The effects of bilberries, blackcurrants and their constituen tanthocyanins on heart health in humans
Berries have a long history of use in humans, as they have been shown to have numerous positive health effects. In this review the focus is on the effects of bilberries and blackcurrants and their purified extracts containing higher levels of anthocyanins on human heart health. Anthocyanins have an effect on several different areas of cardiovascular health, including improvement of endothelial function, anti-oxidative effects, anti-inflammatory effects and the normalization of HDL and LDL lipoproteins in the blood. Purified anthocyanin supplements derived from bilberry and blackcurrant show positive effects against all these cardiovascular disease targets.
Berries have been consumed for many centuries because of their beneficial effects for vitality, prevention of viral infections, eye health, bladder and kidney health, and gastro-intestinal health (1). The interest in dietary supplementation with berries has increased in recent times because of the recognition of their beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease, cancer prevention, neurodegenerative diseases, aging skin protection, inflammation-related diseases, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome (2, 3).