Objective: In vitro and animal studies suggest that purified anthocyanins have favorable effects on metabolic profiles, but clinical trials have reported inconsistent findings. Furthermore, no study has been specifically conducted among individuals with prediabetes. The aim of this study was to investigate whether purified anthocyanins could improve cardiometabolic risk factors in Chinese adults with early untreated hyperglycemia. Research Design and Methods: This was a 12-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. A total of 160 participants aged 40-75 years with prediabetes or early untreated diabetes were randomly allocated to receive either purified anthocyanins (320 mg/day, n = 80) or placebo (n = 80) of identical appearance. A three-hour oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) was performed, and cardiometabolic biomarkers (glycated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), fasting and postprandial glucose, insulin, C-peptide, and lipids) were measured at baseline and at the end of the trial. Results: A total of 138 subjects completed the protocol. Compared with placebo, purified anthocyanins moderately reduced HbA1c (-0.14%, 95% CI: -0.23~-0.04%; p = 0.005), low-density lipoprotein-c (LDL-c) (-0.2 mmol/L, 95% CI: -0.38~-0.01, p = 0.04), apolipoprotein A-1 (apo A1) (0.09 g/L, 95% CI: 0.02~0.17; p = 0.02), and apolipoprotein B (apo B) (-0.07 g/L, 95% CI: -0.13~-0.01; p = 0.01) according to intention-to-treat analysis. Subgroup analyses suggested that purified anthocyanins were more effective at improving glycemic control, insulin sensitivity, and lipids among patients with elevated metabolic markers. Conclusions: The 12-week randomized controlled trials (RCT) in Chinese adults with prediabetes or early untreated diabetes indicated that purified anthocyanins favorably affected glycemic control and lipid profile. Future studies of a longer duration that explore the dose-response relationship among patients with cardiometabolic disorders are needed to confirm our findings.
Keywords: anthocyanin; cardiometabolic risk factors; oral glucose tolerance test; prediabetes.