Dr. Hank Liers, PhD aronia (chokeberry) nrf2 ultimate protectorUltimate Protector+ contains chokeberry (aronia), as well as components from 12+ different fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Each of these ingredients contain substances that may be considered to be polyphenols, antioxidants and Nrf2 activators. In this article, I explore the ingredient chokeberry (aronia) which is a component of SFB® Standardized Fruit Blend from Ethical Naturals, Inc.

Ultimate Protector+ Includes Chokeberry

Ultimate Protector+ Includes Chokeberry

SFB® is a proprietary formula that combines extracts from Grape, Cranberry, Pomegranate, Blueberry, Apple, Mangosteen, Bilberry, Chokeberry, and Goji Berry. It is high in fruit polyphenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins, catechins, proanthocyanins, ellagic acid, xanthines, chlorogenic acid, pterostilbenes, resveratrol, phloridzin, quercetin, zeaxanthin, carotinoids, polysaccharides, quinic acid, and more. With its diverse blend, SFB® offers over 40-50% polyphenols as well as >9,000 ORAC units in a single gram.

Polyphenols, anthocyanins, and other plant elements are powerful ingredients associated with a variety of areas of human health, including healthy aging, healthy glucose metabolism, cardiovascular health, and inflammation management.


Aronia melanocarpa (black chokeberry) has attracted scientific interest due to its deep purple, almost black pigmentation that arises from dense contents of polyphenols, especially anthocyanins. Total polyphenol content is 1752 mg per 100 g in fresh berries, anthocyanin content is 1480 mg per 100 g, and proanthocyanidin concentration is 664 mg per 100 g. These values are among the highest measured in plants to date.

The plant produces these pigments mainly in the leaves and skin of the berries to protect the pulp and seeds from constant exposure to ultraviolet radiation and production of free radicals. By absorbing UV rays in the blue-purple spectrum, leaf and skin pigments filter intense sunlight, serve antioxidant functions and thereby have a role assuring regeneration of the species.

Analysis of polyphenols in chokeberries has identified the following individual chemicals (among hundreds known to exist in the plant kingdom): cyanidin-3-galactoside, cyanidin-3-arabinoside, quercetin-3-glycoside, epicatechin, caffeic acid, delphinidin, petunidin, pelargonidin, peonidin, and malvidin. All these except caffeic acid are members of the flavonoid category of phenolics.

In a standard measurement of antioxidant strength, the oxygen radical absorbance capacity or ORAC, demonstrates aronia to have one of the highest values yet recorded for a fruit — 16,062 micromoles of Trolox Eq. per 100 g. The components contributing to this high measurement were both anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, with the proanthocyanidin level “among the highest in foods,” which may explain their potent, astringent taste.

Below we provide information from several research articles that highlight some of the potential health effects of Aronia (Chokeberry)


Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)
A Review on the Characteristic Components and Potential Health Effects

From: https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/html/10.1055/s-0028-1088306


The intention of this review is to contribute to a better understanding of the potentials of the nutritional contribution of Aronia berries (Aronia melanocarpa). The paper gives a short background to their botanical classification and cultivation practice, going in detail to describe the chemical composition of the berries. The emphasis is laid thereby upon the phenolic constituents. The paper finally gives a short resume of their beneficial effects in biological systems in vitro, in animals, and in humans, thus underlining their medicinal potential.

Antioxidant Effect

Aronia (Chokeberry)

Black Aronia (Chokeberry)

A few reports also describe an antioxidant effect in an animal model, where chokeberry anthocyanins decrease lipid peroxidation and enhance the activity of enzymes which are involved in the antioxidant defense system. One further study noted that the red pigment fraction of chokeberry fruits composed of cyanidin derivatives is a potent scavenger of DPPH radicals in both in vitro and in vivo systems and is able to prevent in a dose-dependent manner gastric mucosal damage that was induced by the subsequent application of ethanol. The authors suggested that one of the mechanisms by which the extract suppresses the development of the gastric mucosal damage is the scavenging of active oxygen by its cyanidin derivatives since the suppression of gastric acid secretion was not observed. An antioxidant effect was also found in humans, where a dietary supplementation with chokeberry juice limits the exercise-induced oxidative damage to red blood cells in rowers.

