Armé™️ – Your Natural Defense Against UTIs

We know that urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common and potentially debilitating infection especially in the elderly. More than 60% of women will experience a urinary tract infection at some point in their lives, with the majority of infections caused by pathogenic e coli bacteria. What is unclear to health experts is why about a quarter of these women will get a second infection within 6 months.

Risk factors commonly associated with UTIs include sexual intercourse, urinary retention, catheter use, and underlying medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus. But researchers are also identifying risk factors that are not common knowledge with the potential for powerful preventative measures.

A discussion of current research will outline why armé™️ a natural supplement featuring Aronia berry can be an important ally in your fight against UTIs.

Biofilm: A Brief Introduction

Once bacteria attach to the bladder or an indwelling catheter for example, they immediately begin forming a colony and produce a matrix of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). The matrix covers and shields the microbes from the host environment. This combination of microbes and protective matrix is termed biofilm.

Why is it important?

The development and maintenance of bacterial biofilm is of critical importance to healthcare. Biofilm quickly coats medical devices, indwelling catheters, and in the setting of urinary tract infections, the bladder wall. Biofilms are highly resistant to conventional antimicrobial therapies by blocking penetration and inactivating antibiotics. The eradication of E. coli in biofilm requires 200-1000 times higher antibiotic concentration than for free-floating bacteria. Additionally, bacteria established in a biofilm matrix penetrate the endothelium and enter a dormant spore-like non-dividing state. Conventional antibiotics work via metabolic pathways, hence bacteria encased in biofilm provide limited targets. Once antibiotics are stopped, biofilms can rupture and disperse bacteria to start a new cycle of infection. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, cell-to-cell communication within the biofilm allows for the transfer of genetic information and the sharing of antibiotic resistance. It has been estimated that 80% of all infections are caused by biofilms.


Siderocalin, also known as lactoferrin receptor is a protein that our bodies make to recognize and bind to siderophores, which are iron-carrying compounds. It is a natural antibiotic that our body makes to fight off bacteria such as E coli. Siderocalin kills UTI-causing bacteria by depriving them of the iron they need for growth and replication.

So how can we make more of these natural antibiotics?

Part of the answer is in our genetics. Studies have identified that polyphenols found in our diet can increase siderocalin gene expression. Meaning that we can “tell” our genes to make more of the natural antibiotic that UTI-causing bacteria are not resistant to. In one study the researchers concluded, “Of note, urinary catechols are associated with consumption of polyphenol-rich foods… suggesting that dietary strategies may be feasible.”

Armé™️ is a unique nutraceutical product that is rich in polyphenols, designed to disrupt bacterial
adhesion and biofilm formation with ingredients backed by clinical research. The components work
in synergy with diverse mechanisms of action to eliminate UTI causing bacteria.


1.Dorneanu R, et al. Synergic Benefits of Aronia Melanocarpa Anthocyanin-Rich Extracts and Antibiotics
Used for Urinary Tract Infections. FARMACIA, 2017, Vol. 65, 5.

2. Sharma G, et al . Escherichia coli Biofilm: Development and Therapeutic Strategies. Journal of Applied Microbiology.

3. Arciola CR, et al. Biofilm formation inStaphylococcus implant infections. A review of molecular mechanisms and implications
for biofilm-resistant materials. Biomaterials. 2012 Sep;33(26):5967-82.doi:10.1016/

4. Donlin R, Biofilm Formation: A Clinically Relevant Microbiological Process. Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 33, Issue 8, 15 October 2001, Pages 1387–1392

5. Chen M, Yu Q, Sun H. Novel strategies for the prevention and treatment of biofilm related infections.Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Sep 6;14(9)

6. Bernardes E, et al. Current Research Approaches to Target Biofilm Infections. Postdoc J. 2015 Jun; 3(6): 36–49.

7. Bräunlich M, et al. Effects of Aronia melanocarpa Constituents on Biofilm Formation of Escherichia coli and Bacillus
cereus. Molecules 2013, 18.

