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Effects of sea buckthorn berries on infections and inflammation: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial



To study the effect of sea buckthorn berries on the number and duration of common cold (CC) infections. As secondary objectives the effects on digestive and urinary tract infections (DTI, UTI), and serum C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations were also investigated.


A total of 254 healthy volunteers were randomly assigned to receive sea buckthorn or placebo product during the study, which 233 of them completed.


There were no significant differences in the number or duration of CC or DTI between groups (CC: relative risks (sea buckthorn vs placebo) for the number and duration were 1.15 (95% CI 0.90–1.48) and 1.05 (95% CI 0.87–1.27), respectively). In the sea buckthorn group, as compared to the placebo, the serum CRP concentrations decreased significantly (difference in median change −0.059 mg/l, P=0.039). The number of UTI was too small to draw solid conclusions, but the results indicate the subject merits further investigation.


Sea buckthorn berries did not prevent CC or DTI. However, a reductive effect on CRP, a marker of inflammation, and a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, was detected.

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We thank the volunteers who participated in the study. We also thank Terhi Pohjanheimo and Katja Tiitinen for development of the treatment products; Nina Kainulainen, Raija Nurmi, and Anja Pirinen for excellent assistance; Jukka-Pekka Suomela for the flavonol glycoside analysis of the study product; Saija Hurme for the statistical analyses of CRP data; and Marjo Mäkinen-Aakula and Ilkka Liukas for their contribution. We acknowledge the Finnish Agency for Technology and Innovation, Pakkasmarja Inc., Riitan Herkku Inc., Valioravinto Inc., Vinkkilä Organic Product, Turku University Foundation and ABS Graduate School for financial support.

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Correspondence to P Larmo.

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Guarantor: R Tahvonen.

Contributors: RT was responsible for the study concept, supervision and design. PL contributed to study design and was responsible for recruitment of the participants, data collection and entry, writing the manuscript and with RT and JA for analysis of data and interpretation of results. JA was responsible for the sample size estimation, randomization of the participants, statistical analysis of the data, and contributed to writing the paper. ES and HK contributed to the design of the study. RT, ES and HK revised the manuscript critically for important intellectual content.

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Larmo, P., Alin, J., Salminen, E. et al. Effects of sea buckthorn berries on infections and inflammation: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr 62, 1123–1130 (2008).

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  • Hippophaë
  • common cold
  • C-reactive protein
  • infection

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