Animal study: Compounds in cranberries may have heart-healthy effects

Compounds that occur naturally in cranberries may be good for the heart, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found.

Early results from studies indicate that feeding cranberry juice powder seems to relax and open blood vessels in pigs that are genetically susceptible to developing atherosclerosis, or clogged arteries. Kris Kruse-Elliott, a veterinary anesthesiologist at the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, presented her results at the American Physiological Society’s annual meeting in San Diego in April.

She and co-researcher Jess Reed, a nutritionist in the Department of Animal Sciences, set out to evaluate various whole foods that contain antioxidants, flavonoids and polyphenols, all compounds that may protect against heart disease. Cranberries contain all three, so they fed cranberry juice powder to pigs that were genetically predisposed to develop high cholesterol and atherosclerosis, just as some humans are.

“When these pigs were fed cranberry juice powder made from whole cranberries for six months, their vessels acted more like normal pigs,” Kruse-Elliott says, meaning that the pigs’ blood vessels relaxed and opened more.

Abnormal blood vessel function is an important component of heart disease. Finding ways to improve vessel function in patients with high cholesterol and atherosclerosis is critical to helping protect these patients from consequences such as heart attack or stroke.

“The next step is to determine what specific components of cranberries are most important to the improvements in vascular function that we observed, exactly how they modify blood vessel relaxation, and how they can be most easily consumed as part of the diet,” Kruse-Elliott says. That last factor may be key. While pigs may not mind the intense tartness of concentrated cranberries, someone will need to make cranberry juice powder palatable to people before the next “heart-protection” diet is born.

Media Contact

Tania Banak EurekAlert!

More Information:

http://www.vetmed.wisc.edu

All latest news from the category: Life Sciences and Chemistry

Articles and reports from the Life Sciences and chemistry area deal with applied and basic research into modern biology, chemistry and human medicine.

Valuable information can be found on a range of life sciences fields including bacteriology, biochemistry, bionics, bioinformatics, biophysics, biotechnology, genetics, geobotany, human biology, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology, cellular biology, zoology, bioinorganic chemistry, microchemistry and environmental chemistry.

Back to home

Comments (0)

Write a comment

Newest articles

Creating good friction: Pitt engineers aim to make floors less slippery

Swanson School collaborators Kurt Beschorner and Tevis Jacobs will use a NIOSH award to measure floor-surface topography and create a predictive model of friction. Friction is the resistance to motion…

Synthetic tissue can repair hearts, muscles, and vocal cords

Scientists from McGill University develop new biomaterial for wound repair. Combining knowledge of chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering, scientists from McGill University develop a biomaterial tough enough to repair the…

Constraining quantum measurement

The quantum world and our everyday world are very different places. In a publication that appeared as the “Editor’s Suggestion” in Physical Review A this week, UvA physicists Jasper van…

Partners & Sponsors