Anthocyanins and heart health

Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2007;43(4):369-74.


Anthocyanins are the largest group of water-soluble pigments in the plant kingdom and belong to the family of compounds known as flavonoids. Major sources of anthocyanins are blueberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, black currants, purple grapes and red wine. In recent years several studies have shown that anthocyanins display a wide range of biological activities including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-carcinogenic activities. In addition they display a variety of effects on blood vessels, platelets and lipoproteins able to reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases. However, until the absorption and metabolic fate of anthocyanins in vivo is unravelled, it would be unwise to conclude that a high consumption of them will reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Long-term intervention trials must be properly designed and carried out to provide definite proof. In the meantime a more complete knowledge of the identity of anthocyanin metabolites and their tissue distribution should be reached.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anthocyanins / chemistry
  • Anthocyanins / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control*
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Wine


  • Anthocyanins
  • Antioxidants