8. Shields-Cutler et al. Human Urinary Composition Controls Siderocalin’s Antibacterial Activity,

Adding Polyphenols to Your Diet

Did you know that polyphenols are a type of plant-based antioxidant? They have been shown to have many health benefits, such as reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease. Polyphenols are most commonly found in fruits, vegetables, red wine, green tea, cocoa powder and dark chocolate. In this blog post we will explore a ranking of foods high in polyphenols!

According to published research:

As can be seen, Aronia (listed as Black chokeberry) ranks the highest among berries! Even though there are spices such as cloves and Mexican oregano which have a high polyphenol content, it would not be practical or even possible to eat these in quantities to get the health benefits. For example, you would have to eat about 100 cloves or teaspoons of oregano each day!

It is certainly doable to incorporate Aronia berry into your daily routine. To find out how, check us out at

Aronia and Your Heart

As previous posts have detailed, the super-fruit Aronia contains unparalleled levels of healthy anthocyanins.

The purpose of this post is to provide further insight into the beneficial effects anthocyanin-rich fruits such as Aronia can have on cardiovascular health.

First off, it is helpful to have some insight into what types of empiric evidence can we trust. Clinical trials are one of the best objective measures, but not all clinical trials are created equal. The randomized controlled trials (RCTs) tend to be well-designed and executed; however, they also take the longest time frame and therefore we often see them in conjunction with epidemiological studies. Double-blinded, placebo-controlled RCTs are the gold standard in clinical trials.

Double-blinded means that neither the patient nor the researcher knows what they ingested. This is to prevent any sort of experimenter bias from occurring, a psychological phenomenon in which a researcher’s expectations can influence a study’s results.

Placebo-controlled means that both groups of patients ingest something – either an active ingredient or a placebo. The placebo should have no physiological effect whatsoever. One powerful method of study involves cross-over groups, in which both groups ingest the same thing but with different time frames. After a wash-out period, the groups switch to ingest whatever was not ingested before. This allows researchers to isolate very specific variables, such as the effects of anthocyanins on cardiovascular health.

The best source of information on anthocyanins and cardiovascular disease is undoubtedly PubMed .

The first study I will review below is a systematic review of anthocyanin supplementation on cardiovascular risk factors which shows some significant results.

In the study titled: “Effects of Berry Anthocyanins on Cognitive Performance, Vascular Function and Cardiometabolic Risk Markers: A Systematic Review of Randomized Placebo-Controlled Intervention Studies in Humans,” published this June, researchers reviewed a total of 1197 articles and 49 studies reporting effects on cognitive performance, vascular function, and cardiometabolic risk markers. (1)

Vascular function markers such as brachial artery flow-mediated vasodilation were also affected and consistent evidence was provided for the beneficial effects of berry anthocyanins on endothelial function. Flow-mediated dilatation is an index of endothelial function, meaning that it is an assessment of the elasticity of blood vessels, or simply put, the ability of blood vessels to expand.

A second study looking specifically at Aronia titled: “Effects of Aronia berry (poly)phenols on vascular function and gut microbiota: a double-blind randomized controlled trial in adult men” concluded that “consumption of aronia berry (poly)phenols improved endothelial function and modulated gut microbiota composition, indicating that regular aronia consumption has the potential to maintain cardiovascular health.” The study also included that the improvements in endothelial function or less hardening of the arteries could lead to a 24% lower risk of coronary heart disease, which is reportedly equivalent to 4.4 additional years of life without CHD events. (2)

There is no shortage today of products purporting all sorts of health benefits, but the evidence is often negligible or conflicting. Anthocyanin-rich fruits and vegetables are one area where evidence has been consistent.


(1) Ahles et al – Effects of Berry Anthocyanins on Cognitive Performance, Vascular Function and Cardiometabolic Risk Markers: A Systematic Review of Randomized Placebo-Controlled Intervention Studies in Humans. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jun; 22(12): 6482.

(2) Istas et al – Effects of aronia berry (poly)phenols on vascular function and gut microbiota: a double-blind randomized controlled trial in adult men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2019 Aug 1;110(2):316-329.

What are anthocyanins, and what do they do?

