Monday, April 11, 2011

Blueberry Extract May Reduce Number of Fat Cells

We've known for a long time that antioxidants found in plants are wonderful for our health. A little bit more recently, there has been a focus on plant polyphenols based on their demonstrated ability to help ward off various diseases. Now, new research out of Texas has added to a growing body of evidence that suggests that polyphenols found in blueberries can help reduce the number and growth of fat cells and also enhance their destruction.

In an effort to examine whether blueberries could play a role in reducing the burden of the obesity epidemic in America, a researcher from Texas Woman's University (TWU) was interested in further narrowing down the effects of blueberry polyphenols on adipocytes, special cells that synthesize and store fat. The experiments were performed using cells from mice.

Interestingly, it was discovered that as the dose of the extract increased, fewer unspecialized cells ended up becoming adipocytes. The highest dose of blueberry polyphenols resulted in a 73% decrease in lipids while the lowest dose still showed a 27% decrease. In terms of uncovering the potential effectiveness on humans, more research is definitely needed. "We still need to test this dose in humans, to make sure there are no adverse effects, and to see if the doses are as effective. Determining the best dose for humans will be important," said the principal researcher. "The promise is there for blueberries to help reduce adipose tissue from forming in the body."

As with all research on selected and concentrated food extracts, it is unclear as to whether consuming the foods in their natural forms will be enough to yield significant effects. For that matter, more research is needed to shed light on whether these results will be significant at all in humans! In any case, as blueberries are considered a superfood, it would be a good idea to include them in your diet regardless of whether or not they are 'the magic bullet' of weight loss. If nothing else, they sure are delicious.