Black Chokeberry Improves Diabetes-related Oxidative Stress and Lipid Profiles

The cause of diabetes mellitus is multifaceted, with genetic and environmental factors and ethnic and racial differences contributing to the prevalence of the disease. Chronic hyperglycemia results in oxidative stress that damages all organs. Many antidiabetic medications are available; however, no single drug has succeeded in lowering hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress. The success with which many oral hypoglycemic drugs reduce blood glucose is variable and appropriate glycemic control is hence hard to achieve, as is the consequent hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress. Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa, Rosaceae) has been studied for its ability to improve oxidative stress and the macrovascular complications of diabetes. These authors conducted a review of the antidiabetic effects of black chokeberry and its applications in related conditions. Preclinical (in vitro assays and in vivo animal studies) evidence is presented alongside clinical studies for various preparations of the plant, with a focus on the fruit and fruit-derived products.

Plant-based products rich in anthocyanins exhibit anti-inflammatory, antitumor, and antioxidant properties. Black chokeberry preparations are sometimes used for achlorhydria, vitamin deficiency, recovery from illnesses, and hemorrhoids. Black chokeberry juice was reported to suppress elevated postprandial glucose levels in healthy subjects after an oral meal glucose tolerance test. It was also shown to inhibit dipeptidyl peptidase IV, α-glucosidase, and angiotensin-converting enzyme. Several reviews highlight the antidiabetic effects of black chokeberry and its ability to improve hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress and other precipitating conditions of diabetes.

Only a few studies have been published evaluating the clinical therapeutic effects of black chokeberry. In a systematic review of 13 clinical trials (most of which are of poor quality) using various black chokeberry products to treat metabolic syndrome, hypercholesterolemia, and type 2 diabetes, all studies reported significant improvements in clinical parameters.1 Other studies have shown beneficial effects of black chokeberry on blood pressure. The therapeutic potential of black chokeberry appears to be greater among people who have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

The underlying mechanism of action for black chokeberry is its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and stimulation of the endothelial formation of nitric oxide in coronary arteries. An animal study concluded that anthocyanins are the bioactive components responsible for the observed beneficial effects of black chokeberry, including reversal of the metabolic syndrome by preventing inflammation-related damage. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of black chokeberry juice have been attributed to reduced levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Another therapeutic potential of black chokeberry is its effects on lipids, as demonstrated in a study reporting significant reductions in triglyceride levels among mildly hypertensive patients after four weeks of consumption of chokeberry juice.

Linking current treatments for diabetes with preventive measures, adjuvant therapies, and dietary and lifestyle modifications is important. This review shows that black chokeberry juice and plant extract can be potent modulators of hyperglycemia-related oxidative stress, which is directly correlated with complications of diabetes; that people with increased cardiovascular risk-benefit more than those without the risk; and that black chokeberry and its extract offer benefits against other related diseases (notably cardiovascular conditions).

“Thus, overall, consumption of A. melanocarpa could be recommended as a possible approach to reducing the financial burden for both diabetics and their families, as well as that of national health-care systems in countries where diabetes poses a significant liability,” the authors conclude.


1Chrubasik C, Li G, Chrubasik S. The clinical effectiveness of chokeberry: a systematic review. Phytother Res. August2010;24(8):1107-1114. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3226.

Banjari I, Misir A, Šavikin K, et al. Antidiabetic effects of Aronia melanocarpa and its other therapeutic properties. Front Nutr. November 2017;4:53. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2017.00053.