Anthocyanins are natural pigments present in many plants, fruits and vegetables. They are part of the flavonoid group which also includes anthocyanins, flavones, isoflavones, flavanols and flavan-3-ols.

Anthocyanins contribute to the profound red/blue colors of many flowers (e.g., snapdragons, roses, irises), fruits (blueberries, Aronia berry), and vegetables (eggplant).

The right amount of anthocyanins within our bodies could help prevent and combat diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease. Our bodies cannot produce this compound on their own so we must get it from food sources.


Studies have shown that there is a correlation between higher intakes of anthocyanins and reduced risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. One study was completed by Harvard University in 2005 that took place over 12 years. It examined 63,257 women who were between the ages of 34-59 in an effort to determine their intakes of anthocyanins through fruits and vegetables. The study found that women who consumed the most anthocyanins were at a 40% reduced risk for heart disease compared to those who consumed the least anthocyanins. As well as being at a reduced risk for heart disease, the women who consumed the most anthocyanins were at about an 18% reduced risk for cancer.

Although this research shows that there is a correlation between higher intakes of anthocyanins and reduced risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer, it does not show cause-and-effect. The study did find an association between the anthocyanin intake and the reduced risks; however, they were not able to conclude that it was actually the anthocyanins that reduced the risk for heart disease and cancer.

The exact mechanism by which anthocyanins produce their protective effects is still not totally understood. Some researchers believe that anthocyanins can decrease oxidative stress in the body.

Another possible explanation is that anthocyanins benefit the body by activating enzymes that help regulate blood sugar levels. The actions of these enzymes can help to control fluctuations in blood sugar levels that may result from eating foods with high carbohydrates/sugar contents.

Anthocyanins and Epigenetics

The effects of anthocyanins are not limited to their antioxidant activities. Some research suggests that they may have epigenetic effects as well, which means their chemical properties may alter gene expression in beneficial ways. The way genes are expressed can influence several different processes within the body including development, immunity, and metabolism. In other words, changes in gene expression from anthocyanins can have a widespread effect on the human body.

Anthocyanins as Prebiotics

Additionally, anthocyanins can act as prebiotics within the body. A prebiotic is a non-digestible food ingredient that beneficially affects the host by stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon (gut microbiome). The secondary metabolites from healthy gut bacteria are at least as important as the primary metabolites from the food itself.

Anthocyanins do this by stimulating the growth of healthy gut bacteria such as bifidobacteria. Bifidobacteria are lactic acid bacteria that are believed to have several health benefits including reduced cancer risk, reduced inflammation, and improved immune response.

The anthocyanins found in Aronia berry could benefit people’s well-being due to their antioxidant activity as well as their ability to act as prebiotics and epigenetic modifiers. It is important to note that further research is needed in order to better understand the mechanisms by which these effects take place.

Bibliography: 1) Kalt, W., and J. Belsky. “Non-antioxidant mechanisms of action of dietary polyphenols: implications for their effects on risk of chronic disease.” The Journal of nutritional biochemistry 20.6 (2009): 438-450.

Elderberry for Colds and Flu?

Cold and flu remedies will be in ample supply in the coming months as coughs, sneezes, and sniffles are expected to spread. However, elderberry products have been on the shelves season after season when it comes to natural treatments. Elderberry is a plant that has been used for centuries to treat colds, flu, fever and other illnesses. It’s also the main ingredient in many commercial cold remedies. But does it work? This article will explore the effectiveness of elderberry as a way to treat or prevent colds and flu.

What are elderberries?

Elderberry or Sambucus nigra is a shrub in the honeysuckle family that grows primarily throughout North America and Europe where it has been used since ancient times as both food and medicine. In fact, many sources attest to its use as far back as Biblical times by Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Germans and others. The berries are dark blue with white spots when unripe and they turn black-red when ripe.

How is Elderberry used?

Elderberry can be used several ways. For example, the berries are cooked into jams and jellies or made into wines that produce a dark purple liquid with sweet-tart flavor. Elderberries can also be combined with other herbs to make teas; tinctures; syrups; extracts for candy, beverages and baking.

