BACKGROUND: Cranberry juice contains polyphenolic compounds that could improve endothelial function and reduce cardiovascular disease risk.
OBJECTIVE: The objective was to examine the effects of cranberry juice on vascular function in subjects with coronary artery disease.
DESIGN: We completed an acute pilot study with no placebo (n = 15) and a chronic placebo-controlled crossover study (n = 44) that examined the effects of cranberry juice on vascular function in subjects with coronary artery disease.
RESULTS: In the chronic crossover study, subjects with coronary heart disease consumed a research preparation of double-strength cranberry juice (54% juice, 835 mg total polyphenols, and 94 mg anthocyanins) or a matched placebo beverage (480 mL/d) for 4 wk each with a 2-wk rest period between beverages. Beverage order was randomly assigned, and participants refrained from consuming other flavonoid-containing beverages during the study. Vascular function was measured before and after each beverage, with follow-up testing >=12 h after consumption of the last beverage. Mean (+/-SD) carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, a measure of central aortic stiffness, decreased after cranberry juice (8.3 +/- 2.3 to 7.8 +/- 2.2 m/s) in contrast with an increase after placebo (8.0 +/- 2.0 to 8.4 +/- 2.8 m/s) (P = 0.003). Brachial artery flow-mediated dilation, digital pulse amplitude tonometry, blood pressure, and carotid-radial pulse wave velocity did not change. In the uncontrolled pilot study, we observed improved brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (7.7 +/- 2.9% to 8.7 +/- 3.1%, P = 0.01) and digital pulse amplitude tonometry ratio (0.10 +/- 0.12 to 0.23 +/- 0.16, P = 0.001) 4 h after consumption of a single 480-mL portion of cranberry juice.
CONCLUSIONS: Chronic cranberry juice consumption reduced carotid femoral pulse wave velocity-a clinically relevant measure of arterial stiffness. The uncontrolled pilot study suggested an acute benefit; however, no chronic effect on measures of endothelial vasodilator function was found. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT00553904.