New Hope Network is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Berry Research Breakthroughs: Ten Trendsetters of 2007-8

After review of some 1000 research reports on berries over 2007-8 (through May), here is a summary of top medical research trends in this area for the past 18 months.

First, a tabular history of publications in the database of the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) is given for 11 different berries. The table shows that more than 6,000 research studies on these berry species are in the world's largest medical database over its history of records covering 127 years.

For most berries, 10-15% of the total research record was published in 2007 alone, suggesting that an intensifying interest in the health properties of berries is underway as a major category trend in botanical and medical research.

Notable from the table

  • As a proportion of total publication history among the 11 berry species, blueberry was the most intensively studied in both 2007 (55 reports) and 2008 to date, achieving 19% of its total number of records alone in 2007

  • Year by year, grape (or wine) is by far the most favored berry research subject, having 471 reports in 2007 (about 15% of its total) and is the most extensively studied berry in 2008

  • Grape resveratrol alone was the subject of 75 studies in 2007 and 259 research reports just over the years 2000-8

  • Despite their high nutrient and interesting phytochemical composition, açaí, blackberry and black raspberry have been relatively under-studied with only a few reports each in 2007-8 and the lowest publication totals overall among the 11 berries evaluated

  • Goji (wolfberry) has received very little Western attention to date and none at all from North American scientists, as its science on the NLM database comes mainly from Asian laboratories

  • Strawberry is the second-most studied berry after grape, yet usually is not included in discussions as a “superberry” or “superfruit”, perhaps because it is already popular and common among consumers, i.e., not novel enough to be a superfruit. This seems an unfortunate classification for strawberry, as its phytochemical content is as interesting with as much potential for health value as other superfruits.

Table 1. Medical research progress on individual berries based on number of publications in the US National Library of Medicine database


Publications in 2007

2007 as % of Total

Publications through May


Total number of reports

Year of First

Report +


Euterpe oleracea







Rubus ursinus






Black raspberry

Rubus occidentalis







Ribes nigrum







Vaccinium spp.







Vaccinium spp.






Goji *

Lycium barbarum







Vitis spp.




> 3300 ^


Red raspberry

Rubus idaeus




242 ^


Sea buckthorn

Hippophae rhamnoides







Fragaria spp.




> 1100 ^


* searched as wolfberry; the name goji is an English consumer term not used in scientific literature.
+ year of first entry of medical research in US National Library of Medicine database.
^ approximate number, as database entries include medical terms not related to respective berry as a plant.
spp. various species of the genus.

Açaí berries (Euterpe oleracea Mart.), Brazil

Wolfberries (“goji”, Lycium barbarum L.), China

Two exotic berry species rich in nutrients and phytochemicals, but mostly virgin as research topics in Western science

Trendsetters, 2007-8 Berry Research

Reviewing studies on phytochemical properties, effects against disease models and methods of how berries were assessed, one sees that 2007-8 provided berry science with an infusion of details and enough literature to conclude that at least three major research strategies are now established:

  1. analyzing effects of berry phytochemicals within cells and at the subcellular level such as in gene markers of disease

  2. using one antioxidant like resveratrol to build a checklist for research analysis on anti-cancer mechanisms elicited by berry phenolics

  3. using breeding methods to induce specific increases of certain phenolics in new berry hybrids as therapeutic candidates for human diseases.

Consequently, this new research not only reveals new phytochemical characteristics about different berry species, but improves the learning curve for how pigments of any plant can affect experimental models of human illness.

Ten trendsetters represented in the publications below are

  1. defining cellular effects of one berry phenolic, e.g., the anthocyanin, cyanidin-3-glucoside, on a disease model like the adipocyte in experimental diabetes and obesity

  2. stimulation by berry phenolics of a specific physiological control system involved throughout the body – synthesis of the vascular and neuronal signaling molecule, nitric oxide

  3. measuring antioxidant capacity of whole berries or berry phenolics within cells, a new biologically relevant model for studying oxidant-antioxidant reactions

  4. monitoring antioxidant capacity in blood following a meal of berries, providing a practical guide for timing antioxidant food intake

  5. defining multiple effects of berry resveratrol as a physiological mediator: a template for anti-disease effects of other berry phytochemicals

  6. identifying cells in specific organ systems, such as colonocytes in the lower digestive tract, as physiological targets of berry phenolics

  7. employing nutrigenomics – the relation of nutritional advantages based on genetic character – to recommend dietary use of berries for treatment of diseases, such as chronic inflammation

  8. constructing a checklist of subcellular responses to berry phenolics in models of cancer (trend actually began before 2007)

  9. focusing berry research on how phenolics affect triggers of tumor initiation, a model for research on other diseases

  10. manipulating plant breeding methods to

  • expand geographic growing range, climate tolerance and berry volume per plant, increasing crop acreage and commercial capacities

  • improve tolerance to plant pests and diseases

  • synergize subjective qualities for consumer appeal such as taste, fragrance, color, firmness, sweetness, berry size, etc.