Supplements containing elderberries have been used to treat colds and flu, as well as:

Chronic fatigue syndrome
Hay fever
High cholesterol
Sinus infections
Upper respiratory infections

Does Elderberry work in clinical trials?

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study during the influenza season of 1999-2000, 60 patients (aged 18-54 years) suffering from influenza-like symptoms for 48 h or less received 15 ml of elderberry or placebo syrup four times a day for 5 days, and recorded their symptoms using a visual analogue scale. Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo.(1)

Additionally, a meta-analysis of elderberry performed in 2018 determined that supplementation with elderberry was found to substantially reduce upper respiratory symptoms. The quantitative synthesis of the effects yielded a large mean effect size.(2)

A meta-analysis by the way is an examination of data from a number of independent studies pertaining to the the same subject in order to identify overall trends.

This promising trend and the glowing reviews from people of all walks of life resulted in more than $100 million in sales of elderberry supplements in the US between January and March of 2018. Sales of herbal supplements overall grew by a record breaking 17.3% in 2020 with elderberry sales skyrocketing to $320 million.

Not so fast, though.

Michael Macknin, MD, professor emeritus of pediatrics at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, was lead investigator in a study conducted between January 2018 and April 2019 including 87 patients ages five and older who tested positive for influenza. A 5-day trial of elderberry extract or placebo was conducted in an emergency room setting. Alternatively, they could take oseltamivir (Tamiflu), which is an antiviral drug.

A placebo was given orally twice daily for five days to patients between 5 and 12. Elderberry extract was administered four times daily for five days to subjects over the age of 12. No difference was observed between the groups of Elderberry and placebo in the severity or duration of flu symptoms. It took two extra days for people in the elderberry group who did not take oseltamivir to feel better compared to people in the placebo group. Considering that earlier studies reported that elderberries shortened flu symptoms by four days, further studies are needed.

Likewise, the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration have taken action against firms marketing products with unconfirmed claims that Elderberry can prevent COVID-19.

In summary, there is evidence that elderberry can shorten the duration and severity of some viral respiratory infections and that elderberry is generally regarded as safe when taken as a supplement. There is, however, no magic bullet when it comes to COVID-19 and flu cases. The fundamentals of vaccination when appropriate, proper hygiene, nutrition, sleep habits and exercise all remain critical steps we can take to mitigate the risk of infection.


1) Zakay-Rones et al. Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. J Int Med Res. Mar-Apr 2004;32(2):132-40.

2) Hawkins et al. Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials. Complement Ther Med 2019 Feb;42:361-365.

3) Macknin et al. Elderberry Extract Outpatient Influenza Treatment for Emergency Room Patients Ages 5 and Above: a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial Intern Med. 2020 Nov;35(11):3271-3277.

Armé™️ for Urinary Health

UTIs are a common infection, and can lead to serious problems if left untreated. But what if we told you that there is a natural way of preventing UTIs? Armé™️ is an all-natural supplement which contains D-Mannose and Aronia polyphenols. These two ingredients have been clinically proven to combat UTIs by inhibiting E. coli from adhering to the bladder wall, thus reducing the risk of developing a UTI. With this knowledge in hand, armé™️ has become a favorite supplement for maintaining good urinary health!

What is D-Mannose?

D-mannose is a naturally occurring sugar. Studies have shown that D-Mannose seems to have a special affinity for E. coli, and attaches itself to the bacteria as soon as it enters the urinary tract. This prevents the bacteria from sticking to bladder walls and causing an infection. Although many different types of sugars can attach themselves to E. coli, D-Mannose seems to be the only one that can attach itself on the receptor sites on the bacteria’s surface.

D-Mannose has been used as a treatment for UTIs for over 50 years, but has only recently gained the attention of the scientific community. Research has shown that D-mannose can reduce bladder inflammation, pain and burning sensation during urination in women with UTIs (1). It has also been found to be effective against both E coli and Staphylococcus (2), (3).

