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Cranberry juice modulates atherosclerotic vascular dysfunction

San Diego (April 3, 2005) Protection against a wide variety of diseases is among the many benefits of a diet high in whole fruits and vegetables. Cranberries over the years have been identified with preventing or ameliorating urinary tract infections and playing a positive role gum disease, ulcers and even cancer.

Recent work shows that cranberries contain naturally derived compounds (antioxidants, flavonoids, and polyphenols) that may help protect against heart disease. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine studied the effects of taking cranberry juice powder regularly over six months and found a pronounced improvement in the vascular function -- the ability of blood vessels to relax in subjects with high blood cholesterol and atherosclerosis.

"Since the abnormal functioning of blood vessels is an important component of heart disease, finding ways to improve vascular function in patients with high cholesterol and atherosclerosis is critical to helping protect these patients from consequences such as heart attack or stroke," according to lead researcher Kris Kruse-Elliott.

*Paper presentation: "Cranberry juice modulates atherosclerotic vascular dysfunction," 12:30 p.m.-3 p.m. Sunday April 3, Physiology 387.14/board #A661. On view 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Kruse-Elliott is presenting the research at the 35th Congress of the International Union of Physiological Sciences in San Diego, March 31 - April 5, 2005.

Taking the whole-food approach

"The value of fruits and vegetables in our diet has recently been an area of intense research and studies like this help us to understand the specific mechanisms by which the nutrients we consume can protect against heart disease," Kruse-Elliott said. She said that the next steps are "to determine what specific components of cranberries are most important to the improvements in vascular function that we observed, exactly how they modify blood v
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3-Apr-2005


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