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High anthocyanin intake may slow lung function decline

Roshini Claire Anthony
25 May 2018

Adults with a high intake of anthocyanins may experience a slower decline in lung function over time, according to results of a study from Europe.

“Dietary intake of sources of anthocyanins is associated with significantly slower decline in lung function in the general population,”  said study lead author Assistant Professor Vanessa Garcia-Larsen from the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, US, at the annual meeting of the American Thoracic Society held in San Diego, California, US.

Using the second and third European Community Respiratory Health Surveys (ECRHS), researchers assessed the decline in lung function over 10 years of 463 adults from England and Norway (mean age 44.5 years at baseline). Information on dietary intake (obtained through questionnaires) and spirometry were taken at baseline (2002) and at 10-year follow-up (2012). Anthocyanin intake among the patients was divided into tertiles.

Participants with the lowest quartile of anthocyanin intake experienced a mean annual decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) of -18.9mL/year. In contrast, participants with the highest quartile of anthocyanin intake experienced a mean annual decline in FEV1 of -9.8 mL/year. [ATS 2018, abstract A2797]

Similarly, participants with the highest quartile of anthocyanin intake experienced a slower decline in forced vital capacity (FVC) per year compared with those with the lowest quartile of anthocyanin intake (-9.8 vs -22.2 mL/year).

The decline in the FEV1/FVC ratio was also slower among participants with the highest compared with the lowest quartile of anthocyanin intake (-0.02/year, 95 percent confidence interval -0.03 to -0.01).

The impact on lung function decline with a high anthocyanin intake appeared to be greater among participants who had never smoked and those who had quit smoking compared with those in the general population, while there was no significant impact rendered by a high anthocyanin intake on lung function of smokers.  

“[W]e wanted to investigate whether dietary intake and anthocyanins are associated with lung function decline in middle-age adults,” said Garcia-Larsen.

She acknowledged limitations of the study including the use of self-reports on dietary intake and the small patient cohort.

“Our study suggests that the general population could benefit from consuming more fruits rich in these flavonoids like berries, particularly those who have given up smoking or have never smoked,” said Larsen. “For smokers, quitting remains the best thing they can do to protect their health,” she said.

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Audrey Abella, 14 Oct 2019
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