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Features Production Research
Blueberries may inhibit development of fat cells


April 12, 2011
By Fruit & Vegetable

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blueberries02April 12, 2011 – The
benefits of blueberry consumption have been demonstrated in several nutrition
studies, more specifically the cardio-protective benefits derived from their
high polyphenol content. Blueberries have shown potential to have a positive
effect on everything from aging to metabolic syndrome. Recently, a researcher
from Texas Woman’s University (TWU) in Denton, TX, examined whether blueberries
could play a role in reducing one of the world's greatest health challenges:
obesity.

April 12, 2011 – The
benefits of blueberry consumption have been demonstrated in several nutrition
studies, more specifically the cardio-protective benefits derived from their
high polyphenol content. Blueberries have shown potential to have a positive
effect on everything from aging to metabolic syndrome. Recently, a researcher
from Texas Woman’s University (TWU) in Denton, TX, examined whether blueberries
could play a role in reducing one of the world's greatest health challenges:
obesity.

Shiwani Moghe, MS, a
graduate student at TWU, decided to evaluate whether blueberry polyphenols play
a role in adipocyte differentiation, the process in which a relatively
unspecialized cell acquires specialized features of an adipocyte, an animal
connective tissue cell specialized for the synthesis and storage of fat. Plant
polyphenols have been shown to fight adipogenesis, which is the development of
fat cells, and induce lipolysis, which is the breakdown of lipids/fat.

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“I wanted to see if using
blueberry polyphenols could inhibit obesity at a molecular stage,” said Moghe.

The study was performed in
tissue cultures taken from mice. The polyphenols showed a dose-dependent
suppression of adipocyte differentiation. The lipid content in the control
group was significantly higher than the content of the tissue given three doses
of blueberry polyphenols. The highest dose of blueberry polyphenols yielded a
73 per cent decrease in lipids; the lowest dose showed a 27 per cent decrease.

“We still need to test
this dose in humans, to make sure there are no adverse effects, and to see if
the doses are as effective. This is a burgeoning area of research. Determining
the best dose for humans will be important,” said Moghe. “The promise is there
for blueberries to help reduce adipose tissue from forming in the body.”

These preliminary results
contribute more items to the laundry list of benefits related to blueberries,
which have already been shown to mitigate health conditions like cardiovascular
disease and metabolic syndrome.

Moghe presented her
research at the Experimental Biology 2011 meeting for the American Society for
Nutrition
on April 10.