Blueberries: Super Food and Fat Cells

July 28, 2011

Blueberries:  Super Food and Fat Cells 

 Competency:  Really Good Food Reference:  Science Daily, April 11, 2011 from a presentation at the Experimental Biology 2011 meeting for the American Society for Nutrition on April 10. 

Michigan blueberries are in!  And I can’t help but note this research news that came across the wires a month or so ago.   Blueberries help fight the development of fat tissue! Shiwani Moghe, from Texas Christian University, decided to test whether fat cells growing in tissue culture would have a reduction in their differentiation by blueberries.   What she found was that they did.  And a lot.  She found that the more blueberry polyphenols she put in with the fat stem cells, the more the tissue culture stem cells refused to change into mature fat cells.  The blueberry polyphenols reduced the differentiation into fat cells by up to 76%.  "I wanted to see if using blueberry polyphenols could inhibit obesity at a molecular stage," said Moghe. 

 This is very, very basic science on stem cells from mice, so in no way can be shown to be proof for humans.  But I suspect she won’t have any trouble finding volunteers to give away a few human fat cells for research.  I have a few right here to share.  It’s the picture that’s being painted for polyphenols from all plants that matters.  This column has reported how Dr Joseph from Tufts found that rats with Alzheimer’s, when fed 10% of their calories as blueberries, never developed Alzheimer’s.  

There have been other reports that blueberries, eaten regularly, reduce the risk for developing metabolic syndrome.  Metabolic syndrome is what we all have when our blood sugar is a tiny bit high, our blood pressure a tiny bit high, our cholesterol a tiny bit high, but we aren’t sick yet with anything.  Reversing metabolic syndrome is part and parcel of preventing Alzheimer’s.  Ditto for heart disease.  You can see the implications of this spreading. The Tufts research group developed a concept called the ORAC score, which stands for the potency of the anti-oxidant ability of different foods.  ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity.  Blueberries get about a 3500 for a serving (1/2 cup).  Bananas get 100.  Many berries get scores over 2500.  And in general, the brighter the color, the higher the score.  Goji berries and Acai berries are even better, just way more expensive.  Pomegranate is another particularly good score.  We should all try and have about 10,000 ORAC points a day.  

Blueberries are best! And it may not be the anti-oxidant quality that matters.  It may be that these polyphenols talk directly to the inflammation source and turn off NKκB, our “uber-controller” of inflammation.   Even better.  Blueberries appear to be stars! 

 WWW. What will work for me.  I just went to Brennan’s and bought fresh Michigan Fat Boy Blueberries.  Picked at the peak of the season, they are the highest ORAC score of them all.  And I eat them every day on my cereal year around.  Try some!

Written by John E. Whitcomb, MD Brookfield Longevity and Healthy Living Clinic 262-784-5300