Botanical name: Vaccinium uliginosum
Blueberry (also Bilberry) is a perennial shrub from the genus Vaccinium, native to Northern Europe, Northern America and Canada. The plant produces a fruit similar to the American blueberry, but containing higher quantities of constituents useful for visual acuity and night blindness. It is high in fiber and vitaminc C. The dried fruit and leaves are the applicable parts used.
Blueberry is useful as an antioxidant and helps to strengthen red blood cells and capillaries around the eyes and for preventing cataracts and glaucoma. Bluberry benefits capillaries to improve circulation. It is rich in fatty acids, bioflavonoids, iron, zinc and phosphorus. Blueberry also contains loeanolic and ursolic acids, magnesium, selenium and trace amounts of sodium and calcium.
Blueberry is also useful as an astringent and antiseptic, helpful in diarrhea, dysentery and ulcers. It helps to strengthen the immune system and is also of benefit for relieving stress, inflammation and anxiety.
It is a rich source of anthocyanins, found to reduce inflammation, scavenge free radicals and reduce cellular permeability. Ethyl acetate extracts of Blueberry fruit inhibit ornithin decarboxylase, which is a key enzyme in tumor progression. Preliminary research suggests that the antioxidant effects might have anticancer activity and may potentially reduce normal oxidataive cellular damage occurring with age.
Bluberry is anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic and antispasmodic. It is known to improve poor night vision, bruising, capillary fragility, varicose veins, poor circulation, Raynaud's disease, circulation complications due to diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and periodontal disease. Like it's relative, the cranberry, it also appears to prevent bacterial adhesion to the bladder and bacterial colonization. Further uses include for preventing urinary tract infections (UTI), multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, dever, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, improving circulation and as a laxative.
The dried leaves can be made into tea to help treat sore throats and other inflammations of the mouth or mucous membranes of the throat.
back to top
Published Clinical Studiescl top
Anti-angiogenic, antioxidant, and anti-carcinogenic properties of a novel anthocyanin-rich berry extract formula.
Bagchi D, Sen CK, Bagchi M, Atalay M.
Department of Pharmacy Sciences, Creighton University Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68178, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Edible berry anthocyanins possess a broad spectrum of therapeutic and anti-carcinogenic properties. Berries are rich in anthocyanins, compounds that provide pigmentation to fruits and serve as natural antioxidants. Anthocyanins repair and protect genomic DNA integrity. Earlier studies have shown that berry anthocyanins are beneficial in reducing age-associated oxidative stress, as well as in improving neuronal and cognitive brain function. Six berry extracts (wild blueberry, bilberry, cranberry, elderberry, raspberry seeds, and strawberry) were studied for antioxidant efficacy, cytotoxic potential, cellular uptake, and anti-angiogenic (the ability to reduce unwanted growth of blood vessels, which can lead to varicose veins and tumor formation) properties. We evaluated various combinations of edible berry extracts and developed a synergistic formula, OptiBerry IH141, which exhibited high ORAC (Oxygen-Radical Absorbing Capacity) value, low cytotoxicity, and superior anti-angiogenic properties compared to the other combinations tested. Anti-angiogenic approaches to treat cancer represent a priority area in vascular tumor biology. OptiBerry significantly inhibited both H2O2- and TNF-alpha-induced VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) expression by human keratinocytes. VEGF is a key regulator of tumor angiogenesis. Matrigel assay using human microvascular endothelial cells showed that OptiBerry impaired angiogenesis. In an in vivo model of angiogenesis, OptiBerry significantly inhibited basal MCP-1 and inducible NF-kappaB transcriptions. Endothelioma cells pretreated with OptiBerry showed a diminished ability to form hemangioma and markedly decreased tumor growth by more than 50%. In essence, these studies highlight the novel anti-angiogenic, antioxidant, and anti-carcinogenic potential of a novel anthocyanin-rich berry extract formula, OptiBerry.
PMID: 14972022 [PubMed - in process]
Green tea extract suppresses the age-related increase in collagen crosslinking and fluorescent products in C57BL/6 mice.
Rutter K, Sell DR, Fraser N, Obrenovich M, Zito M, Starke-Reed P, Monnier VM.
Yorktown High School, Arlington, VA 22207, USA.
Collagen crosslinking during aging in part results from Maillard reaction endproducts of glucose and oxoaldehydes. Because of the tight link between oxidative and carbonyl stress, we hypothesized that natural antioxidants and "nutriceuticals" could block collagen aging in C57BL/6 mice. Six groups of young and adult mice received vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin C&E, blueberry, green tea extract (GTE), or no treatment for a period of 14 weeks. Body weights and collagen glycation were unaltered by the treatment. However, GTE or vitamin C&E combined blocked tendon crosslinking at 10 months of age (p < 0.05, adult group). GTE also blocked fluorescent products at 385 and 440 nm (p = 0.052 and < 0.05, respectively) and tended to decrease skin pentosidine levels. These results suggest that green tea is able to delay collagen aging by an antioxidant mechanism that is in part duplicated by the combination of vitamin C and E.
