The long-term consumption of blackcurrant has shown anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic actions in hypertensive subjects. The berry has been proven to help slash the risk of heart attacks, stroke and heart failure. New research show it prevents other metabolic dysfunctions induced by diets high in fat and cholesterol triggering the same mechanism as statin drugs.
The fruits, leaves and buds of the black currant have multiple effects in treating and preventing various diseases. Because it contains vitamin C, the black currant is used in treating cardiovascular diseases, preventing cardiac insufficiency and vascular accidents, it increases the resistance of fragile sanguine capillaries, reduces arterial hypertension. Also, it intensifies weak peripheral circulation caused by menopause, cleans the blood of toxins, wastes and cholesterol.
Lastly, it helps people stay more alert, reduce mental fatigue and work with greater accuracy while under significant mental stress
The new results, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, found the extract reduced the percentage of mice with diet-induced severe steatosis (fatty liver), hypercholesterolaemia and hyperglycaemia.
Total plasma cholesterol and glucose levels were significantly lower in the blackcurrant group compared to the control, yet plasma triglyceride (TAG) level were not significantly different.
The researchers from the University of Connecticut in the US gave 24 mice either a control diet high in cholesterol (0.25%) and fat (15%) or the same diet supplemented with blackcurrant extract.
The extract contained 25% anthocyanins and 40% polyphenols and the dose equated to a daily human consumption of about 540 mg of the extract and 135 mg anthocyanins.
The researchers said such an ingredient could help reduce disease risk since dyslipidaemia and hyperglycaemia were likely to contribute to metabolic diseases. The danger of obesity, they said, lay not just in the condition itself but the progression to things like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Extract and expressions
They found the expression of the PCSK9 (proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9) was significantly decreased in the livers of mice fed the blackcurrant extract. This enzyme played a role in the degradation of the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor.
“Induction of LDL receptor expression and activity in the liver is one of the preventive/therapeutic goals to lower circulating cholesterol,” the researchers wrote.
Popular cholesterol-lowering drugs statins work by indirectly increasing LDLR expression.
They said another important finding was the impact the supplementation had on the enhancement of energy use in the skeletal muscle, which could explain the reduction of fasting glucose and liver steatosis.
Mae Chan holds degrees in both physiology and nutritional sciences. She is also blogger and and technology enthusiast with a passion for disseminating information about health.