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Phytother Res. 2011 Mar;25(3):402-7. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3276. Epub 2010 Aug 23.

Rosemary extracts improve flow-mediated dilatation of the brachial artery and plasma PAI-1 activity in healthy young volunteers.

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Department of Medical Research, University Medical Centre Maribor, Maribor, Slovenia.


Polyphenol antioxidants decrease the risk of atherosclerosis. The study aimed to evaluate prospectively in healthy young participants the effect of oral rosemary extracts (RE), consisting of diphenols, upon endothelial dysfunction (ED), preceding structural atherosclerosis. Nineteen healthy young volunteers were studied prospectively, who received oral RE (77.7 mg) for 21 days, consisting of active substances carnosol (0.97 mg), carnosic (8.60 mg) and rosmarinic acid (10.30 mg). Before and after RE treatment, the study evaluated fasting serum levels of plasminogen-activator-inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1), inter-cellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPX), fibrinogen, high-sensitivity capsular reactive protein (hs-CRP), tumor-necrosis factor α (TNF-α), the lipid profile and ED, characterized as flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) in the brachial artery of < 4.5%, estimated by ultrasound measurements. After 21 days, any side effects were registered, the mean FMD increased nonsignificantly (6.51 ± 5.96% vs 7.78 ± 4.56%, p = 0.546) and ED decreased significantly (66.6% vs 16.6%, p = 0.040). Among the serum markers, only the mean PAI-1 level decreased significantly (4.25 ± 1.46 U/mL vs 3.0 ± 0.61 U/mL, p = 0.012) after 21-day RE supplementation. It is concluded that oral RE supplementation has the potential to improve serum PAI-1 activity and ED in young and healthy individuals.

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