Inhibition of cancer cell proliferation

Many reports suggest anti-proliferative or protective effects of chokeberries and/or chokeberry extracts against colon cancer on the basis of in vitro studies and in one animal study. An anthocyanin-rich extract from Aronia melanocarpa was shown to inhibit the growth as well as to stimulate apoptosis of human HT-29 colon cancer cells but exerted only little effect on the growth of non-transformed NCM460 colonic cells. Interestingly, the chokeberry extract inhibited the growth to a greater extent than grape and bilberry anthocyanin-rich extracts when inhibition was compared at similar concentrations of monomeric anthocyanin. Another study demonstrated that the exposure to chokeberry juice inhibited Caco-2 cell proliferation by causing G2/M cell cycle arrest. Gene expression analysis revealed that the tumour suppressor carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 1 (CEACAM1), whose expression is known to be reduced in the majority of early adenomas and carcinomas, was up-regulated in the Caco-2 cells following repetitive exposure to dietary levels of chokeberry juice. The anticarcinogenic potential was further supported by data from an animal study using male rats treated with the colon carcinogen azoxymethane. An anthocyanin-rich extract from chokeberry inhibited the formation of the azoxymethane-induced aberrant crypt foci, a tentative marker of dysplasia and malignant transformation, and decreased the colonic epithelial cell proliferation rate as well as the faecal bile acid concentration. The data go in line with recent studies reporting that isolated cyanidin 3-O-glucoside exhibits chemopreventive activities.

Antimutagenic effects

Phenolic compounds isolated from berries of Aronia melanocarpa also exert an antimutagenic activity. Anthocyanins isolated from aronia (chokeberry) markedly inhibited the mutagenic activity of benzo[a]pyrene and 2-aminofluorene in the Ames test as well as in the sister chromatid exchange assay with cultured human lymphocytes. Furthermore, aronia juice intake was shown to inhibit the endogenous generation of N-nitrosamines in rats treated with aminopyrin plus sodium nitrite. In consequence, histopathological changes observed in livers of rats fed with nitrosamine precursors were prevented by co-treatment with aronia juice.

Hepatoprotective effects

In an animal study, anthocyanins from aronia (chokeberry) decreased the toxicity and accumulation of cadmium in the liver and kidney of rats receiving both these components in their diet. It may testify to the possibility of anthocyanins chelating metal ions which in consequence may decrease the damages caused by cadmium. Interestingly, a hepatoprotective effect of aronia juice was also observed in rats after acute exposure to carbon tetrachloride (CCl4). The liver cytotoxicity from CCl4 is dependent upon its metabolism by cytochrome P450 to highly reactive trichloromethyl free radicals. The reaction of the CCl3 radical with oxygen initiates lipid peroxidation which results ultimately in the cell death. Aronia (chokeberry) juice prevented the CCl4-induced increase of lipid peroxidation as measured by the malonodialdehyde content in rat liver and plasma. One might conclude that the ability of anthocyanins and/or other phenolic constituents to scavenge free radicals is mainly responsible for the observed effect.

Cardioprotective effects

Aronia (chokeberry) can positively influence several risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In vitroexperiments demonstrate that the phenolic constituents contribute to the protection and restoration of endothelial cells and consequently to their function. Furthermore anti-platelet effects, as well as vasoactive and vasoprotective properties in porcine coronary arteries were observed. In an experimental model of hyperlipidaemia in rats aronia fruit juice hindered the dietary-induced elevation of plasma total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and plasma lipids. In men with a mild hypercholesterolaemia regular aronia (chokeberry) juice drinking (250 mL per day) for six weeks resulted in a significant decrease in serum total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and trigylceride level whereas the HDL2 cholesterol level was increased. Furthermore a moderate but significant decrease in serum glucose, homocysteine and fibrinogen concentration was noted. The metabolic changes were associated with a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure by a mean of 13 and 7 mm Hg, respectively. A similar hypotensive effect of a flavonoid-rich extract from chokeberry fruits was lately observed in patients after myocardial infarction, treated simultaneously with statins and in patients with diabetes mellitus type II. Other effects studied include enhanced reduction in cardiovascular risk markers in patients after myocardial infarction suggesting a possible clinical use for secondary prevention of isachaemic heart diesease.

Antidiabetes effects

Research of other authors has demonstrated that Aronia melanocarpa anthocyanins might be useful in the prevention and control of diabetes mellitus type II and diabetes-associated complications. In an animal model the administration of aronia (chokeberry) fruit juice to diabetic rats appeared to attenuate hyperglycaemia and hypertriglyceridaemia. In a human intervention study the daily intake of 200 mL aronia (chokeberry) juice over a period of 3 months was effective in lowering fasting glucose levels in patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes. Furthermore aronia (chokeberry) juice showed a beneficial effect on HbA1c-glycosylated haemoglobin, total cholesterol and lipid levels. These findings go in line with reports showing an effect of other procyanidin-rich foods on diabetes. Recent human studies also document that aronia (chokeberry) juice may be useful in in the treatment of obesity disorders.


