The blueberry (from the genusVaccinium) is native to North America. It earned the recognition as one of the first "superfruits" due to its powerful punch of antioxidant capacity and anti-aging benefits. The Northeast Native American tribes revered blueberries and much folklore developed around them and their observed health benefits. Today, the harvest runs from mid-April through early October, with peak harvest in July. While blueberries are among the more palatable darkly pigmented berries in their raw form, many Americans are not consuming sufficient amounts of these berries in their daily diets, making supplementation more important than ever to benefit from these healthy phytonutrients.
Hierarchy of Actives
Polyphenolsare a large family of natural phytonutrients widely distributed in plant foods. They are characterized by the presence of more than one phenol unit per molecule.
Flavonoids(or "bioflavonoids") make up an important subcategory of polyphenols that exhibit potent antioxidant activity. Many health promoting effects are attributed to flavonoids.
Anthocyanins, with their incredible antioxidant and health-promoting potential, are one of the most heavily studied flavonoid categories. Anthocyanins are the water-soluble pigments that are responsible for the dark red-purple color found in fruits, vegetables, and flowers. The darker the berry, the more anthocyanins that are present.
Each berry species contains auniqueanthocyanin profile that contributes to its distinct health benefits. Compared to other berries, the blueberry contains an extremely large variety of predominant anthocyanins:
- cyanidin-3-glucoside (C3G)
Perhaps one of the most important health attributes of dark berries that are high in anthocyanins is the antioxidant capacity. Antioxidants neutralize free radical buildup, also known as oxidative stress. Free radicals are linked to the development of a number of degenerative diseases and conditions. Free radicals are by-products of normal bodily functions and are inevitable in daily life. However, it is the delicate balance of antioxidants and free radicals that determine our state of health. As we age, the body doesn't function as efficiently and as a result, an excess of free radicals are produced. We can do our best to arm ourselves by including sufficient amounts of antioxidants in our diet or by supplementing our diet with products rich in dark berry anthocyanins, including blueberry anthocyanins.
The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) test is one commonly used method for measuring the antioxidant capacity of a substance. The higher the ORAC value, the higher the antioxidant activity.
There are dozens of published studies from the past decade documenting the evidence of blueberry's antioxidant abilities. When compared to many commonly consumed fruits and vegetables, blueberry has among the highest antioxidant potential, as measured by the ORAC test.
Additional Health Benefits
Blueberry is valuable not only for its antioxidant potential but also for the many particular health benefits that are substantiated in studies in the areas of:
- Brain function and memory support
- Cardiovascular support
- Healthy inflammation response
- Vision support
Scientific Research at a Glance
Blueberry's extensive use in traditional medicine has interested modern researchers who continuously explore the health benefits of natural products and search for the active compounds like anthocyanins and the mechanisms by which they function. Current studies range fromin vitrolaboratory studies to animal studies and even human clinical studies.
Some noteworthy findings include:
- In an animal study, blueberry extracts were able to ameliorate age-related declines in neuronal and cognitive function. Mice that consumed diets supplemented with blueberry extract showed improvement in normal age-related declines in behavioral parameters such as balance, coordination, working memory, and reference memory. (Youdim et al., 2001)
- An animal study confirmed that blueberry anthocyanins can pass through the blood-brain barrier and localize in brain and eye tissues, providing evidence regarding their bioavailability. (Kalt et al., 2008)
- In an animal study, when rats with neuronal lesions were fed a blueberry-supplemented diet, they performed better in cognitive tests and the concentration of several substances in the brain that can trigger an inflammatory response was significantly reduced. The polyphenols in blueberries appear to inhibit the production of these inflammatory mediators. This is important because chronic inflammation at the cellular level is at the heart of many degenerative age-related diseases. (Joseph et al., 2008)
- Another animal study showed that blueberry supplementation reduced plasma cholesterol levels, indicative of an enhancement in cardiovascular health. (Kalt et al., 2008)
Berries For Life™ Blueberry is the Answer
Our blueberry supplement includes astandardized extractthat delivers consistent high levels of the active blueberry anthocyanins combined with awhole food blueberry powderthat delivers the full blueberry matrix, just as if you were eating the actual berries. We also include ablueberry fiberfor an added boost of blueberry phytonutrients to deliver a well-rounded and complete product to help you stay healthy.