Davis Study Finds Heart
Benefits From Apples & Juice
at UC Davis School of Medicine have determined that drinking apple
juice and eating apples has a beneficial effect on risk factors
for heart disease. Results of the pioneering clinical study appear
in the winter edition of Journal of Medicinal Food.
The study shows
that compounds in apples and apple juice act in much the same
way that red wine and tea do to slow one of the processes that
lead to heart disease. These compounds act as antioxidants to
delay the break down of LDL or "bad" cholesterol. When
LDL oxidizes, or deteriorates in the blood, plaque accumulates
along the walls of the coronary artery and causes atherosclerosis.
studies have shown that eating fruits and vegetables is associated
with a reduced risk of coronary artery disease," says Dianne
Hyson, a registered dietitian and lead researcher of the study.
"But this is the first clinical study to show the potential
benefits of active compounds in apple juice and apples."
Hyson and her
colleagues previously conducted an in vitro, or lab study, to
show that apples and their juice contain beneficial phytonutrients,
or plant compounds, that function as potent antioxidants. Their
next step was to conduct an in vivo, or human trial, to determine
whether the compounds actually protect the heart by slowing the
process of LDL oxidation.
expected to see positive results from drinking apple juice and
eating apples, she was surprised to find beneficial effects after
only six weeks.
moderate intake of apple juice or apples has the potential to
reduce risk factors for heart disease in a fairly short period
of time," she says. "These small diet changes might
play an important role in a heart healthy diet."
During the 12-week
clinical study, 25 healthy adult men and women added either 12
ounces of 100 percent apple juice or two apples into their daily
diet without changing anything else. Half of the participants
drank 100 percent apple juice daily for six weeks while the other
half ate apples including the peel. The varieties of apples the
group consumed included Fuji, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and
Red Delicious. After six weeks, the subjects switched groups.
kept a detailed five-day food record every two weeks, and researchers
monitored the subjects' body weight throughout the 12-week study
period. There were no significant differences in the intake of
dietary fat, cholesterol, total carbohydrate, sugar or calories.
measured levels of LDL oxidation lag time before the study and
at each six-week interval. Lag time measurements are commonly
used to determine how long it takes for cholesterol to oxidize
or break down when exposed to certain chemicals. A longer lag
time indicates a greater delay in the start of oxidation, which
is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
were more dramatic in subjects drinking apple juice, showing a
20 percent increase in lag time after six weeks, but eating apples
also showed potential health benefits, including reduced oxidation
markers and a 22 percent increase in dietary fiber.
a UC registrar on the Davis campus, says he didn't give the study
much thought while he was involved, but when the results came
in six months later, he was struck by the marked decrease of LDL
in his blood. Cholesterol levels that had been borderline were
now within the healthy range. The father of two young children,
Farrell decided apple juice wasn't just for their lunch box, but
for his as well.
"If I can
get this result from just drinking 12 ounces of apple juice a
day, it's definitely worth making part of my daily routine,"
Reference Source 99