Impact of cranberries on gut microbiota and cardiometabolic health

Cranberry is so much more than just a tart and tangy fruit! New review article summarises the advances in the cranberry field during the last five years with regard to the gut microbiota and cardiometabolic health.

In vitro, animal model and human studies have revealed that cranberry juice, dried cranberry, and cranberry extracts have several biochemical and physiological activities mediated by their phytochemical constituents.

For decades studies have found that regular consumption of cranberry products promotes urinary tract health, but nowadays scientists have reported that cranberries actually possess whole body health benefits. Cranberries are rich in polyphenols, and many studies have indeed focused on the health benefits of polyphenols. Now it has been shown that the cranberry polyphenols may interact with other bioactive compounds in cranberries. This interaction plays an important role when studying the health benefits of cranberries.

Cranberry polyphenols with other bioactive compounds are protecting the gut microbiota, and gut microbiome may impact the health of the immune system and brain, energy balance and the use of carbohydrates and fat. Furthermore, bioactive compounds may provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions that benefit the cardiovascular system, metabolism and immune function. One study also revealed a potential benefit of low-calorie cranberry juice for people living with type 2 diabetes.

On a smaller scale, the A-type structure of cranberry proanthocyanidins seems to be responsible for much of the berry's efficacy as a natural antimicrobial. Cranberry proanthocyanidins together with e.g. isoprenoids and xyloglucans affect bacterial adhesion, coaggregation and biofilm formation. This might have potential clinical benefits on gastrointestinal and urinary tract infections.

Author's comment: Most of the health benefits of cranberries have been studied on American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), which is related to Finnish bog cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos) and small cranberry (Vaccinium microcarpum). According to USDA proanthocyanidin database, the proanthocyanidin contents of American cranberries are similar to those of Finnish cranberries.

Anni Koskela, Arctic Flavours Association

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karpalo  proantosyanidiinit  suolistomikrobit  verenkierto  antimikrobinen  cranberry  proanthocyanidins  microbiome  cardiometabolic  antimicrobial