Supplementation with anthocyanins and bromelain could be an effective nutritional therapy for muscle oxygenation and endothelial function, according to a new clinical trial. Published in the British Journal of Nutrition (DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114520002548), results show supplementation may have beneficial effects for cardiovascular function in young adults.
Anthocyanins—natural substances with variable phenolic structures in fruits and vegetables—can mediate endothelium-dependent vasodilation, support healthy blood pressure (BP), enhance skeletal muscle oxygenation and post-exercise recovery, and protect against inflammation. Furthermore, bromelain, a protease enzyme, also possesses anti-inflammatory properties and cardiovascular benefits including supporting endothelial function. Indeed, researchers at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Vascular Research Lab showed that combined, anthocyanins and bromelains demonstrated benefits to cardiac function and blood pressure. In fact, results suggest that BE supplementation may halve future cardiovascular risks. ‘’In addition to the cardiovascular benefits, the improvements in oxygen utility capacity may be beneficial for those who are performing aerobic exercise,’ says Elizabeth Pekas, one of the study’s lead authors.
In the study, 18 subjects (1:1 male:female ratio), 19 to 35 years of age, received a single dose of BE or placebo in a randomised crossover study design with a 14-day washout period. BE supplementation (2 capsules) included anthocyanin (68 mg) sourced from hawthorn berry extract and tart cherry powder, and bromelain (400 mg) extracted from immature pineapple and stems. There were no significant differences in results based on gender.
When considering commercial application of the findings, Pekas comments: “Following BE supplement intake (1 dose) there are benefits for vascular function and hemodynamics as well skeletal muscle oxygen utility capacity for a young and healthy population. Given that this was one acute dose, we cannot say for certain about chronic intake. More studies about chronic supplementation are needed before we may draw any conclusions about potential long-term impacts on cardiovascular health with BE supplement intake.”
She added: ‘’Nutraceutical companies should consider working closely with labs that are well-versed and can perform clinical research studies. This may set them up for the best possible success for introducing other BE (combined anthocyanins and bromelain) supplements. This will help with determining the most clinically effective dose for specific populations. … Results revealed for the first time that this combined anthocyanin and bromelain antioxidant supplement may be beneficial for improving vascular endothelial function, blood pressure, blood antioxidant status, and oxygen utility capacity. Therefore, it may be an ideal supplement to help support vascular health in healthy populations. More investigation is needed regarding the clinical benefits of this supplement in other populations, such as those with cardiovascular diseases.’’