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Is there anything that British Blackcurrants can’t do? British Blackcurrants are known to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, fight cancer, UTI infections and MRSA, but scientists have discovered that if eaten on a regular basis the extra special compounds found in each tiny blackcurrant can help prevent the occurrence of cardiovascular disease and maintain good heart health.

It’s the special antioxidants called anthocyanins, which give blackcurrants their distinctive dark colour and could reduce the hardening of arteries - a condition known as atherosclerosis. It is known from studies that anthocyanins relax arteries and increase blood flow around the body whilst actively helping to maintain a healthy balance of cholesterol in the body. British blackcurrants are grown and bred especially for their deep colour, which makes them extra good for you.

Derek Stewart, from the Scottish Crop Research Institute says: “The link between the consumption of fruit, such as blackcurrants, and a healthier heart or reduced incidence of heart disease is gaining scientific support at an almost daily rate. SCRI, in collaboration with The University of Dundee Medical School, is at the forefront of this research and has recently been funded to study the impact of the natural compounds in blackcurrants on cardiovascular disease. The intervention study, involving ~80 volunteers, hopes to establish the beneficial effect of blackcurrant consumption on markers of cardiovascular disease and determine which natural compounds are responsible for these effects”

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the main causes of premature death in the UK (death before the age of 75). 32% of premature deaths in men and 24% of premature deaths in women are from CVD. CVD caused just under 60,000 premature deaths in the UK in 2004. (Source: British Heart Foundation)

By eating blackcurrants or drinking blackcurrant juice as part of a healthy diet is an easy, natural way to improve your antioxidant and anthocyanins intake and maintain a healthy heart, ward off infections and a fine way to load the body with the wonder compounds found in blackcurrants.

The Blackcurrant Foundation

The Blackcurrant Foundation has been established by British growers and has close links with partners from all over Britain and Ireland, to raise awareness of the numerous health benefits of blackcurrants from the British Isles.

Blackcurrant Foundation members grow 2,000 hectares of blackcurrants across the British Isles which produces a crop of approximately 14,000 tonnes of fruit every year during the harvest season in July and August.

At present there are 50 blackcurrant growers in Great Britain compared to 440 in 1973.

For more information on British blackcurrants or the Blackcurrant Foundation, visit

For further information or photography, please contact:

Sarah Winthrop/Lucy Tinley
Cirkle Communications
Tel: 01494 680 727
Fax: 01494 675 380

Notes to editor:

See below examples of scientific studies to support findings that compounds found in British Blackcurrants can actively maintain good cardiovascular health.

1. Nakamura, Y., Matsumoto, H., Todoki, K. (2002) Endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation induced by black currant concentrate in rat thoracic aorta. Japanese Journal of Pharmacology 89(1) 29-35. Conclusion - Blackcurrant concentrate enhanced the release of nitric oxide, a chemical in the body known to regulate the relaxation of arteries. The implications are that blackcurrant consumption will be accompanied a reduced constriction of the arteries and a corresponding less strenuous blood flow.

2. Iwasaki-Kurashige K., Loyaga-Rendon. R.Y., Matsumoto, H., Tokunaga, T., Azuma, H. (2006) Possible mediators involved in decreasing peripheral vascular resistance with blackcurrant concentrate (BC) in hind-limb perfusion model of the rat. Vascul Pharmacol. 44(4), 215-223. Conclusion – Animal studies showed that blackcurrant concentrate consumption , predominantly delphinidin the major anthocyanin, were accompanies with arterial relaxation and a reduction in blood pressure. Hypertension (high blood pressure) affect 1 in 5 people and dietary measures to address in the long term this would be ground breaking and reduce national treatment costs

3. Martin, S., Favot, L., Matz, R., Lugnier, C., Andriantsitohaina, R. (2003) Delphinidin inhibits endothelial cell proliferation and cell cycle progression through a transient activation of ERK-1/-2. Biochemical Pharmacology 65, 669-675. Conclusion – Cell studies with delphinidin, the major anthocyanin in blackcurrant, showed that it exhibited antiproliferative with arterial cells which may be of importance in preventing both plaque development and stability in atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries.

4. Serrainoa, I., Dugoa, L., Dugob, P., Mondelloc, L., Mazzond, E., Dugoc, G., Caputia, A., Cuzzocreaa, S. (2003) Protective effects of cyanidin-3-O-glucoside from blackberry extract against peroxynitrite-induced endothelial dysfunction and vascular failure. Life Sciences 73, 1097-1114. Conclusion – Anthocyanins were shown to relive oxidative stress and increase relaxation in arterial model which can be equated to protection against vascular failure

5. Bell DR, Gochenaur K. (2006) Direct vasoactive and vasoprotective properties of anthocyanin-rich extracts.J Appl Physiol. 100, 1164-70. Conclusion - Studies with arteries have shown that anthocyanins reduce oxidative stress and increase relaxation in a dose dependent manner.

6. Rechner AR, Kroner C. (2005) Anthocyanins and colonic metabolites of dietary polyphenols inhibit platelet function. Thromb Res. 116, 327-34 Conclusion - Phenolics compounds like those in blackcurrant, and the metabolites of these following digestion in the colon, exhibited anti-thrombotic (anti-clotting) properties, suggesting themselves as well as their dietary sources and precursors as potential cardiovascular health promoters.

7. Mendes, A., Desgranges, C., Cheze, C., Vercauteren, J., Freslon, J.L. (2003) Vasorelaxant effects of grape polyphenols in rat isolated aorta. Possible involvement of a purinergic pathway. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 17, 673-81. Conclusion – Further corroborative evidence that anthocyanins induce a relaxing effect in arteries , which is related to the integrity of the endothelium (the interface between the blood and the vessel wall) and the synthesis and release of nitric oxide (NO).

8. Kowalczyk, E., Kopff, A., Niedworok, J., Kopff, M., Jankowski, A. (2002 Anthocyanins--an adjunct to cardiovascular therapy? Kardiol Pol. 57, 332-6. Conclusion – Animal studies were use to show that anthocyanins consumption was directly related to a reduction in lipid peroxidation, one of the initial steps associated with atherosclerosis.

9. Martin, S., Giannone, G., Andriantsitohaina, R., Martinez, M.C. (2003) Delphinidin, an active compound of red wine, inhibits endothelial cell apoptosis via nitric oxide pathway and regulation of calcium homeostasis.. Br J Pharmacol. 139, 1095-102. Conclusion – The major anthocyanin in blackcurrant, Delphinidin, was shown to exhibit a protective effect against endothelial cell apoptosis (cell death) thereby maintaining general arterial health.

10. Xia, M., Hou, M., Zhu, H., Ma, J., Tang, Z., Wang, Q., Li, Y., Chi, D., Yu, X., Zhao, T., Han, P., Xia, X., Ling, W. (2005) Anthocyanins induce cholesterol efflux from mouse peritoneal macrophages: the role of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor -liver X receptor. J Biol Chem. 280, 36792-801. Conclusion – Animal studies showed that anthocyanin consumption was accompanied by a cholesterol efflux from mouse macrophage-derived foam cells (fatty cell lining arteries) suggesting a restorative effect for arteries.

11. Stein, J.H., Keevil, J.G., Wiebe, D.A., Aeschlimann, S., Folts, J.D. Purple grape juice improves endothelial function and reduces the susceptibility of LDL cholesterol to oxidation in patients with coronary artery disease. Circulation 100, 1050-1055. Conclusion - An intervention study with purple grape juice suggested that the anthocyanins in the juice gave significant improvements in arterial relaxation and a ruction in the susceptibility to (increased protection from ) cholesterol oxidation, a common sign in heart disease.

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