New Research Supports Concord Grape Juice and Healthy
Laboratory Study Finds Concord Grape Juice Outperforms Other Fruit Juices in Support of Blood Vessel Health
October 1, 2014
In addition to a healthy lifestyle, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help support a healthy heart. Fruits in particular contain a variety of health-promoting plant nutrients (or polyphenols) that can play a role in cardiovascular health, yet not all fruits contain the same types of polyphenols and not all polyphenols have the same effect on the body.
A new study, directed by Dr. Valérie Schini-Kerth at the Université de Strasbourg, shows that the type of polyphenol, not just the amount, is central to the effect on promoting blood vessel relaxation,1 which is associated with healthy circulation and cardiovascular wellbeing. Building off her previous work in this area,2 Schini-Kerth and colleagues sampled a variety of commercially-available fruit juices to determine their ability to induce endothelium-dependent relaxation in a laboratory model.1
Of the 51 fruit juice products examined, three products: a blackcurrant juice, a red juice blend, and specifically Welch’s Concord grape juice had the most potent positive effect on blood vessel health. While these three products also had the highest polyphenol content of the juices, the data suggest that it’s not only the polyphenol concentration that correlates to the relaxation effect, but also the types of polyphenols present. Additionally, the sugar concentration did not correlate with the blood vessel relaxation, which may suggest that sugars do not alter the beneficial effects of polyphenols in fruit juice.
This study builds on the author’s earlier work showing that Concord grape juice has positive effects on blood vessel health3,4 and the nearly twenty years of research suggesting that this juice can support a healthy heart. In fact, the authors note that in the case of Concord grape juice, research has shown an improved endothelial function5,6 and a benefit on both systolic and diastolic blood pressure,7 in certain at-risk people who drink Concord grape juice.
According to the authors: “The present findings are in good agreement with our previous work and indicate that the fruit-derived juices with the largest benefit on vascular activity are predominantly those from berries, including the Concord grape.”
1Auger C, Pollet B, Arnold C, Marx C and Schini-Kerth VB. Great Heterogeneity of Commercial Fruit Juices to Induce Endothelium-Dependent Relaxations in Isolated Porcine Coronary Arteries: Role of the Phenolic Content and Composition. J Med Food. 2014. Epub ahead of print. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25009961
2Auger C, Kim JH, Trinh S, Chataigneau T, Popken AM, Schini-Kerth VB. Fruit juice-induced endothelium-dependent relaxations in isolated porcine coronary arteries: evaluation of different fruit juices and purees and optimization of a red fruit juice blend. Food Funct. 2011. 2(5):245–250.
3Alhosin M, Anselm E, Rashid S, Kim JH, Madeira SV, Bronner C and Schini-Kerth VB. Redox-Sensitive Up-Regulation of eNOS by Purple Grape Juice in Endothelial Cells: Role of PI3-Kinase/Akt, p38 MAPK, JNK, FoxO1 and FoxO3a. PLoS ONE. 2013. 8(3):e57883.
4Anselm E, Chataigneau M, Ndiaye M, Chataigneau T and Schini-Kerth VB. Grape juice causes endothelium-dependent relaxation via a redox-sensitive Src- and Akt-dependent activation of eNOS. Cardiovasc Res. 2007. 73(2):404-413.
5Chou EJ, Keevil JG, Aeschlimann S, Wiebe DA, Folts JD and Stein JH. Effect of ingestion of purple grape juice on endothelial function in patients with coronary heart disease. Am J Cardiol. 2001.88(5):553-555.
6Stein JH, Keevil JG, Wiebe DA, Aeschlimann S and Folts JD. Purple grape juice improves endothelial function and reduces the susceptibility of LDL cholesterol to oxidation in patients with coronary artery disease. Circulation. 1999. 100(10):1050-1055.
7Park YK, Kim J-S and Kang M-H. Concord grape juice supplementation reduces blood pressure in Korean hypertensive men: double-blind, placebo controlled intervention trial. Biofactors. 2004. 22(1-4):145-147.
Grape Research Overview
For nearly 20 years, researchers have been exploring an important mix of plant nutrients – polyphenols – found in Concord grapes and the effects they have on the body, including possible benefits in supporting cardiovascular health. In addition, emerging research is being conducted to determine whether Concord grapes play a role in supporting a healthy mind and immune system. See the research.