D-Mannose is found in many plants and fruits, such as grapes, peaches, cranberries and apples. However, supplementing with pure D-mannose has been proven to be more effective than taking it through food.

Does D-Mannose raise blood sugar?

D-mannose is not metabolized by the body, which means it does not raise blood sugar. It passes through your system within 24 hours after ingestion (unlike glucose which takes 48 hours). This ensures that you won’t experience any fluctuations in energy levels due to increased insulin levels after taking D-mannose.

Is D-Mannose safe to take if I am diabetic?

Yes, D-mannose is safe to take if you are a diabetic. As mentioned earlier, pure D-mannose does not raise blood sugar levels and will not interfere with your medication. However, as with any supplement, please talk to your doctor before taking D-mannose if you have been prescribed medication for your diabetes.

Does D-Mannose replace my prescription antibiotics?

No. D-mannose does not treat infections caused by a virus or bacteria other than E. coli, and should therefore only be used in conjunction with prescription antibiotics when you have a UTI. In fact, the specific polyphenols in armé™️ plus D-mannose work synergistically to enhance the effectiveness of prescription antibiotics used to treat a UTI, without compromising their activity.(4,5)

Aronia and UTIs

Aronia is a small fruit-bearing shrub of the rose family. Aronia has been shown to be particularly effective against UTIs because it contains compounds which are potent inhibitors of E coli (6,7).

Aronia and proanthocyanins – a compound found in Aronia – have been shown to stop E coli from adhering to bladder walls (8). In addition, they protect the cells of the bladder from invasion by potentially harmful bacteria. (9), (10).

Aronia is the richest source of natural anthocyanin and proanthocyanin polyphenols.


Prior et al. reported the proanthocyanidin content of aronia and determined that they are catechin sub-units with B-type linkages. Proanthocyanidin content of aronia berry, currants, gooseberries, and elderberries were quantified by Wu et al. via normal-phase HPLC. Aronia berries were found to contain 663.7 mg/100 g FW of total proanthocyanidins. This was the highest content of proanthocyanidins among the berries tested, and about 4 times higher than the next highest berry, black currant.(11,12)

How does armé™️ work?

The crucial factor for the onset of urinary tract infections is bacterial adhesion to the cell surface. D-Mannose and proanthocyanidins work by inhibiting bacterial adherence to urothelial cells. Bacteria such as E. coli, contain fimbriae which allow them to attach to receptors on the epithelium of the urinary tract. Once attached, they multiply, colonize and create a biofilm. D-mannose is similar in structure to the binding site of Type 1 fimbriae and polyphenols occupy binding sites of P-fimbriae. When these receptor sites are saturated, bacteria are not able to attach, are trapped in the urine flow and consequently eliminated from the urinary tract.(13-15)

In summary, armé™️ is a natural supplement formulated by a physician containing optimized levels of both polyphenols and D-Mannose that can be your ally in the fight against UTIs.


1) Kranjčec B, et al – D-mannose powder for prophylaxis of recurrent urinary tract infections in women: a randomized clinical trial. World J Urol. 2014 Feb;32(1):79-84.

2) Domenici L, et al – D-mannose: a promising support for acute urinary tract infections in women. A pilot study. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2016 Jul;20(13):2920-5.

3) Ofek I, et al – Mannose-specific adherence of Escherichia coli freshly excreted in the urine of patients with urinary tract infections, and of isolates subcultured from the infected urine. Infect Immun 1981;34:708-11.

4) Rees WD, et al. – Uropathogenic Escherichia coli adherence to uroepithelial bladder cells: role of mannose-specific P fimbriae in initial interaction and attachment during infection.

5) Leclercq R et al. – The role of proanthocyanidins derived from grape seeds in the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections in women.

6) Dorneanu R et al. – Synergic Benefits of Aronia Melanocarpa Anthocyanin-Rich Extracts and Antibiotics Used for Urinary Tract Infections. FARMACIA, 2017, Vol. 65

7) Handeland M et al. -Black chokeberry juice (Aronia melanocarpa) reduces incidences of urinary tract infection among nursing home residents in the long term–a pilot study. Res. 2014 Jun;34(6):518-25. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2014.05.005. Epub 2014 Jun 3.

