Blueberry and Cholesterol Levels – Hamster study showed improved blood lipid levels

Photo Credit - Scott Bauer USDA.gov

Photo Credit: Scott Bauer courtesy USDA.gov

(Best Syndication News) - The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) completed a study that investigated the effects on cholesterol levels in hamsters that were fed blueberry peels and pulp leftovers. The study was led by USDA chemist, Wallace H. Yokoyama. The results of the study showed that the hamsters fed the blueberry enhanced high fat diet had better cholesterol levels compared to the hamsters that had just a high fat diet. The study will be published in the May/June 2011 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

Since the study was conducted on hamsters, more research would be needed for humans to confirm the same health benefit. The control group was just fed the high fat diet, there were three test groups that were fed the high fat diet along with either blueberry skins, fiber extracted from the peels, or polyphenols which give the fruit its color.

There were between 22 and 27 percent reductions of blood cholesterol levels in the hamsters fed blueberry diets compared with those hamsters that did not get any blueberry byproducts. The very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol was reduced by about 44 percent with the blueberry fed hamsters.

The USDA researchers said that the hamster and humans have livers that make cholesterol and remove it from the body. They suspect that some liver genes are being activated from the blueberry that helps either make or use the extra cholesterol. The researchers also said that they do not know which compound in the blueberry is beneficial at lowering cholesterol levels.

By Marsha Quinn

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