Andean blueberry may benefit women with Metabolic Syndrome: Study

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Fruit of wild agraz (Vaccinium meridionale). Image © Getty Images / alexander ruiz
Fruit of wild agraz (Vaccinium meridionale). Image © Getty Images / alexander ruiz
Consuming polyphenol rich Andean blueberries, also known as Agraz, may boost serum antioxidant capacity and protect against DNA damage in women with metabolic syndrome, says a new study from Colombia.

Four weeks of consuming agraz (Vaccinium meridionale​ Swartz) nectar led to significant decreases in levels of 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), a marker for DNA damage.

The data, published recently in Nutrients​, also indicated that the nectar was associated with significant increases in serum antioxidant capacity, as measured by the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) method.

“This is one of the first studies evaluating the effects of this fruit in humans,” ​wrote scientists from the Universidad de Antioquia UdeA in Medellín, Colombia and the University of Connecticut, USA. “Although the current sample size may have prevented us from finding other significant results, the dose and appearance (nectar) used represented the consumption of agraz in a usual Colombian diet.

“Due to the astringent flavor of agraz, a more concentrated nectar was not palatable for volunteers. However, more studies are needed to evaluate higher doses and time of supplementation in people at high risk for CVD.”

Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a condition characterized by central obesity, hypertension, disturbed glucose and insulin metabolism, increased oxidative stress and a pro-inflammatory state. The syndrome has been linked to increased risks of both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Study details

For their study, the Colombia-based scientists recruited 40 women with MetS and an average age of 47 to participate in their double-blind, cross-over design study. The women were randomly assigned to consume daily either 200 mL of agraz nectar or placebo for four weeks.

The results showed that agraz consumption was associated with reductions in 8-OHdG of 0.27 ng/mg creatinine, compared to placebo, while DPPH measures showed that the serum antioxidant capacity increased by an average of 2.1% scavenging effect.

On the other hand, no significant differences between the groups were observed for markers of insulin resistance and inflammation, although some impacts on high sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, were recorded in some of the women.

“[O]ur results suggest that chronic consumption of agraz in women with MetS decreases oxidative damage in DNA, possibly through a mechanism dependent on the increase in serum antioxidant capacity promoted by agraz,” ​wrote the researchers.

“In addition, in women with three components of MetS, the consumption of this fruit reduced hs-CRP levels compared to placebo, but not in women with four or more components, suggesting a protective role in inflammation in less severe cases of MetS.

“Finally, important correlations with markers involved in lipid peroxidation and antiatherogenic molecules were observed after agraz consumption; supporting the potential of this Colombian fruit to modulate CVD risk factors.”

Source: Nutrients
10​(11), 1639; doi:10.3390/nu10111639
Evaluation of Agraz Consumption on Adipocytokines, Inflammation, and Oxidative Stress Markers in Women with Metabolic Syndrome”
Authors: J. Espinosa-Moncada

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