  • specifically enhance content of desirable berry phytochemicals, such as increasing content of anthocyanins or resveratrol

  • adjust phytochemical content to specific levels demonstrated by current research to possibly convey human health benefits

Format of the presentation below is to identify a trendsetter, give the published reference, report the title in bold and authors' names and research affiliation, followed by an edited abstract to put scientific jargon into plain language. Scientific content of the author's abstract has not been altered.

The 10 trendsetters are neither rigorously ranked nor are they isolated cases, but represent a category of research similar to the one selected. The final section for each, “comments for industry”, highlights a take-home message.

Trendsetter # 10. Manipulating hybrids or plant germplasm can specifically increase levels of a beneficial phytochemical in new cultivars and berry consumer products.

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Jun;51(6):645-51.

Metabolomic approach to identifying bioactive compounds in berries: advances toward fruit nutritional enhancement.
Stewart D, McDougall GJ, Sungurtas J, Verrall S, Graham J, Martinussen I.
Quality, Health and Nutrition Programme, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Dundee, Scotland.

Edited Abstract. Plant polyphenolics (pigments with antioxidant properties) continue to be the focus of attention for their putative impact on human nutrition and nutritional enhancement of our foodstuffs. Using the raspberry as a model, the authors showed how modern metabolic profiling enables specific changes in the level of beneficial polyphenolics in fruit breeding. Their work also demonstrated how segregating fruits and levels of polyphenolics are determined by genetic and/or environmental factors. Of particular interest, the vitamin C content was influenced by growing conditions while phenolic contents (cyanidin, pelargonidin and quercetin glycosides) were more tightly regulated, suggesting rigorous genetic control of pigment concentrations. Preliminary metabolic profiling showed the raspberry phenolic profiles segregated on two levels: cyanidin-3-sophoroside and cyanidin-3-rutinoside, compounds both implicated with human health benefits.

Comments for Industry. Similar to work being conducted presently in other countries, these studies from Scotland show an important trend many scientists see as a high-value development in horticulture: breeding berries and other nutritious plant foods specifically for improved content of phytochemicals with promising health effects. Research is beginning to reveal phenolic compounds (deeply colored pigments), like anthocyanins, resveratrol and quercetin, with significant potential for intervening against human diseases. Regulatory guidelines for phenolics, however, have not yet been established. Such breeding practices can eventually raise the potential nutritional value and uniformity of wholesome foods like color-rich fruits, vegetables and grains.

Trendsetter # 9. Systematic cancer research has created a checklist of candidate triggers for tumor formation that appear to be inhibited by berry phenolics.

Anticancer Res. 2007 Mar-Apr;27(2):937-48.

Inhibition of cancer cell proliferation and suppression of TNF-induced activation of NFkappaB by edible berry juice.
Boivin D, Blanchette M, Barrette S, Moghrabi A, Béliveau R.
Laboratoire de Médecine Moléculaire, Hôpital Ste-Justine-UQAM, Centre de Cancérologie Charles-Bruneau, Centre de Recherche de l'Hôpital Sainte-Justine, Montréal, Québec, Canada.

