By TAP Integrative

Black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis) has a long history in traditional medicine in Korea, where it is believed to improve vascular function. The vascular effects are thought to be attributable to black raspberry’s flavonoids, tannins, phenolic acids, tyrosol, ellagitannins, and resveratrol—which are known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and antiatherosclerotic effects.

These effects are backed by science in addition to history. Studies have found black raspberry improves blood pressure, lipid profiles, and vascular function. That makes it an interesting potential intervention for people with metabolic syndrome. In people with metabolic syndrome, it’s important to manage cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, such as blood pressure, arterial stiffness and inflammation.

Arterial stiffness occurs as a result of changes in vascular structures, including endothelial cells. It’s a strong predictor of CVD, especially in people with obesity or insulin resistance. Another emerging marker of CVD is the number of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), which help damaged vascular endothelium and ischemic tissues regenerate.

Black raspberry has been previously shown to improve vascular endothelial function in patients with high CVD risk. A new study published in 2016 in the Journal of Medicinal Food investigated the effects of freeze-dried black raspberry concentrate on circulating EPCs and arterial stiffness in people with metabolic syndrome. In a randomized, placebo-controlled trial, 51 patients were assigned to receive either black raspberry (750 mg/day) or placebo for 12 weeks. At baseline and at the 12-week follow-up, central blood pressure, augmentation index, and EPCs were measured.

Compared to the placebo group, those in the black raspberry group had significantly decreased radial augmentation indexes at follow-up. In addition, EPCs were significantly higher in the black raspberry group compared to the placebo group, and decreases in interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a) were significantly greater in the treatment group. Black raspberry contains a multitude of polyphenols including ellagic acid which may account for the anti-inflammatory effects observed in this study.

This study suggests that black raspberry may be effective in mitigating some CVD risk factors in people with metabolic syndrome.

 


Reference

Jeong HS, Kim S, Hong SJ, et al. Black raspberry extract increased circulating endothelial progenitor cells and improved arterial stiffness in patients with metabolic syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. J Med Food. 2016;19(4):346-352.

 


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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease