For some time I have been promoting probiotic foods (foods with “good bacteria” for the gut) as superior to probiotic pills. The probiotics in food are present with their prebiotic food sources, often have fat or other compounds to protect them from digestive juices and are found in the forms that our bodies evolved to expect. Now a study from the University of Montreal shows that fermented blueberry juice, using the organisms that are found on blueberry skins is more effective at preventing diabetes than blueberries alone.
According to a study, The biological responses to resveratrol and other polyphenols from alcoholic beverages by Lindsay Brown, et. al., fermentation makes polyphenols found in grapes (or blueberries) more bioavailable. Eating fresh blueberries can be somewhat less effective since the flavanoid compounds are found in the skins which are harder to digest and frequently the entire berry makes its way through the gut intact. Freezing or cooking at a low temperature does increase the bioavailability, much as it does for lutein in tomato paste.
I predict that we will see an explosion in probiotic foods targeted at different conditions in the coming years. At a time when Activia commercials show a leaky gut, and kefir sales are climbing, people are no longer resistant to the ideas of fermented foods. New research showing that bacteria other than the Firmicute family which includes the acidolphius and other lactobaccili used in yogurt, can affect obesity will likely spur an interest in bacteria that can promote weight loss such as the blueberry’s Serratia vaccinii.
Here is an article from Mike Adam’s blog, Natural News about the new research:
by David Gutierrez, staff writer
(NaturalNews) A special blueberry drink fortified by processing it with bacteria that naturally occur on the fruit’s skin proved effective at preventing the development of obesity and diabetes in mice predisposed to the conditions, in a study conducted by researchers from the University of Montreal, the Institut Armand-Frappier and the Université de Moncton, and published in the International Journal of Obesity.
Researchers “biotransformed” juice from the North American lowbush blueberry by fermenting it with Serratia vaccinii, a bacteria naturally found on the berry’s skin. They then fed mice either the biotransformed juice or unmodified blueberry juice for three days. All the mice had been bred for resistance to the hormone leptin, thus predisposing them to obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes and high blood pressure
“Consumption of fermented blueberry juice gradually and significantly reduced high blood glucose levels in diabetic mice,” lead author Tri Vuong said. “After three days, our mice subjects reduced their glycemia levels by 35 percent.”
The mice drinking the biotransformed juice also ate less and gained less weight than the mice in the control group.
“Results of this study clearly show that biotransformed blueberry juice has strong anti-obesity and anti-diabetic potential,” senior author Pierre S. Haddad said. “Biotransformed blueberry juice may represent a novel therapeutic agent.”
The researchers are unsure why the biotransformed juice proves so much more effective, but they believe that the fermentation process enhances the effectiveness of the fruit’s naturally occurring antioxidants. The researchers suggested that these antioxidants might assist the activity of the hormone adiponectin, which is associated with a lower risk of obesity.
The anthocyanins found in blueberries have also previously been linked to a reduced risk of retinopathy, an eye disorder, in diabetics.
“The identification of the active compounds in biotransformed blueberry juice may result in the discovery of promising new anti-obesity and anti-diabetic molecules,” Haddad said.
An estimated 24 million people in the United States suffer from diabetes, and another 57 million are considered pre-diabetic.