Study under review: Purified anthocyanin supplementation reduces dyslipidemia, enhances antioxidant capacity, and prevents insulin resistance in diabetic patients
The term “superfood” is one of the most popular health buzzwords in the media. The word doesn’t even have a well-defined meaning, but is usually used to refer to foods deemed ‘better’ for you than other options, even though ‘better’ isn’t defined either.
Many of these foods, like the acai berry, which became popular due to its antioxidant capacity, spend a short time in the spotlight before follow-up studies reveal that the food in question didn’t actually provide any unique health benefits. Other foods, like pomegranate juice, which can play a useful role in prostate health, provide specific benefits but don’t have nearly enough evidence to deem them ‘superfoods’.
Still, some foods really are better for you than others. Blueberries are a great example, as are other dark berries, as they can provide benefits for people with metabolic disorders, as well as healthy people.
These benefits stem from the pigments in the berries, a class of molecules known as anthocyanins, which are also present in some other plant foods. Berries are the most commonly cited source of anthocyanins since they are common in the diet. Other options include purple rice (which is heavily researched, but not commonly eaten) and eggplant, which contain relatively few anthocyanins since they are only present in the skin, not the body of the vegetable. Dark berries hold promise for lifestyle-related diseases not only due to their effects, which are notable at reasonable dietary doses, but also for their palatability. Delicious fruit goes down far easier than medication.
So far, anthocyanins (either alone or in the form of berry products with specified anthocyanin content) have been linked to cognitive benefits in the elderly, and reductions in blood pressure in high risk individuals with cardiovascular disease. Their antioxidant effects have been linked to reductions in DNA damage. Dark berries may also influence glucose metabolism, and previous research has noted that people with insulin resistance experience benefits after dark berry consumption.
The study under review was specifically designed to assess the effects of anthocyanins in people with type II diabetes. Other factors were also tracked alongside insulin sensitivity to better determine if anthocyanins could play an adjunct therapy role, since it would be a low cost and low risk treatment.
Anthocyanins are found in dark berries and some other fruits and vegetables, and may have a positive impact on several aspects of health, including insulin resistance and blood pressure. The study under review was designed to examine the impact of anthocyanins as an add-on treatment for people with type II diabetes.
Other Articles in Issue #06 (April 2015)
Blueberries every day keeps high blood pressure at bay
Blueberries may be a simple way to lower this important cardiovascular disease risk factor.
Driving a car blindfolded: the neurobiology of appetite
One of the most important contributers to weight gain may be modern hyperpalatable food. By Margaret Leitch
Can the paleo diet make metabolic syndrome ancient history?
Can a paleo diet improve risk factors for those who already have metabolic syndrome?
Kick the can: how BPA in canned drinks impacts blood pressure
BPA is everywhere, from receipts to canned foods. How exactly does it impact blood pressure?
The gut microbiome’s role in type I diabetes
Development of type 1 diabetes in infants isn’t fully understood. This study explores the role of the infant microbiome.
Curry… brain food?
The widely-used Indian spice turmeric contains curcumin, which may help with DHA synthesis.
Can fiber change your emotions?
Due to the “gut-brain axis”, feeding gut bacteria might affect your emotions.
One pro of probiotic drinks: mitigating harm from overeating
Yakult is a widely-available probiotic drink. Might it have benefits for blood sugar control?
- Interview: Mike Ormsbee, Ph.D.
- Interview: Duane Mellor, Ph.D.