• By Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD

A Rosier Picture for Heart Disease?

Smart lifestyle choices can lessen the risk of developing heart disease for people living with type 2 diabetes, which is important because diabetes can up a person’s risk of heart disease. Along with maintaining a healthy body weight and enjoying regular physical activity, now we can add rose hip supplements to the list of things that may help ward off heart disease as well.

Daily rose hip powder supplement may reduce heart disease risk in obese people

Sipping rose hips

To study the effect of rose hip powder on type 2 diabetes and heart disease risk, researchers randomly gave 31 obese people with normal or impaired glucose tolerance a drink that contained 40 grams of rose hip powder, or a control drink, containing no rose hips. The beverages, which were consumed daily for six weeks, looked and tasted similar; the study participants and researchers did not know who was taking rose hips and who was not.

After six weeks, the subjects consumed no drinks for a two-week washout period, and then the groups were switched. As with the first study phase, the participants and researchers did not know who was taking rose hips. In comparison with the control drink, six weeks of daily consumption of the rose hip drink resulted in a significant reductions of:

  • systolic blood pressure (the top number),
  • total cholesterol,
  • LDL (“bad”) cholesterol,
  • the ratio of LDL to HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and
  • a cardiovascular disease–risk score (the Reynolds risk assessment).

There were no differences in body weight, diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number), glucose tolerance, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and markers of inflammation between the two groups in either study phase.

According to the study authors, these study findings indicate that rose hip powder “may represent an attractive alternative to statin treatment for people that, because of muscle pain and increases in liver and muscle enzymes, do not tolerate statins.”

How to be “hip”

This study found that a daily rose hip powder supplement may reduce heart disease risk in obese people by lowering systolic blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If you are interested in trying rose hips to lower your heart disease risk, keep the following in mind:

  • Participants took a 40-gram rose hip powder supplement for just six weeks. It is unknown if these results will last over the long term.
  • Rose hip powder is considered safe for most people. However, as with all dietary supplements, you should consult a qualified healthcare provider before adding it to your self-care routine.
  • Rose hip powder is high in vitamin C. If you already take a vitamin C supplement, ask your doctor if it is safe to take additional vitamin C from rose hip powder.
  • Don’t count on a dietary supplement, even a safe and possibly effective one such as rose hip powder, to address all of your health risk factors. Many smart lifestyle choices—being physically active, maintaining a healthy body weight, and eating plenty of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and legumes—are proven to reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes.

(Eur J Clin Nutr 2012;66:585–90)

Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD

Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by the New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.

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