Cardiovascular Health                                     

Clinical trials with blackcurrants

Decreases blood cholesterol and blood pressure

A) Clinical trial subjects with high cholesterol levels consumed anthocyanin (320mg) equivalent to 6 tablespoons of blackcurrant berries daily, over a period of 12 weeks.

The results showed:
- Blood pressure decreased significantly compared to the base line.
- HDL ("good") cholesterol increased and LDL("bad") cholesterol significantly decreased compared to the placebo group.

B) In another study, subjects who drank 250ml pure blackcurrant juice each day for a week showed a modest but significant decrease in cholesterol accumulation in macrophage foam cells that form plaque attached to arteries.

DECREASEs VASCULAR INFLAMMATION

A 2009 study showed increased intake of blackcurrant and orange juice decreased vascular inflammation and the risk of cardiovascular disorder.

The trial subjects with peripheral arterial disease consumed a daily drink of 250ml of blackcurrant juice and 250ml of orange juice. This trial gave highly significant results after four weeks.
- 11% decrease in C-reactive protein
- 3% decrease fibrinogen
These substances are both indicators of vascular inflammation. Lower levels of both markers indicate lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The study supports the view that increased intake of fruit products such as blackcurrant and orange juice decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

REDUCES RISK FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH METABOLIC SYNDROME

This 2010 Finnish study showed that a mixture of berries, including blackcurrants, may be linked to a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is commonly associated with  'metabolic syndrome' ( risk of heart disease, high blood pressure,  type 2 diabetes, obesity) .  This study examined liver markers  to assess liver damage caused by accumulation of fat in the liver.  Two groups of slightly overweight women were recruited. The group that incorporated the berry mixture into their diet for 20 weeks showed a 23% reduction in the levels of the liver marker ALAT (alanine aminotransferase) that indicates liver damage.  Researchers concluded that enhancing liver function over the long term may lead to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

INCREASES BLOOD FLOW

A) Subjects consumed anthocyanin (100mg) equivalent to two tablespoons of blackcurrant berries.
- Anthocyanin content of plasma  reached a maximum after 1 hour, and decreased to 50% by 4 hours.
- After 1 hour the forearm blood flow increased significantly (about 40%) compared to placebo.

B) In another study 50mg of anthocyanin was shown to improve blood circulation in cold hands.
Hands were soaked in cold water at 10℃ for 1 minute. For subjects who had consumed blackcurrants, hand temparature returned to normal after 7 minutes, compared to 13 minutes for the placebo group.

Scientific Literature

1.Wallace. T.C. Anthocyanins in Cardiovascular Disease. ADVANCES IN NUTRITION 2008. 2:1-7
2.K.Iwasaki-Kurashige, R.Y.Loyage-Rendon, H.Matsumoto, T.Tokunaga and H.Azuma, Possible mediators involved in decreasing peripheral vascular resistance with blackcurrant concentrate (BC) in hind-limb perfusion model of the rat, VASC. PHARMACOL., 2006, 44, 215-233.
3.I.Edirisinghe, K.Banaszewski, J.Cappozzo, D.McCarthy and B.M.Burton-Freeman, Effect of blackcurrant anthocyanins on the activation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in vitro in human endothelial cells, J.AGRIC.FOOD CHEM., 2011, 59, 8616-8624.
4.Zhu, Yanna Xia, Min Yang, Yan Liu, FengqiongLi, ZhongxiaHao, YuantaMi, Mantia Jin, TianruLing, Wenhua, Purified Anthocyanin Supplementation Improves Endothelial Function via NO-cGMP activation in Hypercholesterolemic Individuals. CLINICAL CHEMISTRY 2011, 57 1524-1533.
5.M.Rosenblat, N.Volkova, J.Attias, R.Mahamid and M.Aviram, Consumption of polyphenolic-rich beverages (mostly pomegranate and blackcurrant juices) by healthy subjects for a short term increased serum antioxidant status, and the serum's ability to attenuate macrophage cholesterol accumulation, FOOD FUNCT., 2010, 1, 99-109.
6.Dalgard.C.,Nielsen, F., Morrow, J.D.,Enghusen-Poulsen, H.,Jonung,T.,Hørder, M.,de Maat, M.P.M.Supplementation with orange and blackcurrant juice, but not vitamin E, improves inflammatory markers in patients wih peripheral arterial disease. BRITISH JOURNAL OF NUTRITION 2009, 101:263-269.
7.H-M Lehtonen,  J-P Suomela, R Tahvonen, J Vaarno, M Venoja, J Viikari H, Kallio. Berry meals and risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF CLINICAL NUTRITION. 2010, 64,614-621.
8.Matsumoto,H., Takenami,E., Iwasaki-Kurashige, K., Osada, T.,Katsumura, T., Hamaoka, T, Effects of blackcurrant anthocyanin intake on peripheral muscle circulation during typing work in humans. EUROPEAN JOURNAL APPLIED PHYSIOLOGY 2005, 94:36-45
9.Takenami,E.Kurashige,K.I. Matsumoto, H.Honma, T.Osada, T. Okubo, M.Hamaoka, T, Improvement of cold water immersion induced circulation impairment by blackcurrant extract intake-the investigation on cold constitutional women. THE JOURNAL OF THE JAPANESE SOCIETY OF THERMOLOGY 2004, 23:194-201.
10.Li GuoQing Wu SongLinAbabarri, S.Study on impact of blackcurrant and Loniceracaerulea fruit on rabbits with hyperlipemia. ENDEMIC DISEASES BULLETIN / DI FANG BING TONG BAO 2009,214-19.
11.Auger, Cyril Kim, Jong-HunTrinh, Sandrine Chataigneau, Thierry Popken, Ann M. Schini-Kerth, Valerie B. Fruit juice-induced endothelium-dependent relaxations in isolated porcine coronary arteries: evaluation of different fruit juices and purees and optimization of a red fruit juice blend. FOOD & FUNCTION 2011, 2:245-250.
12.Li Zhao, Xiaogu Ma, Long Re, ZiyGu, YajingTu, Erxunjiang. Experiment study of blackcurrant on vascular endothelial cells injury induced by hydrogen peroxide. WEI SHENG YAN JIU = JOURNAL OF HYGIENE RESEARCH 2009, 38 592-595.
13.Yuko Nakamura, Hitoshi Matsumoto and Kazuo Todoki Endothelium-Dependnt Vasorelaxation induced by Blackcurrant Concentrate in Rat Thoracic Aorta. JPN. J. PHARMACOL.2002, 89, 29-35.