Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland tracked the impact of supplementation of wild blueberries, or bilberries, on inflammatory cell and cytokine levels, systolic blood pressure, glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity and weight gain in mice.
The mice were fed either a normal control diet (10% kcal fat) or a high-fat diet (45% kcal fat) for a period of three months, with the experiment group diets supplemented with either 5% or 10% freeze-dried bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus).
The study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, showed the high-fat diet mice gained significant weight and experienced negative changes in glucose and lipid metabolism, inflammation factors and blood pressure.
However, those given bilberries saw these metabolic disturbances improved or prevented, as shown by a changed cytokine profile and a reduced occurrence of inflammation-supporting T-cells. High-fat diet induced raised blood pressure was also prevented, with these effects being particularly significant for the 10% bilberry group.
Targeting a cluster
They said that, since these obesity-associated problems are usually clustered, a dietary approach that tackles all of them may be more beneficial that treating hypertension or abnormal glucose levels alone.
“Our findings attest to the epidemiological and clinical evidence supporting bilberries as a promising candidate for the prevention of obesity related hypertension and low-grade inflammation,” the researchers wrote.
Source: PLoS ONE
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0114790
“Wild Blueberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) Alleviate Inflammation and Hypertension Associated with Developing Obesity in Mice Fed with a High-Fat Diet”
Authors: O. T. Mykkänen, A. Huotari, K. H. Herzig, T. W. Dunlop, H. Mykkänen, P. V. Kirjavainen