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Thursday, February 11, 2010

More on the Benefits of Blueberries

In several earlier posts, I discussed experiments that indicate blueberries can improve memory. There is a more recent study in 9 older adults (average age was 76) who were showing early signs of deterioration in memory capability. For 12 weeks, the subjects were given daily doses approximately 2.5 cups (exact amount adjusted according to body weight) of juice made from commercially available frozen wild blueberries. Berries were thawed, pressed, filtered, pasteurized, and then bottled. A comparison group drank the same amount of fake blueberry juice.

The subjects were instructed to refrigerate the juice at home and to take prescribed daily quantities in equal, divided dosages with the morning, midday, and evening meals. Memory tests (word-pair association, word list) were given before and after the test period. Significant gains in memory ability were seen in the blueberry group. Scores on both kinds of memory tests increased about 33%.

Additionally, there was suggestive evidence that blueberry juice reduced signs of depression and lowered blood glucose levels. This needs to be pursued in future research.

In an earlier post I had summarized a study that showed that milk protein interfered with the blueberry effect. Presumably other proteins could also interfere. In other words, I am suggesting that even better results might be obtained if the juice is taken on an empty stomach (assuming of course that this does not cause upset stomach).

The beneficial effects of the blueberries are thought to be linked to their flavonoid content - in particular anthocyanins and flavanols. The exact way in which flavonoids affect the brain are unknown, but they have previously been shown to cross the blood brain barrier after dietary intake.

Krikorian, R. et al. (2010) Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults. J. Agricultural and Food Chemistry. doi: 10.1021/jf9029332


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Anonymous8:20 PM

    Pretty nice site you've got here. Thank you for it. I like such topics and everything connected to them. I would like to read more on that blog soon.

    Sincerely yours

  3. Berries are actually one of your best sources of antioxidants. It's an amazing food for the brain. They are full of flavanoids and can decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

  4. I agree about the berries. Can I also add something about cherries? cherries have anti-inflammatory compounds that can soothe arthritis & gout? New research is showing that they may also be your much needed answer in getting a good night's sleep. I'm not just talking about the sweet kind but sour cherries are few of those foods known to have naturally occurring melatonin, which is the chemical that regulates the body's circadian rhythm and sleep patterns. Perfect for insomniacs. =)

  5. I googled "why eat blueberries" simply because I was eating blueberries in front of my computer. Your blog came up and I noticed the date was February 11th 2009... Exactly one year before my daughter was born. Then I decided to take a look at what you posted on February 11th 2010.. more about blueberries... The only reason this strikes me is because I flatlined while giving birth to my daughter. Obviously I survived (it was a struggle)... but ever since the lack of oxygen to my brain has caused decreased memory function. Thanks... I will eat my blueberries... without milk!


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