Tart Cherries May Reduce Risk of Stroke
Millions of Americans suffer from metabolic syndrome, a condition characterized by a group of risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Its treatment often includes PPAR agonists, a class of drugs that help regulate fat and glucose metabolism. However, long-term use of these drugs has been linked with side effects that are liked to increased risk for stroke.
New research from the University of Michigan Cardioprotection Research Laboratory suggests that tart cherries may provide similar cardiovascular benefits as PPAR agonists, but can also reduce the risk of stroke, whether they are taken alone or with the medications.
The researchers compared the effect of tart cherries and the drug Actos (pioglitazone) in stroke-prone rats. Some rats were given both cherries and Actos. The animals’ systolic blood pressures were measured and their locomotion, balance, coordination, were evaluated to determine if they had the aftereffects of a stroke.
The researchers found that compared to rats that received Actos, those that received tart cherries significantly improved their balance and coordination, and at the same time had lower blood pressures.
While rats who received only tart cherries had the best results, those that received a combination of tart cherries and Actos also did better than those that only took the drug. However, Seymour states that the results cannot be applied directly to humans and more research has to be done to confirm their results.
The researchers believe that the pigments (anthocyanins) that give cherries their red color may be responsible for activating PPAR, which regulate genes involved in fat and glucose metabolism.
University of Michigan Health System. Tart cherries linked to reduced risk of stroke. ScienceDaily.