Cardiovascular Disease Risk Biomarkers and Liver and Kidney Function Are Not Altered in Postmenopausal Women after Ingesting an Elderberry Extract Rich in Anthocyanins for 12 Weeks

School of Medicine, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk, UK.
Journal of Nutrition (Impact Factor: 3.88). 09/2009; 139(12):2266-71. DOI: 10.3945/jn.109.113126
Source: PubMed


Growing evidence supports a cardio-protective role for anthocyanins; however, there is limited evidence on their efficacy and safety following the consumption of relatively high but dietarily achievable doses in humans. We conducted a parallel-designed, randomized, placebo-controlled study to examine the effect of chronic consumption of anthocyanins on biomarkers of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and liver and kidney function in 52 healthy postmenopausal women (n = 26 in treatment and placebo groups). Volunteers (BMI, 24.7 +/- 3.6 kg/m(2); age, 58.2 +/- 5.6 y) consumed 500 mg/d anthocyanins as cyanidin glycosides (from elderberry) or placebo for 12 wk (2 capsules twice/d). At the beginning (wk 0) and end of the 12-wk intervention, levels of anthocyanins and biomarkers of CVD (inflammatory biomarkers, platelet reactivity, lipids, and glucose) and liver and kidney function (total bilirubin, albumin, urea, creatinine, alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, and gamma-glutyl transferase) were assessed in fasted blood. Anthropometric, blood pressure, and pulse measurements were also taken. In addition, postprandial plasma anthocyanins were measured (t = 1, 2, 3 h) following a 500-mg oral bolus dose. After 12 wk of chronic exposure to anthocyanins, there was no significant change in biomarkers of CVD risk and liver and kidney function remained within clinically acceptable ranges. We observed no plasma accumulation of anthocyanins; however, postprandial metabolism increased (P = 0.02). In conclusion, these data suggest that chronic consumption of 500 mg/d of elderberry extract for 12 wk is apparently safe, but ineffective in altering biomarkers of CVD risk in healthy postmenopausal women.

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    • "The study design has been previously described in detail [16]. The ACN content of the elderberry (Sambucus nigra) extract was previously established as 250 mg ACN per gram of extract [16], predominantly consisting of cyanidin-3-glucoside (53.5%) and cyanidin-3-sambubioside (39.5%) [19]. Elderberries are also reported to contain low amounts of cyanidin-3- sambubioside-5-glucoside (6%) and cyanidin-3,5-diglucoside (1%) [20]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Increased tissue status of the long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA), eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is associated with cardiovascular and cognitive benefits in humans. Limited epidemiological and animal data suggest that flavonoids, specifically anthocyanins (ACNs), may increase EPA and DHA levels potentially by increasing their synthesis from shorter chain n-3 PUFA, α-linolenic acid. Using complimentary cell, rodent and human studies we investigated the impact of ACNs and ACN-rich foods/extracts on plasma and tissue EPA and DHA levels and on the expression of fatty acid desaturase 2 (FADS2), which represents the rate limiting enzymes in EPA and DHA synthesis. In experiment 1, rats were fed a standard diet containing either palm oil or rapeseed oil supplemented with ACNs for 8 weeks. Retrospective fatty acid analysis was conducted on plasma samples collected from a human randomised controlled trial where participants consumed an elderberry extract for 12 weeks (Experiment 2). HepG2 cells were cultured with α-linolenic acid with or without select ACNs and their in vivo metabolites for 24h and 48h (Experiment 3). The fatty acid composition of the cell membranes, plasma and liver tissue samples were analysed by gas chromatography. ACNs and ACN-rich food intake had no significant impact on EPA or DHA concentration or FADS2 gene expression in any model system. These data indicate little impact of dietary ACNs on n-3 PUFA concentrations and suggest that the increasingly recognised benefits of ACNs on a range of health outcomes is unlikely to be due to a beneficial impact on tissue fatty acid status.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry
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    • "Also, in the study of Karlsen et al., supplementation with 330 mL bilberry juice/day for 4 weeks resulted in significant decrease in plasma concentrations of CRP [32]. Conversely, others have shown no significant effects [33–35]. Considering a slight decrease in hs-CRP by V. arctostaphylos (in contrast to placebo) observed in our study, the use of higher doses of this extract for longer periods may have more significant effect on this inflammatory marker. "
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