Chokeberries: Strange Name, but They Love Your Heart
Evidence shows that chokeberries, including members of the Aronia mitschurinii and melanocarpa species may lower blood pressure when consumed in both juice and extract forms. Hypertension – high blood pressure – generates free radical activity, which not only damages arteries and creates inflammation, but can also oxidize cholesterol. The high polyphenol content of chokeberries helps stop this chain reaction, and may even activate our own antioxidant defenders, including glutathione. Human research with juice has shown milder benefits, reducing inflammatory cytokines and moderately dropping daytime blood pressure levels. While fruits of various kinds are well known for their heart-friendly attributes, chokeberries – maybe “Aronia” is a more pleasant name – may become another tool in the ongoing fight against high blood pressure and heart disease.
Ciocoiu M, Badescu L, Miron A, Badescu M. The involvement of a polyphenol-rich extract of black chokeberry in oxidative stress on experimental arterial hypertension. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:912769. doi: 10.1155/2013/912769. Epub 2013 Feb 27.
The aim of this study is to characterize the content of Aronia melanocarpa Elliott (black chokeberry) extract and also to estimate the influence of polyphenolic compounds contained in chokeberries on oxidative stress, on an L-NAME-induced experimental model of arterial hypertension. The rat blood pressure values were recorded using a CODA Noninvasive Blood Pressure System. HPLC/DAD coupled with ElectroSpray Ionization-Mass Spectrometry allowed identification of five phenolic compounds in berries ethanolic extract as follows: chlorogenic acid, kuromanin, rutin, hyperoside, and quercetin. The serous activity of glutathione-peroxidase (GSH-Px) has significantly lower values in the hypertensive (AHT) group as compared to the group protected by polyphenols (AHT + P). The total antioxidant capacity (TAC) values are lower in the AHT group and they are significantly higher in the AHT + P group. All the measured blood pressure components revealed a biostatistically significant blood pressure drop between the AHT group and the AHT + P group. The results reveal the normalization of the reduced glutathion (GSH) concentration as well as a considerable reduction in the malondialdehyde (MDA) serum concentration in the AHT + P group. Ethanolic extract of black chokeberry fruits not only has a potential value as a prophylactic agent but also may function as a nutritional supplement in the management of arterial hypertension.
Loo BM, Erlund I, Koli R, et al. Consumption of chokeberry (Aronia mitschurinii) products modestly lowered blood pressure and reduced low-grade inflammation in subjects with mildly elevated blood pressure. Nutr. Res., Sept. 2016. [Published online ahead of print.]
Previous studies suggest that consumption of chokeberries may improve cardiovascular disease risk factor profiles. We hypothesized that chokeberries (Aronia mitschurinii) have beneficial effects on blood pressure, low-grade inflammation, serum lipids, serum glucose, and platelet aggregation in subjects with untreated mild hypertension. Totally 38 subjects were enrolled into a 16-wk. single blinded crossover trial. The subjects were randomized to use cold-pressed 100% chokeberry juice (300 ml/day) and oven-dried chokeberry powder (3 g/day) or matched placebo products in random order for 8 weeks each with no washout period. The daily portion of chokeberry products was prepared from approximately 336 g of fresh chokeberries. Urinary excretion of various polyphenols and their metabolites increased during the chokeberry period, indicating good compliance. Chokeberries decreased daytime blood pressure and low-grade inflammation. The daytime ambulatory diastolic blood pressure decreased (−1.64 mmHg P = .02), and the true awake ambulatory systolic tended to decrease (−2.71 mmHg, P = .077) and diastolic (−1.62 mmHg, P = .057) blood pressure. The concentrations of interleukin (IL) 10 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) decreased (−1.9 pg/ml, P = .008 and −0.67 pg/ml, P = .007, respectively) and tended to decrease for IL4 and IL5 (−4.5 pg/ml, P = .084 and −0.06 pg/ml, P = .059, respectively). No changes in serum lipids, lipoproteins, glucose and in vitro platelet aggregation were noted with the chokeberry intervention. These findings suggest that inclusion of chokeberry products in the diet of subjects with mildly elevated blood pressure has minor beneficial effects on cardiovascular health.
Links to the abstracts: