Wild blueberry juice helps prevent DNA damage
Wild blueberries (vaccinium angustifolium), like all berry fruits, are known to have significant anti-ageing and disease prevention qualities, due to their high content of polyphenols, such as flavonols, phenolic acids and anthocyanins (ACNs), through their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and other functions.
Wild blueberries helps protect DNA from oxidative damage, which can aid in the prevention of cardiovascular and other degenerative disease.
Specifically, a study has found that, after 6 weeks of consumption of a wild blueberry juice rich in anthocyanins (a class of polyphenols), DNA damage in the volunteer group reduced by 10-45%, while no DNA damage reduction was reported in the placebo group.
Implications in skin care and anti-aging
Since DNA damage is a major cause of skin ageing we have valid reasons to believe that the findings of this study can be extrapolated to anti-ageing. Polyphenols are already implemented in skin care for anti-ageing, cellulite reduction, skin firming, and circulation improvement.
The difference between whole blueberries, pure blueberry juice, blueberry "juice drinks" and blueberry smoothies
Normally we do not advocate the consumption of fruit juices due to the high speed of assimilation of sugars contained in the juice, and we suggest the consumption of whole fruits. However, berry fruits contain large amounts of polyphenols and other micro-nutrients and low amounts of sugar, so berry juices are an exception to this rule.
However, you should be careful not to consume the so-called "juice drinks" which contain sugar, artificial sweeteners and other ingredients detrimental to health, or smoothies laden with apple juice or banana puree, which both contain very high amounts of sugars.
A pure blueberry juice is one thing, a sugar-laden smoothie or juice drink with only 10% blueberries is quite another. In the latter case, one could argue that the benefits of polyphenols can be cancelled by the detrimental effects of sugar found in the juice drinks and smoothies.
Different types of blueberries
The study mentioned in this article was carried with wild (low-bush) blueberries (vaccinium angustifolium), but given that all other commonly consumed species of blueberries carry similar levels of polyphenols, it is expected that european bilberries (vaccinium myrtillus) or the common (high-bush) blueberries (vaccinium corymbosum) will have similar effects.
- Paper: Effect of a wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) drink intervention on markers of oxidative stress, inflammation and endothelial function in humans with cardiovascular risk factors
- Abstract: PURPOSE: Wild blueberries (WB) (Vaccinium angustifolium) are rich sources of polyphenols, such as flavonols, phenolic acids and anthocyanins (ACNs), reported to decrease the risk of cardiovascular and degenerative diseases. This study investigated the effect of regular consumption of a WB or a placebo (PL) drink on markers of oxidative stress, inflammation and endothelial function in subjects with risk factors for cardiovascular disease. METHODS:
Eighteen male volunteers (ages 47.8 ± 9.7 years; body mass index 24.8 ± 2.6 kg/m²) received according to a cross-over design, a WB (25 g freeze-dried powder, providing 375 mg of ACNs) or a PL drink for 6 weeks, spaced by a 6-week wash-out. Endogenous and oxidatively induced DNA damage in blood mononuclear cells, serum interleukin levels, reactive hyperemia index, nitric oxide, soluble vascular adhesion molecule concentration and other variables were analyzed. RESULTS: Wild blueberry drink intake significantly reduced the levels of endogenously oxidized DNA bases (from 12.5 ± 5.6 % to 9.6 ± 3.5 %, p ≤ 0.01) and the levels of H₂O₂-induced DNA damage (from 45.8 ± 7.9 % to 37.2 ± 9.1 %, p ≤ 0.01), while no effect was found after the PL drink. No significant differences were detected for markers of endothelial function and the other variables under study. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, the consumption of the WB drink for 6 weeks significantly reduced the levels of oxidized DNA bases and increased the resistance to oxidatively induced DNA damage. Future studies should address in greater detail the role of WB in endothelial function.