Six to eight weeks of supplementation with extracts from Aronia melanocarpa, also known as chokeberry, were associated with significant reductions in systolic, but not diastolic, blood pressure, with benefits even more pronounced for people over 50, according to data published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements.
Aronia extracts were also associated with improvements in total cholesterol levels, with the effects again more pronounced in older adults, wrote scientists from Franklin School of Integrative Health Sciences and berry ingredient supplier Artemis International.
“This dietary supplement is noninvasive and safe to combine with standard treatments for heart health, making it an ideal supplement to reduce these markers of cardiovascular disease,” they wrote.
Aronia is a member of the Rosaceae family native to eastern North America. It has also been naturalized in Europe.
The most studied form of chokeberry is Aronia melanocarpa (black chokeberries), but other forms of the berry exist, including Aronia arbutifolia (red chokeberries) and Aronia prunifolia (purple chokeberries).
Although originating in North America, commercial cultivation of aronia berries started in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The berry was reportedly used for enhancing the diets of Russian cosmonauts.
The majority of the science supporting the potential health benefits of chokeberry relate to heart health (enhancing blood flow, normalizing blood clots, benefiting blood pressure), but other reported benefits include anti-inflammatory effects, antioxidant activity, and immunomodulatory effects. A study from the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism also indicated potential for sports nutrition (2005, Vol. 15, pp. 48-58).
While the heart health benefits of the berries have been reported previously, the new meta-analysis pools the data from relevant trials in the literature.
Seven articles were identified in the literature as meeting the inclusion criteria of the researchers. The pooled data indicated that supplementation with aronia berry extract for an average of two to three months led to significant reductions in systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol.
“Healthcare providers, particularly those who manage care for adults with cardiovascular disease, and individuals who are looking to improve cardiac health should be aware of the availability of this dietary supplement that has the ability to produce significant reduction effects on total cholesterol and systolic blood pressure,” wrote the researchers.
“Because these two health markers have been associated with total heart health, noninvasive and low-risk dietary supplements are ideal tools for improving overall health and reducing cardiovascular events for which high blood pressure is known to be a risk factor.
“The effects of aronia berry on systolic blood pressure are particularly important for adults over the age of 50 because systolic blood pressure is a key marker of overall heart health and a reduction of systolic blood pressure is associated with a reduction in overall morbidity and mortality,” they added.
Source: Journal of Dietary Supplements
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1080/19390211.2020.1800887
“Daily supplementation with aronia melanocarpa (chokeberry) reduces blood pressure and cholesterol: a meta analysis of controlled clinical trials”
Authors: J. Hawkins et al.