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Recent interest has focused on the potential of naturally occurring flavonoids known as anthocyanins to provide an array of health benefits in humans. The purpose of this review was to examine the current literature database and provide an update of the health benefits and potential mechanisms associated with ingestion of anthocyanins in humans. Every effort was made to include relevant research from 2005 to present. The following search parameters were designated for paper selection in this review: 1) Search Terms- anthocyanins, blueberries, antioxidants, polyphenols, vascular performance, immune function, flavanols, berry-scourced, metabolites; 2) Search Engines- Science Direct, PubMed, Google Scholar. A total of 83 scientific papers were found to meet the search parameters. Critical review of these selected papers indicates that anthocyanins function as antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, and modulators of vascular performance and immune function. Consequently, anthocyanins demonstrate unique abilities to reduce risk of cancer, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. In conclusion, increased dietary anthocyanin consumption represents a safe, economical, and important method of reducing incidence of chronic disease in humans and may even serve as non-pharmacologic treatment for such diseases.
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