Dietary Anthocyanidins and Bone Health

  • Claire J. Macdonald-ClarkeEmail author
  • Helen M. Macdonald


There is evidence to suggest that fruit and vegetable consumption is beneficial for bone health. Anthocyanins are bioactive flavonoid compounds found mostly in fruits, particularly berries, some vegetables, and wine. A diet rich in anthocyanidins is thought to have multiple health benefits, and recent studies have shown that high intakes of anthocyanidins are associated with markers of bone health. However, much is still unknown about the variation in composition of anthocyanidins in foods worldwide, and therefore it is difficult to quantify dietary intakes with certainty.

To date there have been no human intervention studies looking at anthocyanidins in relation to bone health, but anthocyanidin-rich dried fruits have shown positive effects on markers of bone health in both human observational and animal studies.

The metabolism, bioavailability, and absorption of anthocyanidins vary greatly between people, partly due to differences in gut microflora which metabolizes anthocyanidins into products such as phenolic acids. However, the processes involved with the metabolism, bioavailability, and absorption of anthocyanidins are not fully understood. Cellular studies have shown that it is the anthocyanidin metabolites and not the intact anthocyanidins that affect osteoblast differentiation. Neither anthocyanidins nor their metabolites have been studied directly on osteoclasts in vitro.

Preliminary data suggests that an anthocyanidin-rich diet may have positive effects on bone health which may in future have consequences for dietary guidelines. However, much is still to be investigated in this area particularly with regard to metabolism and cellular mechanism of action. An intervention study quantifying the effects of anthocyanidins on markers of bone health is recommended. This chapter explores the current evidence for the role of anthocyanidins in bone health.


Anthocyanidins Anthocyanins Polyphenols Flavonoids Osteoporosis Bone Bone turnover Bone mineral density 



Alkaline phosphatase


Aberdeen Prospective Osteoporosis Screening Study


Bone-specific alkaline phosphatase


Bone mineral density


C-reactive protein




Food frequency questionnaire


Helical peptide


High-performance liquid chromatography


Hormone replacement therapy


Insulin-like growth factor


Nuclear factor-κB








Parathyroid hormone




Trabecular number


Trabecular separation


Tartrate-resistant acid phosphate


US Department of Agriculture


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claire J. Macdonald-Clarke
    • 1
    Email author
  • Helen M. Macdonald
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Musculoskeletal Research ProgrammeUniversity of AberdeenForesterhill, AberdeenScotland, UK
  2. 2.Department of Musculoskeletal ResearchUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK

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