Anthocyanins: From Sources and Bioavailability to Cardiovascular-Health Benefits and Molecular Mechanisms of Action

J Agric Food Chem. 2019 Feb 20;67(7):1771-1783. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b06737. Epub 2019 Feb 8.


Anthocyanins are phytochemicals widely found in plant foods, with berries and fruit-derived beverages as the main dietary sources. Accumulating evidence suggests the positive role of anthocyanins in preserving cardiovascular health. Epidemiological data show an association between anthocyanin intake and lower risk of myocardial infarction and cardiovascular-disease-related mortality. Clinical studies report the beneficial effects of the consumption of different anthocyanin-rich sources on surrogate markers of cardiovascular risk. Animal and in vitro evidence suggest the protective role of anthocyanins in dysfunctions related to the development of cardiovascular diseases. Still, the underlying molecular mechanisms of anthocyanin action seem complex and are not entirely clear. This review aims to give a comprehensive update on anthocyanins and their cardioprotective properties. It provides information on their sources; quantities consumed through diet; absorption; bioavailability; cardiovascular properties; and underlying mechanisms of action, including their effects on gene and protein expression and their interactions with cell-signaling pathways and miRNAs.

Keywords: anthocyanin; bioavailability; cardioprotection; mechanisms of action; sources.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Anthocyanins / administration & dosage
  • Anthocyanins / pharmacokinetics*
  • Anthocyanins / pharmacology*
  • Biological Availability
  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena / drug effects
  • Cardiovascular System / drug effects*
  • Diet*
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / drug effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / prevention & control
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Anthocyanins
  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • MicroRNAs