Current research investigates the application of aronia chemical properties in treating diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), colon cancer and pancreatic cancer.

Diabetes, Obesity, Heart Disease, Inflammation

British Journal of Nutrition, 108 (2012): 581-587. 
This summary highlights the potential impact of aronia extract in treating diabetes, obesity, heart disease and inflammation.

Anthocyanins, inherent in aronia, exhibit potential diverse health benefits in animal and human studies, including cardio-protective, anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties.

An animal study published online in 2011, involving the USDA and carried out by a team from Beltsville, Maryland, explored the effects of aronia extract fed in a controlled trial to rats who’d been fed a fructose-rich diet to induce insulin resistance and simulate diabetes.

Aronia extract decreased the levels of fasting blood glucose and plasma insulin, as well as LDL and total cholesterol. The effects on blood glucose levels were attributed to the aronia extract improving genes impaired through diabetes, leading to a decrease in insulin resistance. Levels of the fat cell hormone apidonectin increased. This hormone helps control fat production. Low levels lead to obesity, a risk factor for insulin resistance, diabetes and hypertension.

The rats fed aronia extract decreased weight gain and fat cell accumulation. They also showed improved sugar and fat metabolism. More studies involving human models are required, but these results would appear to support previous findings that aronia extract, when combined with statin therapy, increases levels of the beneficial apidonectin in patients following myocardial infarction, improving survival chances. Combined with the apparent beneficial effects on blood sugar levels and general cardiovascular health, the future for aronia appears promising.

Bolin Qin, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Beltsville, Maryland, and Integrity Nutraceuticals International, South Spring Hill, Tennessee; Richard A. Anderson, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Beltsville, Maryland.

(Article researched, identified and summarized by David Walsh, MRPharmS, BSc, online blogger, Pharmaceutical Journal, London, U.K.)

Pancreatic Cancer

Journal of Clinical Pathology, 9-17-2014. 
Research by pancreatic cancer researchers in the United Kingdom finds that aronia extract, when interacting with the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine, may improve the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Noor Azela Abdullah Thani, School of Science and Technology, Middlesex University, The Burroughs, London, U.K.; Sholeh Keshavarz, School of Science and Technology, Middlesex University, The Burroughs, London, U.K.; Bashir A. Lwaleed, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, Hampshire, U.K.; Alan J. Cooper, School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, Portsmouth University, Portsmouth, Hampshire, U.K.; Harcharan K. Rooprai, Department of Neurosurgery, King's College Hospital, London, U.K.

Cholesterol Reduction

The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 3-20-2013.
"A paper in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry in March, 2013, finds that aronia exhibits a biological effect to lower cholesterol in intestinal cells.

"Researchers Bohkyung Kim, Youngki Park, Casey J. Wegner, Bradley W. Bolling and Jiyoung Lee investigated the gene expression mechanism by which colon cells process cholesterol. They found that aronia caused less cholesterol to enter, cross through and exit colon cells, thereby reducing the amount of cholesterol that could be distributed to the body. This effect was enhanced by a higher dose of aronia."

(Excerpt from a summary by Angela Myracle, assistant professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Maine, Orono, Maine.)

IBD, Cholesterol Reduction, Inflammation, Oxidative Stress

University of Connecticut, 8-22-2012.
"... in his laboratory, assistant professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences (CANR) Bradley Bolling is studying how dietary polyphenols, a group of chemicals with antioxidant properties found in aronia, may be used to reduce the risk and complications of chronic conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). ...

"Additionally, thanks to a grant of $417,000 from the state's Biomedical Research Trust Fund for the study of diseases and chronic illnesses associated with tobacco use, Bolling is also investigating whether or not aronia polyphenols may reduce cardiovascular disease risk in former smokers.

"'Our hypothesis is that chokeberry [aronia] polyphenols will improve cholesterol levels and inhibit inflammation and oxidative stress in this population,' he says.

(Excerpt from an article by Sheila Foran originally published in UConn Today - 8-22-2012.)

Colon Cancer

Ohio State University
Monica Giusti, PhD, associate professor of Food Science at Ohio State University, is studying how aronia compounds inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells.

Growing and Uses

The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Resource Center provides an overview of aronia berries. More.

University of Maryland
Aronia growers and would-be growers will welcome "Aronia: An Old Fruit Crop, New to Maryland Farms," a cogent article by Dr. Andrew Ristvey, Wye Research and Education Center, University of Maryland Extension. It discusses the nature of this high antioxidant fruit, how to grow it and what food products use it. More.

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