A study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition1 evaluated the effects of polyphenol-rich aronia berries on cardiovascular health and gut microbiota. In the double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel designed study, 66 healthy men were randomly assigned to consume a polyphenol-rich aronia extract called Aronox from Naturex (Avignon, France), a whole fruit aronia powder, or placebo (maltodextrin) for 12 weeks.
Results showed that compared to control, the aronia extract and whole fruit groups saw a significant increase in flow-mediated dilation (FMD) in their arteries after 12 weeks. Subjects taking the extract saw acute improvements in FMD as soon as two hours after consumption and at 12 weeks. There were no significant changes found in gut microbiota diversity, but consumption of the extract did significantly increase the growth of Anaerostipes and consumption of the whole fruit powder resulted in a significant increase in Bacteroides.
“This study is consistent with previous research from our lab on the positive impact of consumption of polyphenols on cardiovascular health. However, we are intrigued by the strong impact the [whole fruit powder] was able to deliver with its comparatively low polyphenol content,” said Ana Rodriquez-Mateos, PhD, principal investigator for the study, in a press release. “What was most interesting was that by correlating the changes in the host microbiome population, plasma metabolites and impact on endothelial function, we can see a clearer picture of the mechanisms associated polyphenols’ impact on cardiovascular health even in a healthy population.”
1. G Istas et al. “Effects of aronia berry (poly)phenols on vascular function and gut microbiota: a double-blind randomized controlled trial in adult men.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Published online ahead of print on June 1, 2019