New Research Study Indicates Wild Blueberries Improve Fat Oxidation Rates
In a recently published pilot study where male participants consumed the powder equivalent of about one cup of wild blueberries daily for two weeks, it was found that their fat oxidation rates improved during a period of moderate-intensity cycling (1). Fat oxidation (FAT-ox) is the rate at which fatty acids are broken down and converted into energy for the body, which is an important part of the body’s metabolic energy systems. This study is one of the first to explore exactly how wild blueberries elicit greater fat oxidation rates and can support a healthy and active lifestyle.
“This pilot study indicates that consuming wild blueberries daily can help increase the rate at which we can burn fat during moderate-intensity exercise,” explained Taylor Bloedon, PhD, RD, CSSD and Associate Professor at CalPoly Humboldt University.
“The men in our study consumed a freeze-dried powder equivalent to about 1 cup wild blueberries—a very achievable amount for consumers. And the fact that the men in our study were not elite athletes or even trained cyclists, means the results are highly likely transferable to the average exercise enthusiast or recreational athlete.”
Why Wild Blueberries?
“Having studied in Maine, I’m very familiar with wild blueberries and their nutritional components. We specifically chose wild blueberries for this study because they have a higher anthocyanin content than ordinary blueberries,” explained Bloedon.
While wild blueberries tend to stand out from other blueberries due to their flavor intensity, small size, and deep blue color, they’re also packed with superior nutritional benefits. Specifically, wild blueberries contain 33% more heart-healthy anthocyanins when compared to their cultivated high-bush cousins. Wild blueberries grow in harsh environmental conditions, which contributes to their dense and diverse phytochemical profile. Wild blueberry phytochemicals have been found to have a wide variety of health benefits, including improving cardiovascular health, supporting cognitive function, and more.
“There have been a number of research studies that indicate beneficial impacts of wild blueberry consumption for elite athletes, but this study shows there are potential benefits for everyday exercisers as well,” says Kitty Broihier, MS, RD, LD, the nutrition advisor for the Wild Blueberry Association of North America. “Wild blueberries are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and health-supporting bioactive components. Knowing that these little berries can also impact how efficiently our bodies burn fat gives consumers yet another reason to get their daily scoop of wild blueberries.”
Doors Open to Further Explore Effects of WBs on FAT-ox & Exercise
Based on the positive results of the pilot study, Dr. Bloedon began an expanded project in collaboration with other CalPoly researchers. She and her team will be further examining the effects of wild blueberries on fat oxidation and exercise. The project aims to measure substrate oxidation in men and women following four weeks of wild blueberry consumption.
Bloedon added, “I’m looking forward to the results of our current, larger trial where we are investigating the effects of wild blueberry supplementation on fat oxidation during exercise in both men and women at higher exercise intensities.”
- “Effects of Wild Blueberries on Fat Oxidation Rates in Aerobically Trained Males”
By Kari D. Pilolla, Jessie Armendariz, Boe M. Burrus, David S. Baston, Karli A. McCarthy and Taylor K. Bloedon. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/15/6/1339