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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOAVAILABILITY AND HEALTH BENEFITS OF PHYTONUTRIENTS

Location: Food Components and Health Laboratory

Title: Anthocyanins and heart disease

Author
item Novotny, Janet

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: May 6, 2012
Publication Date: September 27, 2012
Citation: Novotny Dura, J. 2012. Anthocyanins and heart disease. In: Carkeet, C., Grann, K., Randolph, R.K., Venzon, D.S., Izzy, S. Phytochemicals: Health Promotion and Therapeutic Potential. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor and Francis CRC Press. p. 559-568.

Interpretive Summary: Anthocyanins are red, blue, and purple pigments distributed throughout nature. While adding color to food plates, anthocyanins may provide a variety of health benefits. One potential health benefit of dietary anthocyanins is protection against cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading cause of death in the United States. Evidence for beneficial effects of anthocyanins with respect to heart disease includes epidemiological studies, animal studies, cell culture studies, and clinical studies. While results from large survey studies of the association between anthocyanins (or flavonoids in general) and CVD have been mixed, generally the results have been positive, prompting follow-up animal and human studies. The majority of animal studies have shown that anthocyanin-rich interventions affect a number of mechanisms that contribute to heart disease, including lowering cholesterol, reducing clotting, and inhibiting chonic low-grade inflammation. Human studies have also generally suggested that anthocyanins interfere with multiple mechanisms involved in heart disease progression. Taken together, these studies provide evidence that anthocyanins play an important role in reducing number one cause of disease-related death in the U.S. This information will be useful to scientists and health professionals.

Technical Abstract: Anthocyanins are red, blue, and purple pigments distributed throughout nature, and in our diet. One potential health benefit of dietary anthocyanins is protection against cardiovascular disease (CVD). Evidence for beneficial effects of anthocyanins with respect to heart disease comes from epidemiological studies, animal studies, cell studies, and clinical studies. While results from large survey studies of the association between anthocyanins (or flavonoids in general) and CVD have been mixed, generally the results have been positive, prompting follow-up animal and human studies. The majority of animal studies have shown anthocyanin-rich interventions to interfere with a number of mechanisms that promote heart disease, including lowering cholesterol, reducing clotting, and inhibiting chronic low-grade inflammation. Human studies have also generally suggested that anthocyanins interfere with multiple mechanisms of heart disease progression, though a few studies have failed to show an effect. In some cases these null results are due to problematic study design. Taken together, these studies provide evidence that anthocyanins can play an important role in reducing the number one cause of chronic disease-related death in the U.S.

Last Modified: 7/11/2014
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