Blueberries are already famous for their powerful anti-oxidant factors. Free radicals can attach to almost any molecule in the body and remove electrons. This results in damage to cells and all types of body components and has been identified as one of the most important causes of aging. Anti-oxidants quench free radicals by giving them free electrons and making the molecule whole again so it isn’t out there scavenging for those missing electrons.
But our bodies also make their own anti-oxidants and new research is showing that blueberry polyphenols are able to directly modulate genes that impart cells with their own protective mechanisms such as superoxide dismutase and catalase. They are also able to modulate genes associated with aging itself such as the Methuselah gene.
For many, many years the most effective way to extend life without exception in every organism and in every life extension study, has been calorie restriction. Blueberry polyphenols are the only substance ever found to extend life beyond what is possible with calorie restriction alone.
Why are blueberries so effective in promoting longevity? They powerfully promote the repair of DNA strands. These strands can be damaged by free radicals and that damage contributes to cancer, heart disease, diabetes and aging. Blueberries optimize cellular immunity, and improve memory and cognitive abilities. They counteract atherosclerosis by correcting lipid disturbances, blood vessel stiffness, and vulnerability to infarction.
Blueberry constituents directly oppose insulin resistance, high blood sugar, lipid anomalies, and hypertension which are the causes of Metabolic Syndrome. And when it comes to cancer, laboratory studies show that blueberry supplementation prevents or improves virtually each step in cancer development, from DNA damage to invasion of distant organs through metastasis.
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Keep reading to learn the fascinating details!
Mechanisms Of Blueberries’ Life-Extending Properties
How do blueberries manage to prolong life and improve function so dramatically? We’re nowhere near a definitive answer, given the complexity of the berries’ biochemistry, but some key points are beginning to emerge, centered on the body’s own ability to repair itself.
Blueberries and their polyphenol components appear to be exceptionally good at promoting repair of DNA strands and at optimizing immunity at the cellular level.7,21,22 Both of these functions are essential for preventing senescent and environmental impacts that lead to cancer,23,24 cardiovascular disease,25,26 and loss of metabolic control,27,28 that underlies obesity and diabetes.
DNA, the molecular blueprint that contains instructions for all life functions, is a delicate molecule that, despite many protective mechanisms, readily suffers damage from oxidation, radiation, toxic chemicals,29,30 and other sources of stress. All living cells have evolved mechanisms to identify and repair broken DNA strands, which if left unrepaired, promote cancer and early cell death.31 Numerous studies now reveal that blueberry extracts both prevent DNA damage and promote its rapid and accurate repair.7,32-40
Human Study Corroborates DNA Protection
In an impressive human study, healthy volunteers ingested either 300 grams of ground blueberries or a control jelly with no blueberry components.41 Blood samples were taken before, and one, two, and 24 hours after the subjects took the study supplement. At the end of one hour, the amount of oxidation-induced DNA damage in blueberry-supplemented volunteers fell by 18% compared with control subjects. What makes this study particularly impressive is that this single, albeit large, serving of blueberries was able to suppress this amount of DNA damage so quickly.