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Blueberries are one of the common foods found right in front of our eyes that ought to have “superfood” status.
No need to search high and low in unexplored corners of the earth for the most health-boosting, healing superfoods.
Sometimes they’ve been right in front of us our whole lives.
Wild Blueberry Study
To that end and to further examine the health-enhancing power of these extremely common berries, researchers from the University of Maine and the University of Milan set out to test wild blueberries’ ability to reduce inflammation, specifically in rats with metabolic syndrome (MetS).
Note: This information is presented for informational purposes only and not in support of the study’s methods.
Metabolic syndrome is a condition with a variety of symptoms, including but not limited to obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, and proinflammatory status.
Chronic levels of inflammation have been shown to potentially lead to a number of chronic conditions, which is part of the reason the researchers chose to study how it might be lowered via dietary interventions.
To test this, the researchers studied two groups of rats: lean Zucker rats (LZR) and obese Zucker rats (OZR). OZRs were chosen due to their reputation as a valid experimental model for human MetS.
It was the researchers contention that diet can potentially reduce chronic inflammation by “influencing the expression of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines.” This is due to previous studies in vitro and in animal models which showed compounds such as polyphenols to affect the expression of genes involved in inflammation.
Enter wild blueberries, one of the foods with the highest polyphenol contents that is available commercially.
They divided the two types of rats into two groups: one that ate a control diet and one whose diet contained 8% freeze-dried wild blueberry powder.
Compared to the control, wild blueberry consumption resulted in a significant reduction in the levels of the following inflammatory markers in plasma within the OZR group, compared to the control:
A similar trend was seen in the LZR group, although it was not statistically significant. It should be noted that the beginning levels of these markers were significantly lower in the LZR group to begin with.
A reduction was also seen in the liver, except at much higher levels. Following are the percentage reductions in inflammatory markers in the OZR group, compared to the control:
What is pretty astonishing is the fact that, while the expressions of these markers were much higher in the OZR group than the LZR group at the beginning of the study, after the dietary intervention of wild blueberries those differences were almost completely reversed.
Adiponectin, of which low levels are correlated with a number of symptoms including type II diabetes and coronary heart disease and which is also inhibited by the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α, was found to be increased by the wild blueberry intervention in both groups of rats.
In conclusion, the researchers found “a clear reduction in circulating markers of inflammatory status as well as their reduced expression levels, in both the adipose tissue and the liver.” They also observed improvements in the healthier, lean rats with regard to liver expression.
Per the researchers, the anti-inflammatory effects of wild blueberry diets may suggest “a nonpharmacologic approach in preventing and/or improving risk factors of the MetS and its associated cardiometabolic abnormalities.”
While these results are very promising and not necessarily in dispute, it must be noted that it was funded by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America. That does not necessarily negate the results, but it must be disclosed.
Do not consume anything written about on this website if you are allergic to it or if it contraindicates any medication or other substance you are taking. Please consult a physician before consuming anything.
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