A new study which investigated the link between dietary anthocyanin, the red-pigmented flavonoids found in berries, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk suggests that anthocyanins, and more specifically anthocyanidins, could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and CVD mortality.

Researchers examined data from 19 studies including 602,054 participants in Europe, Australia and the United States and compared dietary anthocyanin intake with incidence of CHD- and CVD-related outcomes.

The meta-analysis suggested intake of dietary anthocyanins is inversely linked with CHD (relative risk [RR] = 0.91; 95% CI 0.83-0.99; I2 = 12.0; Ph=.337) and CVD mortality (RR = 0.92; 95% CI 0.87-0.97; I2 = 0.0; Ph= .584). There was no relationship between intake and risk of stroke, myocardial infarction or total CVD.

A subgroup analysis determined reduced risk of CHD and CVD mortality was more prominent for anthocyanidin intake, as opposed to anthocyanin.

The authors recommend that until more precise conclusions can be made, dietary intake should include anthocyanidin-rich sources as part of a varied diet of fruit and vegetables rich in other bioactive compounds.

The findings are published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition