The compounds present in blueberries may have a positive effect on the formation of strong and healthy bones, shows study.
Jin-Ran Chen's studies with young, rapidly growing laboratory rats suggest that polyphenols, the compounds that give blueberries their blue, purple, and red coloration, might aid in building strong bones.
The work has paved the way for new research that might reveal whether blueberries could be used in the future in treatments to boost development of bone mass and to help prevent osteoporosis.
The investigation showed that animals fed rations that contained 10 percent freeze-dried blueberry powder had significantly more bone mass than their counterparts whose rations were blueberry-free.
When the researchers exposed laboratory cultures of bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) to blood (serum) from the animals, the scientists found that serum from the blueberry-fed rats was associated with an increase in development of osteoblasts into mature, functional bone cells.
Serum in the blueberry-fed rats was high in phenolic acids, derived from the color-impacting polyphenols. The research suggests that the phenolic acids may have had bone-building effects in the rats.
Studies are needed to determine whether these benefits occur in humans, Chen noted.
The study was published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.