In conclusion, aronia (chokeberry) (Aronia melanocarpa), a lesser known berry fruit, is one of the richest plant sources of highly interesting phenolic phytochemicals including procyanidins and anthocyanins. The high content as well as the pattern of the phenolic constituents seems to be responsible for the wide range of its potential medicinal and therapeutic effects. Further studies are needed to understand the beneficial effects reported so far also from the mechanistic point of view. However, it seems desirable that the spread and popularity of aronia (chokeberry) food products in the future will increase and expand consumers’ choice for healthy berry fruits.

Protective effect of chokeberry on chemical-induced oxidative stress in rat.

From: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20488852

Hum Exp Toxicol. 2011 Mar;30(3):199-208. doi: 10.1177/0960327110371697. Epub 2010 May 20. Kujawska M1, Ignatowicz E, Ewertowska M, Oszmiański J, Jodynis-Liebert J.


Male Wistar rats were treated with chokeberry juice per os, 10 mL/kg/day, for 28 days and a single intraperitoneal (i.p.) dose of N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA), 150 mg/kg, or carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4)), 2 ml/kg. The level of hepatic microsomal lipid peroxidation, expressed as thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), was increased in animals dosed with NDEA and CCl(4). Juice pretreatment resulted in a significant decrease in TBARS by 53% and 92%, respectively. In rats administered juice alone, 50% decrease in TBARS was noted. The activities of all antioxidant enzymes were decreased in the liver of rats administered either toxicant by 29%-52% as compared to controls. Juice pretreatment resulted in an increase in the activity of catalase, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase by 117%, 56% and 44%, respectively, only in rats challenged with NDEA. Although no response of plasma protein carbonyls to both toxicants was observed, the pretreatment with juice caused a 55% decrease of this parameter in CCl(4)-dosed rats. DNA damage in blood leukocytes induced by either toxicant was slightly reduced, by 24%, in the rats pretreated with juice and administered NDEA. The results of the study showed that pretreatment with chokeberry juice confers some protection against chemical-induced oxidative stress.

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 912769, 8 pages http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/912769

The Involvement of a Polyphenol-Rich Extract of Black Chokeberry in Oxidative Stress on Experimental Arterial Hypertension

From: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3600185/

Manuela Ciocoiu, Laurentiu Badescu, Anca Miron, and Magda Badescu


The aim of this study is to characterize the content of Aronia melanocarpa Elliott (black chokeberry) extract and also to estimate the influence of polyphenolic compounds contained in chokeberries on oxidative stress, on an L-NAME-induced experimental model of arterial hypertension. The rat blood pressure values were recorded using a CODA Noninvasive Blood Pressure System. HPLC/DAD coupled with ElectroSpray Ionization-Mass Spectrometry allowed identification of five phenolic compounds in berries ethanolic extract as follows: chlorogenic acid, kuromanin, rutin, hyperoside, and quercetin. The serous activity of glutathione-peroxidase (GSH-Px) has significantly lower values in the hypertensive (AHT) group as compared to the group protected by polyphenols (AHT + P). The total antioxidant capacity (TAC) values are lower in the AHT group and they are significantly higher in the AHT + P group. All the measured blood pressure components revealed a biostatistically significant blood pressure drop between the AHT group and the AHT + P group. The results reveal the normalization of the reduced glutathion (GSH) concentration as well as a considerable reduction in the malondialdehyde (MDA) serum concentration in the AHT + P group. Ethanolic extract of black chokeberry fruits not only has a potential value as a prophylactic agent but also may function as a nutritional supplement in the management of arterial hypertension.

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 912769, 8 pages http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/912769

Extracts, anthocyanins and procyanidins from Aronia melanocarpa as radical scavengers and enzyme inhibitors.

From: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23459328

Bräunlich M1, Slimestad R, Wangensteen H, Brede C, Malterud KE, Barsett H.