8) Moreno A, et al. – Inhibitory effect on Escherichia coli adherence to epithelial cells and biofilm formation by phenolic compounds from Aronia melanocarpa.

9) Yamamoto T, et al. – Procyanidin inhibits the invasion of uropathogenic Escherichia coli into human bladder cells by disrupting interactions between bacterial outer membrane proteins and host cytoskeleton via integrin-binding RGD peptides.

10) Moreno A et al. – The inhibitory effect of strawberry and Aronia melanocarpa fruit on biofilm formation by uropathogenic Escherichia coli.

11) Prior, R.L.; Gu, L. Occurrence and biological significance of proanthocyanidins in the American diet. Phytochemistry. 2005, 66, 2264–2280.

12) Wu X et al. – Characterization of anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins in some cultivars of Ribes, Aronia, and Sambucus and their antioxidant capacity J. Agric. Food Chem. 2004, 52(26), 7846–7856.

13) Gupta A, et al. – Inhibition of adherence of multi drug resistant E.coli by proanthocyanidin. Urol Res 2012 (40) pp 143-150

14) Venegas MF, et al. Binding of type 1-piliated Escherichia coli to vaginal mucus. Infect Immun 1995;63:416-22.

15) Schaeffer AJ, et al. – Mannose-sensitive adherence of Escherichia coli to epithelial cells from women with recurrent urinary tract infections. J Urol 1984;131:906-10.

The Local Alternative to Acai Berries: Aronia Berries

Nature’s best superfood is ready to replace Acai berries.

Aronia berries (Aronia melanocarpa) are a new superfood that has made its way onto the superfood list thanks to their excellent health benefits.

Aronia berries have been studied in detail and have demonstrated that they are multifaceted antioxidants. ORAC, Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, is one straightforward method of determining a food item’s antioxidant capability. Proanthocyanidins can directly protect against cardiovascular disease, as measured by ORAC values. Aronia, for instance, has 58 percent higher antioxidant levels than blueberries. Aronia berries have one of the highest reported concentrations of PAs of any food.

North America can produce Aronia berries, which is an impressive aspect of the health benefits they provide. They are native species that range from Nova Scotia to Florida and are also known as chokeberries.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture describes black chokeberry also called Aronia Berry, shrubs as a member of the Rose family growing between 3 and 6 feet high. Having fine-toothed leaves with a midrib that is raised and hairless, the leaves have a rich green color during the growing season and turn a beautiful red in the fall. The flowers are bisexual, white, and grow in clusters up to 2 inches across spring. Bees can serve as primary pollinators, however, the flowers are apomictic. Aronia loves full sun but is shade tolerant, drought resistant and can grow in most soil types. The plant is hardy to zone 3 and favored by wildlife.

Fresh Aronia berries can be too astringent for some. The mouth puckering feel of raw berries is due to their tannins and incredible levels of polyphenols. Tannins are compounds that protect plants from bacteria and fungi. The Aronia berry has the highest known concentration of polyphenol antioxidants of any fruit or vegetable.

The berries make a potent dietary supplement and can be found in many forms such as raw juice powder, herbal extract beverage and capsules which contain higher levels than blueberries, acai berries, mangosteen, pomegranate or goji berries to name a few of the current “super-fruits”. Bitter is better! – at least from a health standpoint and Aronia is uniquely bitter and astringent. This is due to the higher tannin content and lower sugar content than other commonly consumed fruits.

An unbiased catalog of Aronia polyphenols as they compare to other berries can be obtained from the published  USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods.  Of note, a direct comparison of Aronia (Chokeberry) and Acai in the same raw form yields a total anthocyanin amount for Aronia of 349.79 mg/100g vs 53.64 mg/100g for Acai, a nearly 7:1 difference.

The quantity and diversity of polyphenols found in Aronia berry rank it as the #1 super fruit currently known. This is verified with data from multiple independent research studies, the comprehensive Phenol – Explorer directory and the USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods.

