Posted on Jun 21, 2011, 6 a.m.
Blueberry peels and juice by-products reduce total plasma cholesterol by upwards of 22%, and levels of VLDL (“bad”) cholesterol by 44%, in a lab animal model.
Blueberries are rich in vitamin C, an important antioxidant, and previous studies have suggested the fruit has potent free radical scavenging activity. Wallace H. Yokoyama, from the Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (California, USA), and colleagues fed rations enhanced with blueberry peels and other blueberry-juice-processing leftovers (fruit skins and fibers) to laboratory hamsters. The blueberry reduced total plasma cholesterol by 22 to 27%, and levels of VLDL (“bad”) cholesterol by 44%, among the animals fed the fruit products. Explaining that: “Hepatic CYP7A1 expression was up-regulated by [a blueberry] diet,” but “no significant changes in adipocyte gene expression related to inflammatory markers were observed,” the researchers submit that: “These data suggest that hepatic modulation of bile acid and cholesterol synthesis primarily contributes to the cholesterol-lowering effect of blueberry byproducts.”
Kim H, Bartley GE, Rimando AM, Yokoyama W. “Hepatic gene expression related to lower plasma cholesterol in hamsters fed high-fat diets supplemented with blueberry peels and peel extract.” J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Apr 14;58(7):3984-91.