2022 Research: Blueberries Lower Effects of High Fat & Sugar in Diet
An article in Clinical nutrition (2022): A clinical study with 45 participants found that when blueberries are added to high fat and high sugar meals can reduce the effects of these foods, and support heart health and weight management (Curtis et al., 2022).
The conclusion of the clinical study is that blueberries with energy dense foods of fats and sugars: "reducing insulinaemia and Glucose levels, lowering cholesterol, and improving HDL-C, fractions of HjDJjL_P, Apo-A1." (Curtis et al., 2022).
Background & aims: Whilst the cardioprotective effects of blueberry intake have been shown in pro- spective studies and short-term randomized controlled trials (RCTs), it is unknown whether anthocyanin-rich blueberries can attenuate the postprandial, cardiometabolic dysfunction which follows energy-dense food intakes; especially in at-risk populations. We therefore examined whether adding blueberries to a high-fat/high-sugar meal affected the postprandial cardiometabolic response over 24 h. Methods: A parallel, double-blind RCT (n 1⁄4 45; age 63.4 7.4 years; 64% male; BMI 31.4 ± 3.1 kg/m2) was conducted in participants with metabolic syndrome. After baseline assessments, an energy-dense drink (969 Kcals, 64.5 g fat, 84.5 g carbohydrate, 17.9 g protein) was consumed with either 26 g (freeze-dried) blueberries (equivalent to 1 cup/150 g fresh blueberries) or 26 g isocaloric matched placebo. Repeat blood samples (30, 60, 90, 120, 180, 360 min and 24 h), a 24 h urine collection and vascular measures (at 3, 6, and 24 h) were performed. Insulin and glucose, lipoprotein levels, endothelial function (flow mediated dilatation (FMD)), aortic and systemic arterial stiffness (pulse wave velocity (PWV), Augmentation Index (AIx) respectively), blood pressure (BP), and anthocyanin metabolism (serum and 24 h urine) were assessed.
Results: Blueberries favorably affected postprandial (0e24 h) concentrations of glucose (p < 0.001), in- sulin (p < 0.01), total cholesterol (p 1⁄4 0.04), HDL-C, large HDL particles (L-HDL-P) (both p < 0.01), extra- large HDL particles (XL-HDL-P; p 1⁄4 0.04) and Apo-A1 (p 1⁄4 0.01), but not LDL-C, TG, or Apo-B. After a transient higher peak glucose concentration at 1 h after blueberry intake ([8.2 mmol/L, 95%CI: 7.7, 8.8] vs placebo [6.9 mmol/L, 95%CI: 6.4, 7.4]; p 1⁄4 0.001), blueberries significantly attenuated 3 h glucose ([4.3 mmol/L, 95%CI: 3.8, 4.8] vs placebo [5.1 mmol/L, 95%CI: 4.6, 5.6]; p 1⁄4 0.03) and insulin concen- trations (blueberry: [23.4 pmol/L, 95%CI: 15.4, 31.3] vs placebo [52.9 pmol/L, 95%CI: 41.0, 64.8]; p 1⁄4 0.0001). Blueberries also improved HDL-C ([1.12 mmol/L, 95%CI: 1.06, 1.19] vs placebo [1.08 mmol/L, 95%CI: 1.02, 1.14]; p 1⁄4 0.04) at 90 min and XL-HDLP levels ([0.38 10-6, 95%CI: 0.35, 0.42] vs placebo [0.35 10-6, 95%CI: 0.32, 0.39]; p 1⁄4 0.02) at 3 h. Likewise, significant improvements were observed 6 h after blueberries for HDL-C ([1.17 mmol/L, 95%CI: 1.11, 1.24] vs placebo [1.10 mmol/L, 95%CI: 1.03, 1.16]; p < 0.001), Apo-A1 ([1.37 mmol/L, 95%CI: 1.32, 1.41] vs placebo [1.31 mmol/L, 95%CI: 1.27, 1.35]; p 1⁄4 0.003), L-HDLP ([0.70 10-6, 95%CI: 0.60, 0.81] vs placebo [0.59 10-6, 95%CI: 0.50, 0.68]; p 1⁄4 0.003) and XL-HDLP ([0.44 10-6, 95%CI: 0.40, 0.48] vs placebo [0.40 10-6, 95%CI: 0.36, 0.44]; p < 0.001). Similarly, total cholesterol levels were significantly lower 24 h after blueberries ([4.9 mmol/L, 95%CI: 4.6, 5.1] vs placebo [5.0 mmol/L, 95%CI: 4.8, 5.3]; p 1⁄4 0.04). Conversely, no effects were observed for FMD, PWV, AIx and BP. As anticipated, total anthocyanin-derived phenolic acid metabolite concen- trations significantly increased in the 24 h after blueberry intake; especially hippuric acid (6-7-fold serum increase, 10-fold urinary increase). In exploratory analysis, a range of serum/urine metabolites were associated with favorable changes in total cholesterol, HDL-C, XL-HDLP and Apo-A1 (R 1⁄4 0.43 to 0.50).
Conclusions: For the first time, in an at-risk population, we show that single-exposure to the equivalent of 1 cup blueberries (provided as freeze-dried powder) attenuates the deleterious postprandial effects of consuming an energy-dense high-fat/high-sugar meal over 24 h; reducing insulinaemia and glucose levels, lowering cholesterol, and improving HDL-C, fractions of HDL-P and Apo-A1. Consequently, intake of anthocyanin-rich blueberries may reduce the acute cardiometabolic burden of energy-dense meals. Article
suggested amount: 2 capsules of Phyto Power with high density foods; and 1 capsule of Blueberry Extract with high density foods.
- Curtis, P. J., Berends, L., van der Velpen, V., Jennings, A., Haag, L., Chandra, P., ... & Cassidy, A. (2022). Blueberry anthocyanin intake attenuates the postprandial cardiometabolic effect of an energy-dense food challenge: results from a double blind, randomized controlled trial in metabolic syndrome participants. Clinical Nutrition, 41(1), 165-176. Article
Seann and Dohrea
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Mary Ann Lila is the Director of The Plants For Health Institute at North Carolina State University. She is one of the seminal researchers in the use of blueberries, for human health.
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