The take-home message here is – move over acai berry, Aronia berry is the new healthy and powerful superfruit. Packed with antioxidants and health benefits, Aronia is a fantastic find that should be sought out by consumers everywhere.

Aronia melanocarpa, the super fruit that few people know about, but should.

Aronia melanocarpa is the #1 super fruit that few people know about, but should. The North American native, also known as black chokeberry or aronia berry, has been shown to be one of the most potent fruits in terms of antioxidant content. A great deal of research has been done in regards to this plant and the health benefits it provides for those who consume it. Aronia melanocarpa is considered one of the best sources of polyphenols, which have been shown in clinical trials to help prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and more!

Although Aronia is referred to as a berry, it is actually a pome fruit similar to the rose hip. Aronia berries  are native to the United States and were known and widely consumed by Native Americans primarily in  the form of pemmican, a paste of dried fruit and meat mixed with tallow – the original energy bar! They are mentioned as a sustaining food source in the journals of Lewis and Clark, however, as agricultural  practices in the U.S. industrialized, the plant was unfortunately regarded as a weed and nearly  eradicated. The knowledge and appreciation of Aronia were all but forgotten. Luckily, the plant was  introduced to Russia in the late 1800s and subsequently cultivated throughout Central and Eastern  Europe. Multiple cultivars of Aronia were developed. One of the most successful was developed in  Sweden and termed Viking. Today

For those who may not be familiar with Aronia melanocarpa, here are some interesting facts:

Aronia berries contain high levels of dietary fiber (more than blueberries), vitamin C (three times that of oranges) and anthocyanins.

Anthocyanins are a subgroup of flavonoids and are the pigments that confer the blue, purple, and red color to many fruits.  They are particularly of interest to researchers for their ability to quell free radicals in the body and in their role as prebiotics for healthy gut bacteria.

Aronia is currently the richest known source of dietary anthocyanins. Wu et al. determined the anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin content of aronia, black currant, red currant, gooseberry, and elderberries via UPLC-MS.  They used Aronia melanocarpa fruit, and found cyanidin-3-galactoside (Cy3Gal), cyanidin-3-glucoside (Cy3Glu), cyanidin-3-arabinoside (Cy3Ara), cyanidin-3-xyloside (Cy3Xy), pelargonidin-3-galactoside, pelargonidin-3-arabinoside, cyanidin + rhamnose + pentose, and one non-identified anthocyanin species. Aronia berry had 1,480 mg/100 g FW total anthocyanins, the highest concentration among the berries in the study. Cy3Gal was the predominant anthocyanin, representing 67% of total anthocyanins, followed by Cy3Ara, which represented about 27% of total anthocyanins. Only traces of pelargonidin glycosides were detected. Maata-Riihinen et al. found the anthocyanin content of aronia to be 8,421 mg/kg. The only anthocyanins that they detected were cyanidin derivatives. Aronia had the greatest total anthocyanin content of the 18 berries tested.

Aronia melanocarpa is so rich in anthocyanins, the purple fruit almost appears black. Hence the species name melanocarpa or “black body”

Aronia melanocarpa is an excellent source of vitamin C, containing about 50% of the daily value per 100 grams (25).

Research has shown that aronia can help reduce inflammation in osteoarthritis patients by inhibiting several inflammatory cytokines including interleukin-12 and tumor necrosis factor alpha.


 Wu, X.; et al.Characterization of anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins in some cultivars of Ribes, Aronia, and Sambucus and their antioxidant capacity J. Agric. Food Chem. 2004, 52(26), 7846–7856.

The Benefits of Elderberry

Elderberries: What Are They? 

Even though there is no magic cure for every illness, elderberry advocates contend that this fruit is among nature’s most versatile remedies. You can find elder trees and plants around the world in about 30 varieties. 

A European version of this plant (also known as Sambucus nigra) has the closest connection to your health. 

The elder tree has a history dating back to 400 BC, and Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine,” called it his “medicine chest.” 

Nowadays, Elderberry is seen as one of the most healing plants in folk medicine.

