Safflower seed extract (SSE) contains characteristic polyphenols and serotonin derivatives (N-( p-coumaroyl) serotonin and N-feruloylserotonin), which are reported to inhibit oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), formation of atherosclerotic plaques, and improve arterial stiffness as assessed by pulse wave analysis in animal models. The effects of long-term supplementation with SSE on arterial stiffness in human subjects were evaluated. This doubleblind, placebo-controlled study was conducted in 77 males (35-65 years) and 15 postmenopausal females (55-65 years) with high-normal blood pressure or mild hypertension who were not undergoing treatment. Subjects received SSE (70 mg/day as serotonin derivatives) or placebo for 12 weeks, and pulse wave measurements, ie, second derivative of photoplethysmogram (SDPTG), augmentation index, and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) were conducted at baseline, and at weeks 4, 8, and 12. Vascular age estimated by SDPTG aging index improved in the SSE-supplemented group when compared with the placebo group at four (P = 0.0368) and 12 weeks (P = 0.0927). The trend of augmentation index reduction (P = 0.072 versus baseline) was observed in the SSE-supplemented group, but reduction of baPWV by SSE supplementation was not observed. The SSE-supplemented group also showed a trend towards a lower malondialdehyde-modified-LDL autoantibody titer at 12 weeks from baseline. These results suggest long-term ingestion of SSE in humans could help to improve arterial stiffness.
Keywords: antioxidants; augmentation index; pulse wave velocity; safflower; serotonin derivatives.