Study Identifies How Anthocyanins Boost Heart Health
Anthocyanins are antioxidants found in some fruits and vegetables that have been associated with a range of health benefits, although science has not always been clear about why they are good for us. A recent study suggests that the heart health benefits of anthocyanins may be due to their ability to reduce levels of platelet chemokines.
Platelet chemokines are involved in inflammatory reactions, immune responses and other aspects of the development of atherosclerosis.
Participants in the study included 146 people between the ages of 40 and 65 who were randomly assigned to consume either 320 mg of purified anthocyanins or a placebo daily for 24 weeks.
At the conclusion of the study, the anthocyanin group showed a decrease in a number of platelet chemokines, compared with an increase in the placebo group. Specifically, they had a 12.3% decrease in CXCL7 (compared with a 4% increase in the placebo group); a 10% decrease in CXCL5 (compared with a 2% decrease in the placebo group); a 8.1% decrease in the CXCL12 group (compared with a 5.4% increase in the placebo group); and an 11.6% decrease in CCL2 (compared with a 12.8% increase in the placebo group).
The researchers noted that decreases in CXCL7 and CCL2 were positively correlated with decreases in blood levels of LDL cholesterol, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and interleukin-1 beta. In addition, lower levels of CXCL8 were associated with increased HDL cholesterol levels and lower levels of soluble P-selectin.
Researchers from Sun Yat-sen University led the study. It was published on November 25, 2017, in Nutrition & Metabolism.
Previous studies have shown that anthocyanins may protect the body from free radical damage. 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.