Do you wrap yourself up in sweaters while the rest of the world is still walking around in t-shirts? Then you probably have what traditional Asian healers call ‘a cold constitution’. In this case supplementation with aronia berries might help you, according to researchers at Kyoto Prefectural University in Japan. And, we dare to add, the same aronia berries will make your slimming supplements more effective.
The – not particularly tasty – dried berries of Aronia melanocarpa can be found in health food shops and the ‘superfood’ shelves in greengrocers. If you know how high aronia’s ORAC value is, then you’ll understand why. The higher a food’s ORAC, the greater its antioxidant effect, in test tubes.
The Japanese researchers gave 11 women, all of whom complained of feeling the cold, 150 mg Aronia extract every day for four weeks. The researchers made the extracts themselves, using water and ethanol as bases.
Before and after supplementation the researchers asked the women to score how cold/warm they felt and the stiffness in their limbs. The figure below shows that supplementation reduced feelings of cold in the subjects’ hands, feet and hips by a statistically significant amount.
Aronia supplementation also reduced stiffness in the shoulders, but the effect was not statistically significant.
The researchers placed the women in a cool room and measured the blood supply that reached the skin and their skin temperature. The figures below show that aronia brought the skin temperature back faster to its original level.
Aronia supplementation increased the concentration of the pep-hormone noradrenalin in the subjects’ blood, and the researchers suspect that this explains partly how aronia works. Noradrenalin helps cells generate heat.
“Takikawa et al. [J Nutr. 2010 Mar;140(3):527-33.] reported that an anthocyanin, cyanidin 3-glucoside, enhances adiponectin secretion and upregulates the expression of thermogenesis-related proteins, such as uncoupling proteins, in isolated rat adipocytes”, the researchers speculate. “Cyanidin 3-glucoside also activates adenosine monophosphate (AMP)-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in skeletal muscle and liver.”
“In addition to the direct effect of anthocyanins on improving metabolism in metabolic organs, circulating levels of catecholamine may be an inducer of thermogenesis in these organs.”
“Aronia has been shown to attenuate exercise-induced oxidative damage associated with an improvement in exercise tolerance and other physiological parameters.” [Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2005 Feb;15(1):48-58.]
Anthocyanin-rich Aronia melanocarpa extract improves body temperature maintenance in healthy women with a cold constitution.
Specific anthocyanin-rich dietary factors have been shown to improve metabolic functions associated with thermogenesis in animal studies. Aronia melanocarpa, commonly known as wild chokeberry, contains a high level of anthocyanin that would be expected to maintain body temperature through thermogenesis. We here investigated the effects of Aronia melanocarpa extracts on body temperature and peripheral blood flow in healthy women with a cold constitution.
A pre/post comparison trial was performed in 11 women with a cold constitution, who were taking Aronia melanocarpa extracts (150 mg/day) for 4 weeks. Physiological and biochemical parameters, along with psychological tests were examined.
The subjects’ body surface temperature was significantly higher in the post-trial than in the pre-trial. In psychological tests, factors related to cold were significantly improved by Aronia intake. On the other hand, peripheral blood flow was not affected by Aronia supplementation. Plasma noradrenalin level was significantly elevated by Aronia intake, and subjects with a higher level of 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine in the pre-trial showed decreased levels in the post-trial.
These data suggest that dietary Aronia melanocarpa extract improves the maintenance of body temperature in healthy women with a cold constitution, which may be mediated by noradrenalin and oxidative stress levels.
PMID: 24303339 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC3843504