Aronia berries improve vascular function, modulates gut microbiota in men
Consumption of aronia berry polyphenols enhances endothelial function and regulates gut microbiota composition in men, reports a study. This shows that eating aronia berries regularly may help maintain cardiovascular health in individuals at low risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
This double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel study randomized 66 healthy men to consume a polyphenol-rich extract (116 mg, 75 g berries), a whole fruit powder (12 mg, 10 g berries) or placebo (maltodextrin) for 12 weeks.
The investigators assessed flow-mediated dilation (FMD), arterial stiffness, blood pressure, heart rate and serum biochemistry. Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry was used to analyse plasma polyphenol metabolites. Gut microbiota composition was determined through 16s rRNA sequencing in stool samples.
FMD significantly increased with the consumption of aronia whole fruit (0.9±0.4 percent, 95 percent CI, 0.13–1.72 percent) and extract powder (1.2±0.4 percent, 0.36–1.97 percent) for 12 weeks. There were also acute improvements in FMD 2 hours after aronia extract consumption on day 1 (1.1±0.3 percent; p=0.003) and 12 weeks later (1.5±0.4 percent; p=0.0001).
Consumption of aronia in any form led to an increase in circulating plasma phenolic metabolites. There were no changes seen in gut microbiota diversity, but aronia extract increased the growth of Anaerostipes (10.6 percent; p=0.01), whereas aronia whole fruit showed significant increases in Bacteroides (193 percent; p=0.01).
In correlation analysis, significant associations were found between changes in FMD, aronia-derived phenolic metabolites and specific gut microbial genera.
“Aronia melanocarpa is a rich source of polyphenols,” the authors said. “Previous research has demonstrated that these berries may provide cardiovascular health benefits in high-risk populations.”