Blueberry strengthens blood vessels decreasing the risk of vascular damage

April 14, 2006

The aortic artery is the main artery carrying oxygen rich blood from the heart to supply the rest of the body. In this study scientists from the University of Maine investigated the effects of blueberry supplementation on the aortic artery of laboratory animals. One group of rats was fed a standard diet, the second group received the same diet but this time 8% of it was made up by a powdered wild blueberry supplement; both groups were fed this way for 13 weeks. The Blueberry supplement increased the amount of particular glycosaminoglycans (abbreviated gags) known as galactosaminoglycans in the aortic arterial wall by 67% versus the non-supplemented group. The increased level of gags strengthen the artery against inflammatory damage caused by free radicals reducing the precursor event to serious cardiovascular disease. The study is published in the February 2006 issue of The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Yesterday we reported that taking a combination of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and ibuprofen prevented the onset of Alzheimer's disease in patients who inherited a gene from their parents that puts them at high risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Nucleotides protect athletes and exercisers from cortisol and immune system dysfunction

Immunoglobulin A is found in the mouth and respiratory tract, the reproductive and urinary tracts, and the gastrointestinal tract. Immunoglubulin A protects mucous membranes from infection and it is the main protective antibody in the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. After exercise Immunoglobulin A levels drop significantly and this is one of the reasons why athletes have poor immune protection when training. Conversely, cortisol levels increase after exercise. Cortisol is the major stress hormone released from the adrenal glands in response to physical or mental stress. Elevated cortisol is related to fatigue, muscle degradation, and immune dysfunction (because it stifles immune protection). In this study moderately trained men were placed on a Nucleotide supplement or inactive placebo daily for 60 days. They performed a prolonged endurance cycle exercise for 60 minutes before the start of the supplementation and at the end of the 60 day period. It was found that Immunoglobulin A dropped after the exercise regimen but the level was significantly higher (the drop was significantly lessened) in the Nucleotide group indicating better immune system protection. The cortisol level rose in both groups after exercise but the rise in cortisol in the Nucleotide group was much lower and this indicates less muscle wasting and less immune system suppression. Nucleotides may protect athletes and endurance exercise buffs from immune dysfunction and from hormonal imbalances occuring due to exercise. The research was performed at the Department of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Hull, in England, and is published in the March 2006 issue of the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness.