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Adv Nutr. 2017 Sep 15;8(5):684-693. doi: 10.3945/an.116.014852. Print 2017 Sep.

Effects of Anthocyanins on Cardiometabolic Health: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.

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Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Food, Nutrition and Health, Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Sun Yet-Sen University, Guangzhou, China.
Department of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Sun Yet-Sen University, Guangzhou, China.


Numerous clinical trials have examined the role of anthocyanins on cardiometabolic health, but their effects have not been quantitatively synthesized and systematically evaluated. The aim of our study was to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) assessing the effects of anthocyanins on glycemic regulation and lipid profiles in both healthy populations and those with cardiometabolic diseases. The MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane database, OVID EBM Reviews, and databases were searched until February 2017. RCTs with a duration of ≥2 wk that evaluated the effects of anthocyanins on glycemic control, insulin sensitivity, and lipids as either primary or secondary outcomes were included. The Cochrane Risk of Bias tool was used to assess the study quality. Standardized mean differences (SMDs) were determined by random-effects models. Meta-regression, sensitivity, and subgroup analyses were performed to explore the influence of covariates on the overall effects. Thirty-two RCTs (1491 participants) were eligible for meta-analysis. Anthocyanins significantly reduced fasting glucose (SMD: -0.31; 95% CI: -0.59, -0.04; I2 = 80.7%), 2-h postprandial glucose (SMD: -0.82; 95% CI: -1.49, -0.15; I2 = 77.7), glycated hemoglobin (SMD: -0.65; 95% CI: -1.00, -0.29; I2 = 72.7%), total cholesterol (SMD: -0.33; 95% CI: -0.62, -0.03; I2 = 86.9%), and LDL (SMD: -0.35; 95% CI: -0.66, -0.05; I2 = 85.2%). Sensitivity analyses showed that the overall effects remained similar by excluding the trials with a high or unclear risk of bias. The significant improvements in glycemic control and lipids support the benefits of anthocyanins in the prevention and management of cardiometabolic disease. Further well-designed RCTs are needed to evaluate the long-term effects of anthocyanins on metabolic profiles and to explore the optimal formula and dosage. The protocol for this review was registered at as CRD42016033210.


anthocyanins; cardiovascular disease; meta-analysis; randomized controlled trial; type 2 diabetes

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