Edited Abstract. Berries contain several phytochemicals, such as phenolic acids, proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins and other flavonoids showing potential anti-cancer activities. Edible berries cultivated or collected in the province of Québec, Canada, include strawberry, raspberry, blackcurrant, red currant, white currant, gooseberry, high-bush blueberry, low-bush blueberry, velvet leaf blueberry, serviceberry (saskatoon), blackberry, black chokeberry, sea buckthorn and cranberry. These berries were subjected to in vitro tests of anti-cancer efficacy, including antioxidant capacity, anti-proliferative activity, anti-inflammatory activity, induction of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest – all mechanisms that may have roles in the onset and spread of tumors. The growth of various cancer cell lines, including those of stomach, prostate, intestine and breast, was strongly inhibited by individual juices of raspberry, blackcurrant, whitecurrant, gooseberry, velvet leaf blueberry, low-bush blueberry, sea buckthorn and cranberry juice, but not (or only slightly) by strawberry, high-bush blueberry, serviceberry, redcurrant, or blackberry juice. The inhibition of cancer cell proliferation by berry juices did not involve caspase-dependent apoptosis, but appeared to involve cell-cycle arrest, as evidenced by down-regulation of the expression of various genes. Of 13 berries tested, juice of 6 significantly inhibited the TNF-induced activation of COX-2 expression and activation of the nuclear transcription factor NFkappaB. Conclusion: i) berry juices differ in their potential for anti-cancer activity and ii) including a variety of berries in the diet might deter development of tumors.

Comments for Industry. Similar to work published over the past three years for other phenolic-rich berries like the black raspberry and açaí, this study on juices from several Québec-grown berries showed broad anti-cancer activity in vitro. Included were activities of berry juice phenolics against numerous specific mechanisms of cancer initiation, such as onset triggers (inflammation, gene transcription) and proliferation mechanisms (inhibition of tumor cell apoptosis). Collectively with other work, these studies confirm increasing evidence for berry phenolics having specific actions against several steps of tumorigenesis. As the study showed differences of anti-cancer effect by juices, a question is raised about whether juice processing differentially influences natural phenolic content of different berry species.

Black raspberries (Rubus occidentalis L.), the berry furthest advanced in cancer research

Trendsetter # 8. Quantitative differentiation of berries in anti-cancer models. Berries differing in their respective contents of total phenolics and antioxidant capacity (e.g., black raspberry higher than strawberries) have correspondingly different efficacy in vitro against cancer onset mechanisms (black raspberries greater).

Mol Carcinog. 2008 Apr;47(4):286-94.

Differential effects of black raspberry and strawberry extracts on BaPDE-induced activation of transcription factors and their target genes.
Li J, Zhang D, Stoner GD, Huang C.
Nelson Institute of Environmental Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY.

Edited Abstract. The specific molecular mechanisms underlying anti-cancer properties of edible berries have been demonstrated both in vitro and in vivo. To determine if different berry types exhibit specific mechanisms for their anti-cancer effects, the authors compared effects of extract fractions from both black raspberries and strawberries on activation of various cancer signaling pathways in vitro. Black raspberry fractions inhibited the activation of T cells and a cancer pathway requiring protein kinase whereas strawberry fractions did not inhibit the activation of protein kinase pathways. Vascular endothelial growth factor expression (an effect stimulating angiogenesis -- capillary development -- that nourishes tumors) was suppressed by black raspberry fractions but not by strawberries. The results indicate that black raspberry and strawberry components differ in how they inhibit signaling pathways responsible for onset of cancer.

Also see: Semin Cancer Biol. 2007 Oct;17(5):403-10.

Cancer prevention with freeze-dried berries and berry components.
Stoner GD, Wang LS, Zikri N, Chen T, Hecht SS, Huang C, Sardo C, Lechner JF.
Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Innovation Center, Columbus, OH, USA.

Comments for Industry. A partial checklist of tumor initiation steps is coming together showing berries as sources of cancer preventative phytochemicals. Different types of berries, however, vary in their ability to evoke these actions, apparently due both to the type of phenolics present and overall total content of phenolics (proportional to antioxidant strength). Such research helps define specific berries having the most potential for intervention against targeted diseases.

Checklist of cancer onset mechanisms berry phenolics appear to inhibit:

  1. reduce inflammatory mediators that may trigger tumors to form

  2. suppress growth of pre-cancerous cells possibly via inhibition of cancer-inducing enzymes, such as one called "mitogen-activated protein kinase"

  3. accelerate the rate of cell turnover, called apoptosis, effectively stimulating cancer cells to die faster

  4. increase DNA fragmentation of tumor cells (may be first event in apoptosis)

  5. inhibit mechanisms that control growth of new blood vessels nourishing tumors, a process called angiogenesis

  6. minimize cancer-induced DNA damage such as mutations initiated by oxidative reactions

  7. turn off (“down-regulate”) genes involved with proliferation, apoptosis, inflammation and angiogenesis

  8. interfere with cell-to-cell signaling and so may block proliferation of tumor cells

  9. decrease mechanisms controlling invasiveness of cancer cells

  10. scavenge or quench oxygen radicals inducing many of the above mechanisms

Trendsetter # 7. Inflammatory mechanisms are a focus for initiating numerous diseases and for berry phytochemicals as inflammation inhibitors.

