This lecture, presented by Town Hall Seattle and sponsored by PCC Community Markets, is titled “Ask Marion: The Politics of Food and Nutrition.” It’s at 7:30 pm Seattle time and 10:30 pm New York time. Get tickets here.
Industry-funded study–and journal section–of the week: Blueberries yet again
The study: Recent Research on the Health Benefits of Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins. Wilhelmina Kalt, Aedin Cassidy, Luke R Howard, Robert Krikorian, April J Stull, Francois Tremblay,Raul Zamora-Ros. Advances in Nutrition, nmz065, https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmz065
Abstract conclusion: More evidence, and particularly human clinical evidence, is needed to better understand the potential for anthocyanin-rich blueberries to benefit public health. However, it is widely agreed that the regular consumption of tasty, ripe blueberries can be unconditionally recommended.
Overall conclusion: It can be safely stated that daily moderate intake (50 mg anthocyanins, one-third cup of blueberries) can mitigate the risk of diseases and conditions of major socioeconomic importance in the Western world.
Funding: The United States Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) offered support for this article by providing an honorarium to each author but had no role in the design and conduct of the review. Author disclosures: AC, LRH, RZ-R, no conflicts of interest. AC acts as an advisor to the USHBC grant committee and has received research support from the USHBC. RK, WK, AJS, and FT have received research funding from the USHBC and have no conflict of interest.
Comment: This is a literature review. The USHBC paid the authors to write it. That makes this article a paid advertisement for blueberries. Why the authors think they have no conflict of interest in taking the money to write this is beyond me. We can ask why the USHBC thinks this kind of “study” is needed. Of course blueberries are recommended. They are a fruit and all fruits are recommended. The USHBC wants you to think that blueberries are especially beneficial, but that can be said of any fruit. Not all fruits have sponsors paying for articles, however.
JOURNALS OF GERONTOLOGY: SPECIAL SECTION: AGING AND BLUEBERRIES (thanks to Bradley Flansbaum for sending)
The papers in this series were supported in one way or another by one or another blueberry trade associations.
- Blue Versus Gray: Potential Health Benefits of Blueberries for Successful Aging. Donald K Ingram, PhD. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, Volume 74, Issue 7, July 2019, Pages 965–966. Sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America.
- Circulating Anthocyanin Metabolites Mediate Vascular Benefits of Blueberries: Insights From Randomized Controlled Trials, Metabolomics, and Nutrigenomics : Ana Rodriguez-Mateos, et al. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, Volume 74, Issue 7, July 2019, Pages 967–976. This work was supported by the Medical Research Committee of the University of Düsseldorf (9772574) and by an unrestricted grant from the Wild Blueberry Association of North America. ARM and CH have received unrestricted research grants from the Wild Blueberry Association of North America. The other authors declare no conflicts of interests.
- Blueberries Improve Neuroinflammation and Cognition differentially Depending on Individual Cognitive baseline Status. Barbara Shukitt-Hale, et al. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, Volume 74, Issue 7, July 2019, Pages 977–983. This research was supported by USDA Intramural funds. The blueberry powder used in this study was provided at no cost under a Material Transfer Agreement between the USDA and the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC).
- Systematic Review of the Effects of Blueberry on Cognitive Performance as We Age . Sabine Hein, et al. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, Volume 74, Issue 7, July 2019, Pages 984–995.This work was supported by an unrestricted grant from the Wild Blueberry Association of North America.
- Polyphenols From Grape and Blueberry Improve Episodic Memory in Healthy Elderly with Lower Level of Memory Performance: A Bicentric Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Study Julien Bensalem, et al. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, Volume 74, Issue 7, July 2019, Pages 996–1007. This work is part of the Neurophenols project. The specific aims of the program are to characterize and formulate fruit extracts from grape and blueberry and to evaluate their safety and efficacy in pre-clinical and clinical trials. Neurophenols Industry partners, some of which sell ingredients derived from grapes and blueberries, are listed here.
Comment: The introductory paper in this series explains what it is about: “The epidemiological evidence is strong and convincing regarding the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables to ward off age-related diseases. However, what about individual foods?” What about them? I love blueberries but are they really better for older adults than raspberries, strawberries, or peaches, for that matter? Variety is still a basic principle of nutrition. Enjoy your fruit bowl.