Nutr Res Pract.  2020 Aug;14(4):322-333. 10.4162/nrp.2020.14.4.322.

The fruit of Acanthopanax senticosus Harms improves arterial stiffness and blood pressure: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial

  • 1Department of Nutritional Science and Food Management, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea
  • 2Ewha Graduate School of Converging Clinical & Public Health, Seoul 03760, Korea
  • 3Department of Food Science and Technology, Seoul National University of Science and Technology, Seoul 01811, Korea
  • 4Cardiovascular Center, Dongguk University Ilsan Hospital, Goyang 10326, Korea


Arterial stiffness and endothelial dysfunction are 2 of the independent predictors for cardiovascular disease, while Acanthopanax senticosus Harms (ASH) is a traditional medicinal plant that can improve cardiovascular health. This study aimed to investigate the efficacy of the fruit of ASH on vascular function in apparently healthy subjects.
A 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design, consisting of healthy adults with at least 2 of the following 3 conditions: borderline high blood pressure (BP; 120 mmHg ≤ systolic BP ≤ 160 mmHg or 80 mmHg ≤ diastolic BP ≤ 100 mmHg), smoking (≥10 cigarettes/day), and borderline blood lipid levels (220 ≤ total cholesterol ≤ 240, 130 ≤ low density lipoprotein cholesterol ≤ 165, or 150 ≤ triglyceride ≤ 220 mg/dL). Randomly assigned 76 subjects who received a placebo or 2 doses of ASH fruit (low, 500 mg/day; high, 1,000 mg/day) completed the intervention. Brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), flow-mediated dilation, carotid intima-media thickness, and BP were measured both at baseline and following the 12-week intervention. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) phosphorylation was assessed by western blotting.
Compared with the placebo group, the low-dose group showed more significant changes after the 12-week intervention period in terms of systolic BP (0.1 vs. −7.7 mmHg; P = 0.044), baPWV (31.3 vs. −98.7 cm/s; P = 0.007), and the ratio of phospho-eNOS/eNOS (0.8 vs. 1.22; P = 0.037).
These results suggest that ASH fruit extract at 500 mg/day has the potential to improve BP and arterial stiffness via endothelial eNOS activation in healthy adults with smoking and the tendency of having elevated BP or blood lipid parameters.


Vascular stiffness; cardiovascular diseases; Acanthopanax; pulse wave velocity; endothelial nitric oxide synthase
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