Over 20 Years of Health Research

Since 1997, the Wild Blueberry Association of North America (WBANA) has been collaborating with elite scientists to help study the health benefits of wild blueberries. WBANA is dedicated to furthering research that explores the health potential of wild blueberries and annually funds research studies that help advance the understanding of the nutritional and human health benefits of wild blueberries.

Each year, WBANA has hosts the Wild Blueberry Health Research Summit in Bar Harbor, Maine, a worldwide gathering of renowned scientists and researchers from leading institutions representing broad disciplines — from cardiovascular health to cancer to heart disease, osteoporosis, neurological diseases of aging, and more. Their work is leading the way to learn more about the health benefits of wild blueberries, and their findings, which use rigorous methodology, are documented in a growing number of published studies on the potential health and disease-fighting benefits of wild blueberries. All published research studies are written by and submitted to peer-reviewed journals by the researcher, independent of WBANA.

Below are scientific research papers that provide more detail into the role wild blueberries may play in promoting human health.

Cyanidin-3-O-glucoside attenuates acute lung injury in sepsis rats

Yan, Xuerui; Wu, Lin; Li, Bin; Meng, Xianjun; Dai, Hanping; Zheng, Yanan; Fu, Junfan
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Background Sepsis is a complex syndrome with high mortality, which often induces acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Cyanidin-3-O-glucoside (C3G), the most active anthocyanin in the blueberry extracts, has been demonstrated to have pulmonary protective effects in some ALI models. This study aims to evaluate the potential protective effect of C3G on sepsis-evoked ALI in rats. Materials and methods Cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) was performed on Sprague–Dawley rats to establish sepsis-induced ALI model. Rats were injected intraperitoneally with 10 or 30 mg/kg of C3G after CLP and then the survival was recorded every 12 h for 96 h. The pulmonary protective effects of C3G on CLP-induced ALI were evaluated at 24 h after CLP. Results The results demonstrated that C3G treatment significantly improved the survival rate of CLP rats and attenuated CLP-induced lung injury, including reduction of lung wet/dry weight ratio, protein leak, infiltration of leukocytes, and myeloperoxidase activity. In addition, C3G markedly decreased malondialdehyde content and increased superoxide dismutase activity and glutathione level. Serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1β, and interleukin-6 were also decreased by C3G administration, as well as protein expression of cyclooxygenase-2 and production of prostaglandin E2 in the lung. Furthermore, C3G treatment upregulated protein expression of inhibitors of NF-κBα and downregulated expressions of nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) p65 and p-p65 in the lung, thereby inhibiting the NF-κB-DNA binding activity. Conclusions These findings indicate that C3G exerts pulmonary protective effects on CLP-induced ALI rats. The effect may be associated with NF-κB signaling pathway suppression. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Copyright of Journal of Surgical Research is the property of Academic Press Inc. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

[Polyphenolic composition of the leaf of bilberry]

Fraisse, D.; Carnat, A.; Lamaison, J. L.
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Dried leaves of 14 harvested batches and one batch from commercial origine of Vaccinium myrtillus L present a similar polyphenolic pattern. The mean levels of the harvested batches and the levels of the commercial batch were respectively: total polyphenol compounds 12.98 and 10.62%, tannins 7.84 and 7.43%, total flavonoid compounds 2.98 and 2.20% (spectrophotometry), 1.41 and 1.16% (HPLC), quercetin 3-glucuronide 1.02 and 0.83%, hyperoside 0.22 and 0.16%, chlorogenic acid 3.66 and 1.58%. The levels were higher in young leaves and lower in old leaves. A specific chromatographic profile of the flavonoid compounds and a determination method of the tannin or the total polyphenol content were proposed in a standardization purpose.


