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Dr. Hank Liers, PhD aronia (chokeberry) nrf2 ultimate protectorUltimate Protector contains aronia (chokeberry), 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 aronia (chokeberry) which is a component of Anthocomplete® from Futureceuticals.

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 micro moles 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 vitro experiments 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.


Aronia (Chokeberry) Tea

Aronia (Chokeberry) makes a nice tea.

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


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,1 Laurentiu Badescu,2 Anca Miron,3 and Magda Badescu1


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

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 RWangensteen HBrede CMalterud KEBarsett 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) 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!!!





Hank Liers, PhD

Hank Liers, PhD

Dr. Hank Liers is the CEO and chief product formulator for Health Products Distributors, Inc. He has been studying and using natural means of achieving health since 1984. Dr. Liers received his PhD in physics in 1969 from the University of Minnesota and has applied his analytical abilities to learning and applying a scientific approach to nutrition.

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