Nutrient bioavailability–phytonutrients and beyond

The metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a major public health problem in the United States. The MetS is characterized by the concurrent presence of obesity, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, and hypertension, and other associated metabolic abnormalities. Finding economical and effective ways to prevent and reverse the MetS is extremely important for public health and the health care system. Wild blueberries are among the commercially available fruits and vegetables that contain the highest levels of antioxidant polyphenols, mostly anthocyanins. Past research in our laboratory has documented that wild blueberries beneficially affect the cardiovascular system and regulate vasomotor tone and also arterial metabolism in models of normal endothelial function but also dysfunction. This research will focus on elucidating the role of wild blueberries on endothelial dysfunction, dyslipidemia, and the inflammatory state induced by obesity as related to MetS in models of genetic and diet-induced obesity. We hope to show that regular consumption of  wild blueberries cannot only prevent the development of the abnormalities related to the MetS, but it can also significantly reduce/normalize or reverse most of the above risk factors.

Investigator: Klimis-Zacas, D.

Unit: School of Food and Agriculture

Termination Date: 30-Sep-18