Blueberries, Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome


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“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”


Metabolic syndrome includes a constellation of health disorders that are associated with a high risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  Specific disorders that are associated with metabolic syndrome include high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood, obesity, and diabetes (or “pre-diabetes”).  In the United States, where obesity has become an epidemic, public health experts estimate that as much as 25 percent of the population currently meets the criteria for metabolic syndrome.

Excessive calorie intake, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity in the abdominal and waist areas (central, or visceral, obesity), genetic factors, and other adverse health risks are known to contribute to the development of metabolic syndrome.  Therefore, both the prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome are based upon exercise, a healthy low-fat and low-sugar/low-carb diet, and weight loss.  A new prospective, randomized clinical research study suggests that consuming blueberries may also help to reduce some of the adverse health risks associated with metabolic syndrome.

In this study, which appears in the current issue of The Journal of Nutrition, 48 adults (44 females and 4 males) with metabolic syndrome were divided into two groups.  One group, the “experimental group,” consumed 50 grams of freeze-dried blueberries per day (equivalent to 350 grams of fresh blueberries per day), in the form of a beverage, for a period of 8 weeks.  The other group, the “control group,” consumed a “placebo” beverage that did not contain any blueberries (also for 8 weeks).  Blood pressure checks and multiple blood tests were performed at both 4 weeks and 8 weeks into the study.

When comparing the two groups of patient volunteers, the patients in the “blueberry group” were found to have significantly greater decreases in their high blood pressure when compared to the control group.  The level of oxidized LDL cholesterol in the blood, which is a form of the “bad” LDL cholesterol that can directly damage the lining of arteries throughout the body (atherosclerosis), was also significantly decreased in the “blueberry group” of patient volunteers.  At the same time, there were no significant differences between the two groups of patient volunteers with respect to blood glucose (sugar) levels, triglyceride levels, or the levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol) or LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) in the blood .

Therefore, while a brief period of a diet supplemented with blueberries did not reverse all of the abnormalities associated with metabolic syndrome, the consumption of the equivalent of about 350 grams of blueberries each day did appear to significantly improve at least two of the adverse health factors associated with this syndrome (i.e., high blood pressure and blood levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol).  Based upon the intriguing findings of this small and short-duration study, patients with one or more health factors associated with metabolic syndrome might consider adding some blueberries to their daily diet, in addition to the standard treatment for this life-threatening disorder!


For more information on blueberries, and other sources of dietary polyphenols, as part of a cancer prevention lifestyle, watch for the publication of my new landmark evidence-based book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” in September of this year.

Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, a professor of surgery, a cancer researcher, an oncology consultant, and a widely published author

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I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit our premier global health information website every month.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


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4 Comments on "Blueberries, Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome"

  1. Doctorwascher on Mon, 6th Sep 2010 9:31 pm 

    Non-Compliance with Hormonal Therapy for Breast Cancer and Risk of Death…

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  2. Doctorwascher on Wed, 15th Sep 2010 8:35 pm 

    Low-Carb Diet and Risk of Death …

    Weekly Health Update:

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  3. Watcher on Sun, 6th Feb 2011 4:59 pm 

    I actually do not ever comment on blogs, however this one is amazing! Thanks.

  4. Lily on Sat, 28th Apr 2012 10:46 pm 

    Thanks for contributing. It’s helped me understand the issues.

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