Blueberries and their bioactives in the modulation of oxidative stress, inflammation and cardio/vascular function markers: a systematic review of human intervention studies

Martini D, Marino M, Venturi S, Tucci M, Klimis-Zacas, Riso P, Porrini M, Del Bo C.


Blueberries represent a rich source of (poly)phenols and other bioactive compounds. Numerous in vitro and animal model studies documented the potential health-promoting properties of blueberries and blueberry-bioactives, while little is still known about their effects in humans. The objective of the present systematic review is to provide main evidence and the potential mechanisms of action of blueberry and its (poly)phenols in the regulation of markers related to oxidative stress, inflammation, vascular and cardiometabolic function in health and disease states. A total of 45 human intervention studies were included in this review. Overall, the evidence suggests that blueberries may play a role in the improvement of markers of vascular function. Their effects were observed following both post-prandial and long-term consumption, particularly in subjects with risk factors and/or disease conditions. Conversely, the conflicting results on inflammation, oxidative stress and cardiometabolic risk markers were most likely due to differences among studies in terms of study design, subject characteristics, duration of intervention, dosage, and type of biomarkers analyzed. For these reasons, high-quality, well-designed, human intervention studies are warranted to strengthen the current findings on vascular function and provide more evidence about the impact of blueberries on the different markers considered. In addition, studies focusing on the relationship between the structure and the function of (poly)phenols will be fundamental for a better comprehension of the mechanisms behind the health effects observed.

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