Health benefits of Elderberries

The antioxidants and vitamins in elderberries can assist in boosting your immune system. 

Elderberries will tame inflammation, reduce stress, and protect your heart as well. 

Elderberries may help relieve cold and flu symptoms in some cases. 

Elderberries have also been used to treat:

  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Breathing problems caused by infections
  • Constipation
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Stress
  • Kidney problems
  • Epilepsy
  • Skin conditions 

Effectiveness of Elderberry

Anecdotal evidence as well as clinical trials support Elderberry’s reputation for health benefits.

Some Physicians recommend Elderberry as a safe supplement to vitamins B, B6, and E-rich foods included in a healthy diet.

Nutrition by Elderberry

A cup of elderberries contains 52.2 milligrams of vitamin C and 10.2 grams of dietary fibre. 

Additionally, it has these nutrients: 

26.7 grams of carbohydrates 

0.7 grams of fat 

1 gram of protein 

The compound in Elderberry that causes its blue colour lowers inflammation and is an antioxidant.

Uses of Elderberry

Elderberry comes in various forms, including syrups, gummies, tablets, pills, and teas, just as its uses are varied. Among others: 

  • Food colouring
  • Jams
  • Body lotions

On the American market, elderberries are often found as processed versions rather than fresh fruit.

Risks associated with Elderberry

Various experts differ on whether Elderberry is helpful, but most doctors think that small doses are safe. But unripe or uncooked berries or flowers can make you nauseous. 

Other considerations:

  • Pregnant or nursing women should avoid this.
  • Branches, leaves and roots of elderberry should not be consumed
  • Elderberries can cause reactions in people with immune problems. 
  • You may be allergic to it if you develop a rash or have difficulty breathing after consuming it. Since it is a diuretic, be careful if you want to take it with medications that make you urinate more often. 

Consider talking to your doctor before taking Elderberry.

Polyphenols, Aronia and Longevity

Polyphenols are phytochemicals naturally found in fruits and vegetables that contribute to their color,  flavor, and pharmacological activities. They serve as powerful antioxidants and are the very essence of  what makes fruits and vegetables healthy. 

Epidemiological studies and associated meta-analyses strongly indicate that long-term consumption of diets rich in plant polyphenols offers protection against development of cancers, cardiovascular  diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis and neurodegenerative diseases. Polyphenol use is associated with a  direct change in the count and differentiation of specific immune cells including an increase in T helper  cells, natural killer cells (NK), and macrophages.

In landmark research, “Oxidants, antioxidants, and the Degenerative Diseases of Aging,” published  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1993, Berkeley researchers concluded, “Low dietary intake of fruits and  vegetables doubles the risk of most types of cancer as compared to high intake and also markedly  increases the risk of heart disease and cataracts”.  

One has only to look at the Blue Zones, five regions in Europe,  Latin America, Asia and the U.S. that have the highest concentrations of centenarians in the world. Despite being  diverse culturally and geographically, one common  denominator is that the residents consume unusually high  amounts of polyphenols in their diets.

Research published in the Journal of Nutrition and Nutritional  Epidemiology (2013) titled, “High Concentrations of a  Urinary Biomarker of Polyphenol Intake Are Associated  with Decreased Mortality in Older Adults,” was the first to  examine the association between measured Total Urinary  Polyphenol (TUP) and reported Total Dietary Polyphenol (TDP)  intake as it related to all-cause mortality. The study demonstrates that overall mortality was reduced by 30% in participants who had polyphenol rich diets (>650 mg/day) in comparison with the participants  who had low polyphenol intakes (<500 mg/day). Mortality reduction was dependent on the objective  measurement of urinary polyphenol concentration, or, what people were actually processing in their diet and not just self-reporting.  

“The amount of antioxidants in your body is directly proportional to  how long you will live.” 

~ Dr. Richard Cutler, former Director of the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of  Health 

Adding years to life may not be a primary goal, but adding wellness, or life-to-years is. Longevity is  relevant because a 30% mortality reduction indicates that these older adults were not succumbing to  the major killers of cardiovascular disease, cancer and infection.

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