Nutrition. 2007 Nov-Dec;23(11-12):844-52.

Interleukin-1 genotype-selective inhibition of inflammatory mediators by a botanical: a nutrigenetics proof of concept.
Kornman K, Rogus J, Roh-Schmidt H, Krempin D, Davies AJ, Grann K, Randolph RK.
Interleukin Genetics, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA.

Edited Abstract. A person's genetic makeup may influence nutritional effects on health. This proof-of-concept trial determined whether a specifically formulated botanical mixture containing berries could reduce inflammation in individuals with genetic predisposition to early heart disease. Healthy adults with elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) were stratified into genetic groups. The botanical formulation included a blueberry and blackberry mixture, a grapevine extract and rose hips. At 12 weeks of dosing with the botanical formulation, gene expression was significantly lower than at baseline and significantly lower than placebo. More subjects achieved a reduction in CRP with the botanical mixture than with placebo. This study was a prospective clinical trial in which genetic factors differentially influenced nutrient effects of berries on an inflammation marker for heart disease.

Comments for Industry. High blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) reliably predict inflammatory events in the body. In otherwise healthy people, elevated CRP levels and gene expression related to heart disease susceptibility were diminished by a 3 month diet containing berries. This study reveals a new tool in research on how diets may influence diseases: 1) first identifying people with disease susceptibility; and 2) using a dietary practice, such as berry consumption, to increase phenolic and antioxidant capacity, minimizing disease risk. This type of research has significance for future work to identify disease susceptibility then tailor diet to intervene against that disease.

Trendsetter # 6. Identifying anatomical locations of berry efficacy in digestion and disease models: berry efficacy on inflammatory pathways may occur even after digestion in the lower intestine.

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Jun;51(6):726-31.

Availability of blueberry phenolics for microbial metabolism in the colon and potential anti-inflammatory implications.
Russell WR, Labat A, Scobbie L, Duncan SH.
Molecular Nutrition Group, Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland.

Edited Abstract. Blueberries are a rich source of phytochemicals widely studied for their potential health benefits. Of particular interest for colonic health are the lower molecular weight phenolic acids and their derivatives, as these are the predominant phenolic compounds detected in the colon. Blueberries contained a wide variety of phenolic acids, the majority of which were attached to other plant cell-wall components and therefore, likely to become available for biological activity within the colon. Cytokine-induced stimulation of the inflammatory pathways in colon cells was four-fold up-regulated in the presence of the free phenolic acid fraction. The results indicate a protective effect of blueberry phenolics as anti-inflammatory agents in the colon, likely resulting from microbial metabolism.

Comments for Industry. Even after digestion, berries yield phenolic compounds that can have biological effects on local cells such as in colonocytes within the lower intestine. This study showed that blueberry phenolics could turn on colon cell cytokine synthesis, an anti-inflammatory mechanism.

Trendsetter # 5. Increasing focus on identifying specific mechanisms of action for resveratrol, probably the most extensively studied individual berry phenolic.

Biochem Soc Trans. 2007 Nov;35(Pt 5):1156-60.

Resveratrol as an antioxidant and pro-oxidant agent: mechanisms and clinical implications.
de la Lastra CA, Villegas I.
Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Seville, Spain

Resveratrol (3,4',5-trihydroxystilbene, also classified as a stilbene or phytoalexin) is found in various plants, including grapes, berries and peanuts. Richly present in red wines, it has been the focus of numerous in vitro and in vivo studies investigating its biological attributes which include:

  • antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities

  • anti-platelet aggregation effect

  • anti-atherogenic property

  • estrogen-like growth promotion

  • immunomodulation

  • anti-cancer activity

Resveratrol blocks the multistep process of carcinogenesis at tumor initiation, promotion and progression. More recent results provide interesting insights into the effect of this compound increasing the life span of yeasts and insects, implicating the potential of resveratrol as an anti-aging agent. Nevertheless, depending on its concentration and the cell type studied, resveratrol can be a pro-oxidant, leading to oxidative breakage of cellular DNA in the presence of transition metal ions like copper. A pro-oxidant action could be a common mechanism for anti-cancer and chemopreventive properties of plant polyphenols.

