content of the berries, which is estimated to be approximately 1,500 mg per 100 g of berries. Anthocyanins have been found to have lipid-lowering properties as well as being able to influence blood pressure and heart rate.

Aronia berries have an impressively high antioxidant level, with an ORAC score that has been reported to be as high as 16,062 micromolecules per gram. The antioxidants found in aronia berry extract have also been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, inflammation, diabetes, and neurological problems.

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