Extracts, subfractions, isolated anthocyanins and isolated procyanidins B2, B5 and C1 from the berries and bark of Aronia melanocarpa were investigated for their antioxidant and enzyme inhibitory activities. Four different bioassays were used, namely scavenging of the diphenylpicrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical, inhibition of 15-lipoxygenase (15-LO), inhibition of xanthine oxidase (XO) and inhibition of α-glucosidase. Among the anthocyanins, cyanidin 3-arabinoside possessed the strongest and cyanidin 3-xyloside the weakest radical scavenging and enzyme inhibitory activity. These effects seem to be influenced by the sugar units linked to the anthocyanidin. Subfractions enriched in procyanidins were found to be potent α-glucosidase inhibitors; they possessed high radical scavenging properties, strong inhibitory activity towards 15-LO and moderate inhibitory activity towards XO. Trimeric procyanidin C1 showed higher activity in the biological assays compared to the dimeric procyanidins B2 and B5. This study suggests that different polyphenolic compounds of A. melanocarpa can have beneficial effects in reducing blood glucose levels due to inhibition of α-glucosidase and may have a potential to alleviate oxidative stress.

Nutrients. 2013 Mar 4;5(3):663-78. doi: 10.3390/nu5030663.

Aronia (Chokeberry) Tea

Aronia (Chokeberry) makes a nice tea.


Chokeberry (Aronia) is an exciting fruit full of important polyphenols, antioxidants and Nrf2 activators that help to make Ultimate Protector+ such an outstanding nutritional supplement. This ingredient is becoming much more well known as research studies identify its many benefits. Recently, I was happy to find that the Knudsen “Just Fruit” brand has introduced “Just Aronia”. Try it!!!



Dr. Hank Liers, PhD biography HPDI integratedhealth formulator scientist physicist black currant extractUltimate Protector contains black currant extract, as well as components from 29 different fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Each of these ingredients contain substances that may be considered to be polyphenols, antioxidants, and Nrf2 activators. In this article I will explore the ingredient black currant extract, which is a component of Anthocomplete™ from Futureceuticals.


AnthoComplete™ (N669) is a specially designed blend of anthocyanins derived from wild bilberry and wild blueberry, açaí, black currant extract, sweet cherry, raspberry, elderberry, blackberry, aronia, black soybean hull extract, and blue corn. Anthocyanins are powerful plant polyphenols associated with a variety of areas of human health, including healthy aging, healthy glucose metabolism, cardiovascular health, and inflammation management.

Carefully designed to maximize the amount of beneficial anthocyanins that can be available in a single source, AnthoComplete™ is a proprietary formula suitable for a wide range of applications.

With its diverse blend, AnthoComplete™ contains a minimum level of 10% anthocyanins, 3,000 ORAC μmole TE/g (typical), and 15% total phenolics (typical).

Owing to the high levels of anthocyanins and vitamin C, two types of important antioxidants, black currants have been shown by scientific research to have many benefits in promoting health and wellness. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient required for the body’s normal functions and the antioxidant polyphenols in black currants (particularly anthocyanins) may help in maintaining cardiovascular health, aging and brain health, urinary tract health, and healthy vision.

Black Currant

Black Currant Berries


Black currants (Ribes nigrum) have been used in a wide variety of foods for many years. They contain a relatively large vitamin C content, more than almost any other commonly consumed fruit. Ongoing research is further showing the benefits of black currants based largely on the polyphenolic content of the fruit and its related products.

Black currants have antioxidant value (oxygen radical absorbance capacity – ORAC) of 7950 Trolex Equivalents per 100 g, which is one of the highest value for fruits after chokeberries, elderberry, and cranberries.

The intensely dark color of blackcurrants is due to its high content of anthocyanin — primarily 3-glucosides and 3-rutinosides of cyanidin and delphinidin. It has been found that these components exhibit powerful hydroxyl radical scavenging abilities and protect endothelial cells in model systems.

In addition, the anthocyanins have been shown to positively influence the α-glucosidase phase of starch digestion providing a reduction of sugar release during starch food digestion.

Also, black currants are a good source of glycosylated flavonols such as quercetin, myrecetin and kaempferol. Scientific studies at the fundamental cellular level have indicated that these compounds can interact with the bodies own innate Antioxidant Response Elements (ARE), such as the transcription factor Nrf2, and more specifically stimulate expression of the detoxification enzymes such as NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase, glutathione S-transferase, and uridine diphosphate-glucuronosyltransferase isoenzymes.


Below, we provide a few relevant scientific studies on the antioxidant effects and potential health benefits of black currant extracts.