PMID: 14743550 [PubMed - in process]
Blueberry supplementation enhances signaling and prevents behavioral deficits in an Alzheimer disease model.
Joseph JA, Denisova NA, Arendash G, Gordon M, Diamond D, Shukitt-Hale B, Morgan D.
USDA-HNRCA at Tufts University, 711 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111, USA. email@example.com
Previously, we showed that blueberry (BB) supplementation reversed the deleterious effects of aging on motor behavior and neuronal signaling in senescent rodents. We now report that BB-fed (from 4 months of age) APP + PS1 transgenic mice showed no deficits in Y-maze performance (at 12 months of age) with no alterations in amyloid beta burden. It appeared that the protective mechanisms are derived from BB-induced enhancement of memory-associated neuronal signaling (e.g. extracellular signal-regulated kinase) and alterations in neutral sphingomyelin-specific phospholipase C activity. Thus, our data indicate for the first time that it may be possible to overcome genetic predispositions to Alzheimer disease through diet.
PMID: 12793519 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Oxygen radical absorbing capacity of phenolics in blueberries, cranberries, chokeberries, and lingonberries.
Zheng W, Wang SY.
Fruit Laboratory, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA.
The antioxidant activity of phenolics in fruits of blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum cv. Sierra), cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon cv. Ben Lear), wild chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa), and lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea cv. Amberland) was determined in this study. The phenolic constituents and contents among the different berries varied considerably. Anthocyanins were found to be the main components in all these berries. Chlorogenic acid in blueberry, quercetin glycosides in cranberry and lingonberry, and caffeic acid and its derivative in chokeberry were also present in relatively high concentrations. Chlorogenic acid, peonidin 3-galactoside, cyanidin 3-galactoside, and cyanidin 3-galactoside were the most important antioxidants in blueberry, cranberry, wild chokeberry, and lingonberry, respectively. The contribution of individual phenolics to the total antioxidant capacity was generally dependent on their structure and content in the berries. Phenolics such as quercetin and cyanidin, with 3',4'-dihydroxy substituents in the B ring and conjugation between the A and B rings, had highly effective radical scavenging structures in blueberries, cranberries, chokeberries, and lingonberries. Phenolic acids such as caffeic acid also showed high antioxidant activity, probably due to its dihydroxylation in the 3,4 positions as hydrogen donors.
PMID: 12517117 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Fruit polyphenolics and brain aging: nutritional interventions targeting age-related neuronal and behavioral deficits.
Galli RL, Shukitt-Hale B, Youdim KA, Joseph JA.
USDA-ARS, HNRCA at Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Nutritional interventions, in this case, increasing dietary intake of fruits and vegetables, can retard and even reverse age-related declines in brain function and in cognitive and motor performance in rats. Our lab has shown that as Fischer 344 rats age their brains are increasingly vulnerable to oxidative stress. Dietary supplementation with fruit or vegetable extracts high in antioxidants (e.g., blueberry, BB, spinach, respectively) can decrease this vulnerability to oxidative stress as assessed in vivo by examining reductions in neuronal signaling and behavioral deficits and in vitro via H2O2-induced decrements in striatal synaptosomal calcium buffering. Examinations have also revealed that BB supplementations are effective in antagonizing other age-related changes in brain and behavior, as well as decreasing indices of inflammation and oxidative stress in gastrocnemius and quadriceps muscles. In ongoing studies we are attempting to determine the most effective BB polyphenolic components. To date, the anthocyanins show the most efficacy in penetrating the cell membrane and in providing antioxidant protection. In sum, our results indicate that increasing dietary intake of fruits and vegetables high in antioxidant activity may be an important component of a healthy living strategy designed to maximize neuronal and cognitive functioning into old age.
PMID: 11976192 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Reversals of age-related declines in neuronal signal transduction, cognitive, and motor behavioral deficits with blueberry, spinach, or strawberry dietary supplementation.
Joseph JA, Shukitt-Hale B, Denisova NA, Bielinski D, Martin A, McEwen JJ, Bickford PC.
United States Department of Agriculture, Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.
Ample research indicates that age-related neuronal-behavioral decrements are the result of oxidative stress that may be ameliorated by antioxidants. Our previous study had shown that rats given dietary supplements of fruit and vegetable extracts with high antioxidant activity for 8 months beginning at 6 months of age retarded age-related declines in neuronal and cognitive function. The present study showed that such supplements (strawberry, spinach, or blueberry at 14.8, 9.1, or 18.6 gm of dried aqueous extract per kilogram of diet, respectively) fed for 8 weeks to 19-month-old Fischer 344 rats were also effective in reversing age-related deficits in several neuronal and behavioral parameters including: oxotremorine enhancement of K(+)-evoked release of dopamine from striatal slices, carbachol-stimulated GTPase activity, striatal Ca(45) buffering in striatal synaptosomes, motor behavioral performance on the rod walking and accelerod tasks, and Morris water maze performance. These findings suggest that, in addition to their known beneficial effects on cancer and heart disease, phytochemicals present in antioxidant-rich foods may be beneficial in reversing the course of neuronal and behavioral aging.
PMID: 10479711 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]