Strawberries have been reported to be potent antioxidants and reduce cardiovascular risk factors, such as, elevated blood pressure, hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia and inflammation in limited studies. We hypothesized that freeze-dried strawberry supplementation will improve blood pressure, impaired glucose, dyslipidemia, or circulating adhesion molecules in obese subjects with metabolic syndrome, thereby lowering cardiovascular risk factors in these subjects. Twenty-seven subjects with metabolic syndrome [2 males and 25 females; BMI: 37.5±2.15 kg/m2; age: 47.0±3.0y (means ±SE)] consumed 4 cups freeze-dried strawberry beverage (50g freeze-dried strawberries ~ 3 cups fresh strawberries) or equivalent amounts of fluids (controls, 4 cups water) daily for eight weeks in a randomized controlled trial. Anthropometrics and blood pressure measurements, assessment of dietary intakes and fasting blood draws were conducted at screen and eight weeks of the study. Strawberry supplementation significantly decreased total and LDL-cholesterol [5.8±0.2 to 5.2±0.2 mmol/L, and 3.5±0.2 to 3.1±0.1 mmol/L, respectively, (means ±SE), p<0.05] and small LDL-particles using nuclear magnetic resonance-determined lipoprotein subclass profile (NMR-LSP) versus controls at eight weeks [794.6±94.0 to 681.8±86.0 nmol/L, (means ±SE), p<0.05]. Strawberry supplementation further decreased circulating levels of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) versus controls at eight weeks [272.7±17.4 to 223.0±14.0 ng/mL, (means ±SE), p<0.05). Serum glucose, triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, blood pressure, and waist circumference were not affected. Thus, short-term freeze-dried strawberry supplementation improved selected atherosclerotic risk factors, including, dyslipidemia and circulating adhesion molecules in subjects with metabolic syndrome and these results need confirmation in future trials.
Keywords: Strawberries, total cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, adhesion molecules