JevtiĆ, Marija; Pantelinac, Jelena; JovanoviĆ IliĆ, Tatjana; PetroviĆ, Vasa; GrgiĆ, Olja; BlaŽIĆ, Larisa
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Introduction. Pregnancy may pose an increased risk for the development of caries and other oral health problems. Continuous screening of oral health status, implementing appropriate preventive measures (particularly oral hygiene, healthy diet plans and education) is of paramount importance not only for oral health but also for the general health status of the future mother and her offspring. Effects of Food on Caries Development. Caries prevention through healthy diet implicates the reduction in frequency and amount of intake of cariogenic food, above all of refined carbohydrates, i.e. sugars and sweets. Foods known to have caries-prophylactic effects should predominate in healthy diet plans. They mainly include solid foods, which have mechanical effects on teeth cleaning, as well as foods providing sufficient amounts of vitamins (A, C, D) and a variety of elements and compounds (calcium, phosphates, fluorides) favoring the preservation and remineralization of tooth structures. Education of Pregnant Women on Healhy Deit. In accomplishing these goals, education and direct positive communication between the educator and the pregnant woman play a crucial role. Educative approach is always individual and determined by the patient’s specific cultural and socioeconomic features and status, as well as her habits, motivation and willingness to accept relevant recommendations. Accomplishing the aforementioned goals requires the appropriate organization and professional competence within the preventive dental service and its close cooperation with the relevant medical institutions and social support in the framework of public health protection. Conclusion. Preserving of oral health during pregnancy is predominantly influenced by the following factors: 1) healthy diet, 2) oral hygiene, 3) patients’ education, 4) regular control of oral health, 5) appropriate organization of dental services and 6) community engagement. (English) [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Uvod. Tokom trudnoće rizik za nastanak karijesa zuba i drugih poremećaja oralnog zdravlja je povećan. Redovni skrining stanja oralnog zdravlja, sprovođenje odgovarajućih preventivnih mera (prvenstveno oralne higijene, zdrave ishrane i edukacije) veoma su značajni ne samo za oralno zdravlje nego i za opšte zdravstveno stanje buduće majke i njenog potomstva. Uticaj hrane na razvoj karijesa. U prevenciji karijesa zdravim načinom ishrane treba redukovati učestalost i količinu unosa kariogene hrane, prvenstveno rafinisanih ugljenih hidrata, odnosno šećera i slatkiša. U zdravoj ishrani prednost ima hrana sa profilaktičkim dejstvom na karijes. Ovde spada čvršća hrana, koja ima mehanički efekat u odnosu na čišćenje zuba, kao i hrana koja obezbeđuje dovoljan unos vitamina (A, C, D) i određenih elemenata i jedinjenja (kalcijuma, fosfata, fluorida) koji pomažu u očuvanju i remineralizaciji građe zuba. Edukacija trudnica o zdravoj ishrani. U postizanju ovih ciljeva pomaže edukacija uz direktnu i pozitivnu komunikaciju između edukatora i trudnice. Edukativni pristup je individualan jer svaka trudnica ima specifična kulturološka i socioekonomska obeležja i status, uz različite navike, motivisanost i spremnost za prihvatanje datih preporuka. Za ostvarivanje pomenutih ciljeva potrebna je odgovarajuća organizacija i stručnost stomatološke preventivne službe i njena saradnja sa drugim medicinskim službama, uz društvenu podršku u okviru javnog zdravlja. Zaključak. U očuvanju oralnog zdravlja tokom trudnoće važne uloge imaju: 1. zdrav način ishrane, 2. oralna higijena, 3. edukacija trudnica, 4. redovne stomatološke kontrole, 5. organizacija stomatološke službe i 6. društveno angažovanje. (Bosnian) [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Copyright of Medicinski Pregled / Medical Review is the property of National Library of Serbia and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

Modulation of hippocampal plasticity and cognitive behavior by short-term blueberry supplementation in aged rats

