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Effects of elderberry juice on fasting and postprandial serum lipids and low-density lipoprotein oxidation in healthy volunteers: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study


Background: In a recent pilot study, the intake of elderberry juice resulted in a significant decrease in serum cholesterol concentrations and an increase in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) stability. This study was designed to verify the preliminary results.

Objective: We investigated the impact of elderberry juice on cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations as well as antioxidant status in a cohort of young volunteers.

Design: Study A: The randomized, placebo-controlled trial for studying the effect of anthocyanes on lipid and antioxidant status, 34 subjects took capsules with 400 mg spray-dried powder containing 10% anthocyanes t.i.d. equivalent to 5 ml elderberry juice for 2 weeks. A subgroup of 14 subjects continued for an additional week to test for resistance to oxidation of LDL. Study B: To investigate the short-term effects on serum lipid concentrations, six subjects took a single dose of 50 ml of elderberry juice (equivalent to 10 capsules) along with a high-fat breakfast.

Results: In the placebo-controlled study, there was only a small, statistically not significant change in cholesterol concentrations in the elderberry group (from 199 to 190 mg/dl) compared to the placebo group (from 192 to 196 mg/dl). The resistance to copper-induced oxidation of LDL did not change within 3 weeks. In the single-dose experiment increases in postprandial triglyceride concentrations were not significantly different when the six subjects were investigated with and without elderberry juice.

Conclusions: Elderberry spray-dried extract at a low dose exerts a minor effect on serum lipids and antioxidative capacity. Higher, but nutritionally relevant doses might significantly reduce postprandial serum lipids.

Sponsorship: This study was supported by the Austrian Industrial Research Fund (FFF, Project Nr. 802230) and the Steirische Beerenfrost GmbH.

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We thank Andrea Hillebrand for excellent technical assistance.

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Guarantor: M Murkovic

Contributors: M Murkovic, B Winkelhofer-Roob, P Abuja, H Toplak and A Bergmann conceived and designed the study, prepared the manuscript and were responsible for method development and data evaluation. A Zirngast and U Adam performed the analyses and helped to prepare the report. The sponsors of the study had no role in the study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation or writing of the report.

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Correspondence to M Murkovic.

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Murkovic, M., Abuja, P., Bergmann, A. et al. Effects of elderberry juice on fasting and postprandial serum lipids and low-density lipoprotein oxidation in healthy volunteers: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Eur J Clin Nutr 58, 244–249 (2004).

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  • elderberry
  • anthocyanes
  • lipids
  • antioxidants
  • LDL
  • oxidation
  • postprandial hyperlipidemia

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