Anthocyanin supplementation improves serum LDL- and HDL-cholesterol concentrations associated with the inhibition of cholesteryl ester transfer protein in dyslipidemic subjects

Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Sep;90(3):485-92. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27814. Epub 2009 Jul 29.


Background: Anthocyanins have been shown to exert benefits on the lipid profile in many animal models. Whether these molecules have similar beneficial effects in humans is currently unknown.

Objective: The objective was to investigate the effects of berry-derived anthocyanin supplements on the serum lipid profile in dyslipidemic patients.

Design: A total of 120 dyslipidemic subjects (age 40-65 y) were given 160 mg anthocyanins twice daily or placebo for 12 wk in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

Results: Anthocyanin consumption increased HDL-cholesterol concentrations (13.7% and 2.8% in the anthocyanin and placebo groups, respectively; P < 0.001) and decreased LDL-cholesterol concentrations (13.6% and -0.6% in the anthocyanin and placebo groups, respectively; P < 0.001). Cellular cholesterol efflux to serum increased more in the anthocyanin group than in the placebo group (20.0% and 0.2%, respectively; P < 0.001). Anthocyanin supplementation decreased the mass and activity of plasma cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) (10.4% and 6.3%, respectively, in the anthocyanin group and -3.5% and 1.1%, respectively, in the placebo group; P < 0.001). In the anthocyanin group, the change in HDL cholesterol was negatively correlated with the change in CETP activity (r(s) = -0.330). The change in LDL cholesterol was positively correlated with the change in CETP mass (r(s) = 0.354). The change in cellular cholesterol efflux to serum was positively correlated with the change in HDL cholesterol (r(s) = 0.485). In vitro, cyanidin 3-O-beta-glucosides dose-dependently lowered CETP activity in human HepG2 cells.

Conclusions: Anthocyanin supplementation in humans improves LDL- and HDL-cholesterol concentrations and enhances cellular cholesterol efflux to serum. These benefits may be due to the inhibition of CETP.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthocyanins / pharmacology
  • Anthocyanins / therapeutic use*
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Line
  • Cholesterol Ester Transfer Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Dyslipidemias / blood
  • Dyslipidemias / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Glucosides / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*


  • Anthocyanins
  • CETP protein, human
  • Cholesterol Ester Transfer Proteins
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Glucosides
  • Plant Extracts
  • cyanidin-3-O-beta-glucopyranoside