Favorable effects of berry consumption on platelet function, blood pressure, and HDL cholesterol

Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Feb;87(2):323-31. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/87.2.323.


Background: Berries are a particularly rich source of polyphenols. They also contain other bioactive substances, such as vitamin C. Previous studies indicated that the consumption of polyphenol-rich foods (eg, cocoa, tea, and red wine) may induce beneficial changes in pathways related to cardiovascular health. Whether the consumption of berries has similar effects is unknown.

Objective: We aimed to investigate the effects of berry consumption on hemostatic function, serum lipids, and blood pressure (BP).

Design: Middle-aged unmedicated subjects (n = 72) with cardiovascular risk factors consumed moderate amounts of berry or control products for 8 wk in a single-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled intervention trial.

Results: Berry consumption inhibited platelet function as measured with a platelet function analyzer (using collagen and ADP as platelet activator) [changes: 11% and -1.4% in the berry and control groups, respectively; P = 0.018, analysis of covariance (ANCOVA)]. Plasma biomarkers of platelet activation, coagulation, and fibrinolysis did not change during the intervention. Serum HDL-cholesterol concentrations increased significantly more (P = 0.006, ANCOVA) in the berry than in the control group (5.2% and 0.6%, respectively), but total cholesterol and triacylglycerol remained unchanged. Systolic BP decreased significantly (P = 0.050, ANCOVA); the decrease mostly occurred in subjects with high baseline BP (7.3 mm Hg in highest tertile; P = 0.024, ANCOVA). Polyphenol and vitamin C concentrations in plasma increased, whereas other nutritional biomarkers (ie, folate, tocopherols, sodium, and potassium) were unaffected.

Conclusion: The consumption of moderate amounts of berries resulted in favorable changes in platelet function, HDL cholesterol, and BP. The results indicate that regular consumption of berries may play a role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Blood Coagulation
  • Blood Platelets*
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Female
  • Flavonoids / administration & dosage
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenols / administration & dosage
  • Polyphenols


  • Biomarkers
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Polyphenols