Athletes who supplement with aronia – in the form of aronia juice from any supermarket – keeps cholesterol balance and the walls of the blood vessels young as we age. Researchers from Bulgaria at the University of Plovdiv reached this conclusion after doing a study that was published within the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Aronia berries contain enormous amounts of polyphenols (these are good). As a result of this, their taste is not what we’d describe as optimal – but the expectations surrounding their health-promoting effects are as always high.
The result is that just one litre of aronia berry juice contains possibly up to almost 5g polyphenols, 4 g of which consist of proanthocyanins. Tow of the most common polyphenols in the aronia juice are the hydroxyciannamates neochlorogenic acid and chlorogenic acid.
For three months the Bulgarian researchers gave 10-month old [i.e. classed as adult] lab rats 64 ml aronia juice for each kg bodyweight. The human equivalent of this large dose for an adult would be around the 700 ml per day. And that’s a lot especially when it tastes as it does! The researchers from Bulgaria wanted to see if they would be able to show the anti-ageing effects of the aronia juice. They bought a few of bottles of some simple aronia juice from the Bulgarian company Vitanea, and “fed” them to the older rats.
At the conculsion of the three months the researchers assessed the rats’ blood [A], and reviewed against it with blood from rats of the same age [CO] and with that of young rats that were only a couple of months old [CY] and had not been given any of the juice.
The older rats in the group had more what we class as ‘bad’ cholesterol LDL in their blood than the younger rats did. A high LDL level is still regarded as the benchmark predictors of cardiovascular disease that we know.
When the researchers cut open and studied the aorta – the crucial artery near the heart – they witnessed that the blood vessel walls of the A group were in a better state than those of the CO group.
So,the results of the study, ageing resulted in a declining cholesterol balance and quality of the blood vessel walls; but aronia supplementation partially reversed this decline. could this be used for Masters Athletes?
“The significant importance of the present study is associated with a potential application of its findings in Masters Athetics nutrition and preventive medicine”, the researchers write. “Its results indicate that Aronia melanocarpa juice improves the all important lipid profile of supplemented animals and significantly slows down the age-related changes in the aortic wall.”
“The analysis of the atherogenic and cardioprotective indices definitely confirms that chokeberry juice has antiatherogenic and cardioprotective effects and can be recommended as a prophylactic means for healthy aging.”
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:717439.