Comments for Industry. Focus on the numerous mechanisms of action by resveratrol provides a template of research steps to be taken for other phytochemicals that may have anti-disease activity. This study presents definition also for pro-oxidant effects of resveratrol that may participate in DNA mechanisms involved in tumor inhibition.

Muscadine grapes (Vitis rotundifolia),
a treasure-trove of resveratrol and other antioxidant phytochemicals, such as ellagic acid

Trendsetter # 4. Assessing the duration of antioxidant changes in blood following a meal provides a guide for timing dietary intake of antioxidant sources like berries.

J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Apr;26(2):170-81.

Plasma antioxidant capacity changes following a meal as a measure of the ability of a food to alter in vivo antioxidant status.
Prior RL, Gu L, Wu X, Jacob RA, Sotoudeh G, Kader AA, Cook RA.
USDA Arkansas Children's Nutrition Center, Little Rock, AR, USA.

Edited Abstract. This study determined 1) if a meal of different fruits or berries increased blood antioxidant capacity measured by the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity test (ORAC); 2) if including macronutrients in the meal altered post-meal changes in antioxidant capacity; and 3) if preliminary recommendations could be developed for antioxidant intake. Changes in blood ORAC following a meal of berries/fruits (blueberry, dried plum, dried plum juice, grape, cherry, kiwifruit and strawberry) were assessed in 5 human pilot studies. In two studies with blueberry or grape, additional macronutrients (carbohydrate, fat, protein) were included in the control and treatment meals. Consumption of blueberry, mixed grape powder or cherries increased blood ORAC for a period 2-4 hours following the meal. In control groups in which additional macronutrients were added without fruit, blood ORAC actually decreased. The authors concluded that certain berries and fruits, such as blueberries, mixed grape, cherries and kiwifruit, caused short-lasting (2-4 hr) increases in blood antioxidant capacity. Consumption of high antioxidant foods with each meal is recommended in order to prevent periods of post-meal oxidative stress.

Comments for Industry. By monitoring ORAC of blood following a meal, these scientists showed that antioxidant benefit of a high-phenolic meal of berries lasts only 2-4 hours. Such findings give a guide for food intake to maintain high circulating antioxidant capacity which can be achieved by consuming pigment-rich foods at each meal and between meals.

Trendsetter # 3. Measuring antioxidant capacity within cells in vitro gives ability to compare antioxidant capacity of individual phenolics at the cellular level, and so makes antioxidant assays more relevant biologically.

J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Oct 31;55(22):8896-907.

Cellular antioxidant activity (CAA) assay for assessing antioxidants, foods, and dietary supplements.
Wolfe KL, Liu RH.
Department of Food Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Edited Abstract. A cellular antioxidant activity (CAA) assay for quantifying the antioxidant activity of phytochemicals, food extracts, and dietary supplements was developed by these scientists. They used a probe called dichlorofluorescin that is trapped within cells and easily oxidized to fluorescent dichlorofluorescein to measure changes in antioxidant capacity within cells. The decrease in cellular fluorescence when compared to control cells indicates antioxidant capacity of test compounds. The antioxidant activities of selected phytochemicals and fruit extracts were evaluated using the CAA assay. Quercetin had the highest CAA value, followed by kaempferol, epigallocatechin gallate, myricetin, and luteolin among pure compounds tested. Among fruits tested, blueberry had the highest CAA value, followed by cranberry > apple = red grape > green grape. The CAA assay is a more biologically relevant method than the popular in vitro chemistry antioxidant activity assays like ORAC because CAA accounts for uptake, metabolism, and location of antioxidant compounds within cells.

Comments for Industry. Development of a cellular based method for assessing antioxidant capacity of foods and food extracts provides opportunity for new insight to understand bioactivity of antioxidant compounds. Although this study describes the method, future research will likely use such an assay to define kinetics of uptake, retention and magnitude of antioxidant effects inside cells.

Trendsetter # 2. Berry phenolics (in this case, from grape seed extracts) stimulated synthesis of nitric oxide, a universal endothelium-derived vascular relaxing factor and neurotransmitter.

Clin Sci (Lond). 2008 Feb;114(4):331-7.