Biological activity of blackcurrant extracts (Ribes nigrum L.) in relation to erythrocyte membranes.
From: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24527456


Compounds contained in fruits and leaves of blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum L.) are known as agents acting preventively and therapeutically on the organism. The HPLC analysis showed they are rich in polyphenol anthocyanins in fruits and flavonoids in leaves, that have antioxidant activity and are beneficial for health. The aim of the research was to determine the effect of blackcurrant fruit and leaf extracts on the physical properties of the erythrocyte membranes and assess their antioxidant properties. The effect of the extracts on osmotic resistance, shape of erythrocytes and hemolytic and antioxidant activity of the extracts were examined with spectrophotometric methods. The FTIR investigation showed that extracts modify the erythrocyte membrane and protect it against free radicals induced by UV radiation. The results show that the extracts do not induce hemolysis and even protect erythrocytes against the harmful action of UVC radiation, while slightly strengthening the membrane and inducing echinocytes. The compounds contained in the extracts do not penetrate into the hydrophobic region, but bind to the membrane surface inducing small changes in the packing arrangement of the polar head groups of membrane lipids. The extracts have a high antioxidant activity. Their presence on the surface of the erythrocyte membrane entails protection against free radicals.


Anthocyanin-rich black currant extract suppresses the growth of human hepatocellular carcinoma cells.


Dietary antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, are helpful in the prevention and control of various diseases by counteracting the imbalance of oxidative and antioxidative factors in the living systems. Black currant (Ribes nigrum L., Grossulariaceae) is known to contain high amounts of anthocyanins (250 mg/100 g fresh fruit). Black currant fruits have been used in Asian and European traditional medicine for the treatment of a variety of diseases. Black currant extract has recently been found to be the second most effective amongst nine different berry extracts studied for their free radical scavenging activity. Constituents present in black currant juice have been found to exert a number of health-promoting effects, including immunomodulatory, antimicrobial and antiinflammatory actions, inhibition of low-density lipoprotein, and reduction of cardiovascular diseases. Although antioxidant and antiinflammatory effects of black currant juice could be of value in preventing and treating oxidative stress- and inflammation-driven cancers, no experimental evidence is available to now. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the potential antiproliferative effects of black currant fruit skin extract against HepG2 human liver cancer cells. The aqueous extract yielded an anthocyanin-rich fraction with cyanidin-3-O-rutinoside as one of the major anthocyanins. This fraction exhibited a potent cytotoxic effect on HepG2 cells and this effect was more pronounced than that of delphinidin and cyanidin, two major aglycones of anthocyanins present in black currant. Our results indicate, for the first time, that black currant skin containing an anthocyanin-rich fraction inhibits the proliferation of liver cancer cells, possibly due to additive as well as synergistic effects. This product could be useful in the prevention and treatment of human hepatocellular carcinoma.


Black currant anthocyanins abrogate oxidative stress through Nrf2-mediated antioxidant mechanisms in a rat model of hepatocellular carcinoma.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), considered to be one of the most lethal cancers with almost > 1 million deaths reported annually worldwide, remains a devastating disease with no known effective cure. Hence, chemopreventive strategies come into play, offering an effective and safe mode of treatment, ideal to ward off potential cancer risks and mortality. A major predisposing condition, pertinent to the development and progression of HCC is oxidative stress. We previously reported a striking chemopreventive effect of anthocyanin-rich black currant skin extract (BCSE) against diethylnitrosamine (DENA)-initiated hepatocarcinogenesis in rats. The current study aims to elucidate the underlying antioxidant mechanisms of black currant anthocyanins implicated in the previously observed chemopreventive effects against experimental hepatocarcinogenesis. Dietary BCSE (100 and 500 mg/kg) administered four weeks before and 18 weeks after DENA challenge decreased abnormal lipid peroxidation, protein oxidation, and expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and 3-nitrotyrosine (3-NT) in a dose-responsive fashion. Mechanistic studies revealed that BCSE upregulated the gene expression of a number of hepatic antioxidant and carcinogen detoxifying enzymes, such as NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase, glutathione S-transferase, and uridine diphosphate-glucuronosyltransferase isoenzymes, in DENA-initiated animals. Protein and mRNA expressions of nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) were substantially elevated with BCSE treatment, providing a direct evidence of a coordinated activation of the Nrf2-regulated antioxidant pathway, which led to the upregulation of a variety of housekeeping genes. The results of our study provide substantial evidence that black currant bioactive anthocyanins exert chemopreventive actions against DENA-inflicted hepatocarcinogenesis by attenuating oxidative stress through activation of Nrf2 signaling pathway.


