Sea buckthorn may cut inflammation, CVD

By Stephen Daniells

28/06/2007- Regular consumption of sea buckthorn berries reduced levels of a protein that is associated with inflammation, diabetes and heart disease, say Finnish scientists.

However, no major effects were observed on the instance of common cold or digestive tract infections, reports the study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The report could see the berries join an ever-increasing list of a number of antioxidant fruits, including pomegranate, guarana, mangosteen, noni berries, goji berries and blueberries, which are increasingly seen by food and beverage makers as up and coming ingredients.

Indeed, Leatherhead Foods predicts that sales of such heart health foods will rise nearly 60 per cent over the 2004-2009 period to reach nearly 4.2bn ($5.7bn) by 2009.

"Sea buckthorn berries did not prevent common cold or digestive tract infections. However, a reductive effect on CRP, a marker of inflammation, and a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, was detected," wrote lead author Petra Larmo from the University of Turku.

C-reactive protein (CRP) is produced in the liver and is a known marker for inflammation. Increased levels of CRP are a good predictor for the onset of both type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

An estimated 19 million people are affected by diabetes in the EU 25, projected to increase to 26 million by 2030. CVD causes almost 50 per cent of deaths in Europe, and is reported to cost the EU economy an estimated 169 billion ($202 billion) per year.

The researchers recruited 233 healthy subjects (average age 30.7, average BMI 23.1 kg per sq. m) and randomly assigned them to receive sea buckthorn or placebo product for 90 days.

Petra Larmo told NutraIngredients.com: "The daily berry dose was 28 g (frozen sea buckthorn berry puree). The daily dose contained 16.7 mg flavonol glycosides (the glycosides of isorhamnetin were the most abundant), 15.6 mg vitamin C, and 1.1 mg alpha-tocopherol. Calculated as aglycones the total daily amount of flavonols was about 8.4 mg.

"A moderate berry dose was chosen to have a realistic dose for everyday consumption of the average person,"
she added.

At the end of the study, Larmo and co-workers report that no significant difference in the number or duration of common cold or digestive tract infections between the sea buckthorn and placebo groups.

For levels of CRP, however, significant differences were observed between the groups. Consumption of sea buckthorn was associated with an average 0.059 mg/l decrease, which suggests beneficial effects for cardiovascular health.

The number of UTI was too small to draw solid conclusions, but the results indicate the subject merits further investigation.

"We are carrying on our studies concerning the health effects of sea buckthorn berry. We analysed the samples of the trial reported in the EJCN for other risk markers of cardiovascular disease and flavonols, and are currently writing a manuscript of these results," Larmo told this website.

"Several other analyses (markers of inflammation, endothelium dysfunction and oxidation) from these samples have also been made and will be reported later. At the end of this year, we are planning on starting a new clinical trial. The objective is to study the effects of sea buckthorn berry on urinary tract (and other) infections in elderly people,"
she added.

Back in October, scientists in India reported a new extraction method for sea buckthorn berries giving a juice rich in vitamin C, polyphenols and flavonoids.

The research, published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture (Vol. 86, pp. 2345-2353) reported using continuous high speed centrifugation (spinning) to separate the juice and the solid sludge the resulting juice retains more than 40 per cent of polyphenols, 50 per cent of flavonoids and 70 per cent of vitamin C present in the pulp of the red berries.

Source: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Advance online publication 27 June 2007; doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602831
"Effects of sea buckthorn berries on infections and inflammation: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial"
Authors: P. Larmo, J. Alin, E. Salminen, H. Kallio and R Tahvonen
 

Bookmark and Share

Copyright - Unless otherwise stated all contents of this web site are 2000/2007 Decision News Media SAS All Rights Reserved. For permission to reproduce any contents of this web site, please email our Syndication department: contact our Syndication department. Full details for the use of materials on this site can be found in the Terms & Conditions.