Mechanism of the endothelium-dependent relaxation evoked by a grape seed extract.
Edirisinghe I, Burton-Freeman B, Kappagoda T.
Department of Environmental Medicine, Lung Biology and Disease Program, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY, U.S.A.

Edited Abstract. Grape seed extracts containing polyphenols cause an endothelium-dependent relaxation of blood vessels. This study examined mechanisms involved in this response in rabbit aortic rings suspended in organ baths. In aortic rings pre-contacted with norepinephrine, the extract produced a dose dependent relaxation similar to that elicited by acetylcholine. As expected, the relaxations were abolished by removal of the endothelium and were shown to require the essential role of nitric oxide synthase derived from endothelial cells (eNOS). These findings indicate that the endothelium dependent relaxation evoked by grape seed extract was mediated by a kinase signaling pathway stimulating activity of eNOS.

Comments for Industry. Any plant source of phytochemicals that stimulate synthesis of nitric oxide offers enormous opportunity for developing nutritional agents or drugs. In the 1990s, there were over 10,000 publications on nitric oxide leading to the 1998 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for discovery and physiological definitions of this short-lived oxygen radical and gas transmitter. The field of nitric oxide research may be one of the largest ever for research intensity, as there currently are 88,759 reports in NLM (May 2008). Stimulation of nitric oxide mechanisms by berries offers potential for understanding how berry chemicals affect cardiovascular control and functions of other organ systems. Also, this may become a new step for manufacturing target-directed nutritional supplements.

Mixed berry pigments, sources of anthocyanins featured in research benchmarks of 2007-8

Trendsetter # 1. Berry anthocyanins (pigments giving berries their colors) have multiple effects on blood-tissue glucose transport and fat cell inflammatory mechanisms.

Biochem Pharmacol. 2007 Dec 3;74(11):1619-27.

Cyanidin 3-glucoside ameliorates hyperglycemia and insulin sensitivity due to down-regulation of retinol binding protein 4 expression in diabetic mice.
Sasaki R, Nishimura N, Hoshino H, Isa Y, Kadowaki M, Ichi T, Tanaka A, Nishiumi S, Fukuda I, Ashida H, Horio F, Tsuda T.
College of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Chubu University, Japan.

Edited Abstract. Adipocyte (fat cell) dysfunction is strongly associated with the development of obesity and insulin resistance. Regulation of adipocytokine expression is one of the most important targets for prevention of obesity and improvement of insulin sensitivity in treating diabetes. The authors demonstrated that berry anthocyanins (particularly cyanidin 3-glucoside, C3G, a pigment widespread in dark berries) improved blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity in type-2 diabetic mice. C3G significantly upregulated the blood-to-tissue glucose transporter and downregulated inflammatory adipocytokines in white adipose tissue of the C3G-treated group. The findings indicate that C3G has significant potency as an anti-diabetic agent through regulation of glucose transporters and inflammatory adipocytokines.

Comments for Industry. This study is a top-ranked berry research report of 2007-8 because it provides clear biochemical evidence for how berry pigments act against major diseases prevalent in many world regions – metabolic syndrome, obesity and diabetes. The anthocyanin, cyanidin-3-glucose present in many dark berries, had three effects: 1) increased ability for transporting glucose out of blood into tissues (therefore acting like insulin); 2) increased sensitivity of the tissue response to insulin, also helping blood-tissue transport of glucose; 3) decreasing the inflammatory response of fat cells in diabetic mice, an effect possibly inhibiting diabetes onset. The findings are a basis for manufacturing new berry-based products to improve diets and reduce the impact of diabetes and obesity. Such effects of anthocyanins will possibly aid in future dietary treatments for diabetes and other disorders resulting from chronic inflammation.

Author Profile

Paul M. Gross, PhD received his doctorate in physiology from the University of Glasgow, Scotland and was trained in neuroscience at the Laboratory of Cerebral Metabolism, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. A Research Scholar for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, he published 85 peer-reviewed journal reports and book chapters over a 25 year career in medical science, and was recipient of the Karger Memorial Award, Switzerland, for publications on brain capillaries. Dr. Gross is publisher of The Berry Doctor's Journal, where readers can obtain free information on berry science and nutrition. He is coauthor of a book on the goji berry with X. Zhang and R. Zhang, Wolfberry: Nature's Bounty of Nutrition and Health, 2006, Booksurge Publishing (

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.