Black currant phytoconstituents exert chemoprevention of diethylnitrosamine-initiated hepatocarcinogenesis by suppression of the inflammatory response.

From: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22213170


Black currant fruits containing high amounts of anthocyanins are known to possess potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. We have previously reported that anthocyanin-rich black currant skin extract (BCSE) inhibits diethylnitrosamine (DENA)-initiated hepatocarcinogenesis in rats although the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Our present study investigates the anti-inflammatory mechanisms of BCSE during DENA rat liver carcinogenesis. Dietary BCSE (100 or 500 mg/kg) treatment for 22 wk afforded a striking inhibition of DENA-induced hepatic gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase-positive preneoplastic foci in a dose-responsive fashion. There was a significant increase in hepatic expression of heat shock proteins (HSP70 and HSP90), cyclooxygenase-2, and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) in DENA-exposed rat livers. Dietary BCSE dose-dependently abrogated all these elevated inflammatory markers. The possible cardiotoxicity of BCSE was assessed by monitoring cardiac functions using transthoracic echocardiography. BCSE-mediated anti-inflammatory effects during rat liver carcinogenesis have been achieved without any cardiotoxicity. Our results provide convincing evidence, for the very first time, that suppression of the inflammatory cascade through modulation of the NF-κB signaling pathway could be implicated, at least in part, in the chemopreventive effects of black currant bioactive phytoconstituents against experimental hepatocarcinogenesis. These results coupled with an excellent safety profile of BCSE support the development of black currant phytochemicals for the chemoprevention of inflammation-driven hepatocellular cancer.


Anthocyanin-rich black currant (Ribes nigrum L.) extract affords chemoprevention against diethylnitrosamine-induced hepatocellular carcinogenesis in rats.


Anthocyanins are known to possess potent anticarcinogenic properties against several cancers thus demonstrating potential for cancer prevention. Black currant (Ribes nigrum L., Grossulariaceae) fruits have a high anthocyanin content. This “superfruit” is known to possess various pharmacological effects including alleviation of chronic oxidative stress and inflammation. In contrast to a large volume of literature on the health benefits of black currant, limited evidence on antitumor effects of black currant exists with virtually no data on the prevention of experimental carcinogenesis. In the current study, we have investigated the chemopreventive effects of an anthocyanin-rich black currant skin extract (BCSE) utilizing our well-characterized model of rat liver carcinogenesis. Initiation of hepatocarcinogenesis was done by intraperitoneal injection of diethylnitrosamine (DENA) followed by promotion with phenobarbital. The rats were exposed to dietary BCSE for 4 weeks prior to initiation, and the treatment was continued for 22 consecutive weeks. BCSE dose-dependently decreased the incidence, total number, multiplicity, size and volume of preneoplastic hepatic nodules. The antihepatocarcinogenic effect of BCSE was confirmed by histopathological examination of liver sections. Immunohistochemical analysis of proliferating cell nuclear antigen and DNA fragmentation revealed BCSE-mediated inhibition of abnormal cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis in DENA-induced rat liver tumorigenesis respectively. Mechanistic studies revealed that BCSE-mediated proapototic signal during experimental hepatocarcinogenesis may be propagated via the up-regulation of Bax and down-regulation of Bcl-2 expression at the translational level. These results along with a safety profile of BCSE encourage the development of black currant bioactive constituents as chemopreventive agents for human liver cancer.


Purified Anthocyanins from Bilberry and Black Currant Attenuate Hepatic Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Steatohepatitis in Mice with Methionine and Choline Deficiency


Abstract Image

The berries of bilberry and black currant are a rich source of anthocyanins, which are thought to have favorable effects on nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). This study was designed to examine whether purified anthocyanins from bilberry and black currant are able to limit the disorders related to NASH induced by a methionine-choline-deficient (MCD) diet in mice. The results showed that treatment with anthocyanins not only alleviated inflammation, oxidative stress, steatosis, and even fibrosis but also improved depletion of mitochondrial content and damage of mitochondrial biogenesis and electron transfer chain developed concomitantly in the liver of mice fed the MCD diet. Furthermore, anthocyanins treatment promoted activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator-1α (PGC-1α). These data provide evidence that anthocyanins possess significant protective effects against NASH and mitochondrial defects in response to a MCD diet, with a mechanism maybe through affecting the AMPK/PGC-1α signaling pathways.


Black currants are an important fruit full of polyphenols, anthocyanins, antioxidants, and Nrf2 activators that help to make Ultimate Protector such an outstanding nutritional supplement.



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