Casadesus, G.; Shukitt-Hale, B.; Stellwagen, H. M.; Zhu, X.; Lee, H. G.; Smith, M. A.; Joseph, J. A.
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During aging, reductions in hippocampal neurogenesis are associated with memory decline indicating a causal relationship. Indeed, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a major activator of the extracellular receptor kinase pathway that is central in learning and memory processes, is also a key modulator of hippocampal neurogenesis. Previously, we showed that age-related declines in spatial memory tasks can be improved by antioxidant-rich diets containing blueberries. In this study, to begin to understand the mechanisms responsible for the beneficial effects of blueberries, we assessed changes in hippocampal plasticity parameters such as hippocampal neurogenesis, extracellular receptor kinase activation, and IGF-1 and IGF-1R levels in blueberry-supplemented aged animals. Our results show that all these parameters of hippocampal neuronal plasticity are increased in supplemented animals and aspects such as proliferation, extracellular receptor kinase activation and IGF-1 and IGF-1R levels correlate with improvements in spatial memory. Therefore, cognitive improvements afforded by polyphenolic-rich fruits such as blueberries appear, in part, to be mediated by their effects on hippocampal plasticity.

A blueberry-enriched diet attenuates nephropathy in a rat model of hypertension via reduction in oxidative stress

Elks, C. M.; Reed, S. D.; Mariappan, N.; Shukitt-Hale, B.; Joseph, J. A.; Ingram, D. K.; Francis, J.
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OBJECTIVE AND BACKGROUND: To assess renoprotective effects of a blueberry-enriched diet in a rat model of hypertension. Oxidative stress (OS) appears to be involved in the development of hypertension and related renal injury. Pharmacological antioxidants can attenuate hypertension and hypertension-induced renal injury; however, attention has shifted recently to the therapeutic potential of natural products as antioxidants. Blueberries (BB) have among the highest antioxidant capacities of fruits and vegetables. METHODS AND RESULTS: Male spontaneously hypertensive rats received a BB-enriched diet (2% w/w) or an isocaloric control diet for 6 or 12 weeks or 2 days. Compared to controls, rats fed BB-enriched diet for 6 or 12 weeks exhibited lower blood pressure, improved glomerular filtration rate, and decreased renovascular resistance. As measured by electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, significant decreases in total reactive oxygen species (ROS), peroxynitrite, and superoxide production rates were observed in kidney tissues in rats on long-term dietary treatment, consistent with reduced pathology and improved function. Additionally, measures of antioxidant status improved; specifically, renal glutathione and catalase activities increased markedly. Contrasted to these observations indicating reduced OS in the BB group after long-term feeding, similar measurements made in rats fed the same diet for only 2 days yielded evidence of increased OS; specifically, significant increases in total ROS, peroxynitrite, and superoxide production rates in all tissues (kidney, brain, and liver) assayed in BB-fed rats. These results were evidence of “hormesis” during brief exposure, which dissipated with time as indicated by enhanced levels of catalase in heart and liver of BB group. CONCLUSION: Long-term feeding of BB-enriched diet lowered blood pressure, preserved renal hemodynamics, and improved redox status in kidneys of hypertensive rats and concomitantly demonstrated the potential to delay or attenuate development of hypertension-induced renal injury, and these effects appear to be mediated by a short-term hormetic response.

Characterization of acetylated anthocyanins in lowbush blueberries

Gao, L.; Mazza, G.
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Incorporation of cultured bilberry cells in cosmetics, dietary supplements, and/or functional foods

Caldwell, C. G.; Sung-Yong, H. Yoon
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Compositions include cultured bilberry cells or extracts thereof mixed with a cosmetic component or a food component to yield cosmetics, dietary supplements, and/or functional foods. The cultured bilberry cells or extracts can have high levels of polyphenols with little or no anthocyanins. The polyphenol fraction from the cultured bilberry cells is unique compared to the polyphenol fraction from the tissues of a traditional bilberry plant. The cultured cells have high levels of natural flavonols, flavan-3-ols and procyanidins, but are notably lacking in anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid.

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Looking for more health research?

Contact KIT BROIHIER, resident nutrition adviser to the Wild Blueberry Association of North America

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Kit Broihier, MS, RD, LD is the Nutrition advisor and spokesperson for the Wild Blueberry Association of North America. She is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with a Masters Degree in Nutrition and is the owner of NutriComm Inc., a food and nutrition communications consulting company.

Ms. Broihier received a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics from Michigan State University and a Master of Science degree in Nutrition Communications from Boston University.