Blueberries may help prevent obesity: study

Blueberries may help prevent obesity: study

Researchers at the Texas Woman's University (TWU) in the US who examined the health benefits of blueberries found that the fruit could also play an important role in reducing the world's biggest challenge -- obesity.

Blueberry, which is a rich source of vitamins, contains an antioxidant called polyphenol which helps keep the level of cholesterol under control.

The TWU researchers decided to evaluate whether blueberry polyphenols has any role in adipocyte differentiation -- the process in which a relatively unspecialised cell acquires specialised features of an adipocyte, an animal connective tissue cell specialised for the synthesis and storage of fat.

Plant polyphenols have been shown to fight adipogenesis, or the development of fat cells, and induce lipolysis -- the breakdown of lipids/fat.

"I wanted to see if using blueberry polyphenols could inhibit obesity at a molecular stage," said lead researcher Shiwani Moghe, who presented her research at a conference of American Society for Nutrition.

For their study, Moghe and her team collected tissue cultures 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.

However, the researchers said more research is needed to ascertain its health effects on humans.

Moghe said: "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.

"The promise is there for blueberries to help reduce adipose tissue from forming in the body."

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

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