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The Effects of Polyphenol Consumption on Endothelial Function

Improving endothelial function may be the primary mechanism responsible for many improvements in health and wellness.

The endothelium is the inner most lining of the circulatory system. One of the primary responsibilities of the endothelium is to regulate blood flow by secretion of vasodilating and vasoconstricting enzymes. Improving endothelial function may be the primary mechanism responsible for many improvements in health and wellness. In fact, recent meta-analysis has shown that a one percent improvement in endothelial function as measure by Flow Mediated Dilation (FMD) improves blood flow and can reduce cardiovascular risk factors by 8 to 12 percent. (Raz et al, 2015; Matsuzawa et al, 2015)

This forum co-presented by Dr Pascale Fança-Berthon and Dan Souza will review the latest literature on polyphenol rich botanical ingredients effects on blood flow. They will also explore specific health benefits that improvements in blood flow can deliver which include:


•             Reduction of cardiovascular risk factors

•             Improvements in cognition

•             Improvements in sports performance and recovery

•             Improvements in skin health


As a springboard for this discussion the team will discuss a systematic review published by Fairlie-Jones et al. in Nutrients (2017). This meta-analysis found anthocyanin consumption may improve endothelial function as measured by FMD. This analysis illustrates a wide range of polyphenol containing botanicals including blueberry, cranberry and many others may improve vascular health after acute or chronic consumption. The inter-individual variability in biological response to consumption regarding cardiometabolic health outcomes will be also discussed. Indeed, some of the main contributing factors are: age, sex, specific genetic polymorphisms or physiological status but also bioavailability of bioactives, metabolism of bioactives and microbiome-related differences (enterotypes, i.e. classification of microbial communities and metabotypes, i.e. functionality differences in microbiota).

The team will also present the latest findings from a double-blind placebo controlled randomised clinical trial comparing the effects of Aronia-based powders and extracts on endothelial function (manuscript in process). In this recent work, effects on endothelial function of a polyphenol rich aronia (black chokeberry) extract were compared to the effects of full spectrum aronia powder with lower levels of polyphenols. This data compares the interventions to placebo after acute, 12 weeks and acute on chronic consumption.  Finally, they will discuss the role of the recent EFSA article 13.5 health claim on cocoa flavanols in helping to raise awareness of the importance of improving endothelial function and healthy blood flow.

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