Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blueberries: cardiovascular and now dementia benefits?

Study out in April showing preliminary data that blueberry juice has a significant benefit in memory function.  Also tracing the anti-cancer benefits of something called "blueberry punch," basically Sangria with lots of blueberries.  Where is it being marketed?  You guessed it, southeast Asia.  Meanwhile we're drinking noni and acai berries from very far away.  While don't we just focus on our own local high anti-oxidant foods? 

I was just featured in Eat Locally!  Yay! 

J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Apr 14;58(7):3996-4000.
Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults.

Krikorian R, Shidler MD, Nash TA, Kalt W, Vinqvist-Tymchuk MR, Shukitt-Hale B, Joseph JA.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center, Cincinnati, Ohio 45267-0559, USA.

The prevalence of dementia is increasing with expansion of the older adult population. In the absence of effective therapy, preventive approaches are essential to address this public health problem. Blueberries contain polyphenolic compounds, most prominently anthocyanins, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, anthocyanins have been associated with increased neuronal signaling in brain centers, mediating memory function as well as improved glucose disposal, benefits that would be expected to mitigate neurodegeneration. This study investigated the effects of daily consumption of wild blueberry juice in a sample of nine older adults with early memory changes. At 12 weeks, improved paired associate learning (p = 0.009) and word list recall (p = 0.04) were observed. In addition, there were trends suggesting reduced depressive symptoms (p = 0.08) and lower glucose levels (p = 0.10). We also compared the memory performances of the blueberry subjects with a demographically matched sample who consumed a berry placebo beverage in a companion trial of identical design and observed comparable results for paired associate learning. The findings of this preliminary study suggest that moderate-term blueberry supplementation can confer neurocognitive benefit and establish a basis for more comprehensive human trials to study preventive potential and neuronal mechanisms.

PMID: 20047325 [PubMed - in process]

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