Polyphenols found in plants have been shown to fight adipogenesis, which is the development of fat cell, and induce lipolysis, which is the breakdown of lipids and fat. The study was done to evaluate whether blueberry polyphenols play a role in adipocyte differentiation, the process in which a relatively unspecialized cell acquires specialized features of an adipocyte, an animal connective tissue cell specialized for the synthesis and storage of fat.
As such polyphenols occur in all plant foods and contribute to the beneficial health effects of vegetables and fruit. Their contribution to the antioxidant capacity of the human diet is much larger than that of vitamins. The total intake in a person’s diet could amount to 1 gram a day, whereas combined intakes of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E from food most often is about 100 mg a day.
Phenolic acids account for about one third of the total intake of polyphenols in our diet, and flavonoids account for the remaining two thirds. Flavonoids are further subdivided into several categories.
The study was performed in tissue cultures taken from mice. The polyphenols showed a dose-dependent suppression of adipocyte differentiation. The lipid content in the control group was significantly higher than the content of the tissue given three doses of blueberry polyphenols. The highest dose of blueberry polyphenols yielded a 73% decrease in lipids; the lowest dose showed a 27% decrease.
Undoubtedly, the promise is there for blueberries to help reduce adipose tissue from forming in the body. However, can this inhibit obesity at a molecular stage, is still needed to be tested. In addition to this, the dose calibration in humans is to be ensured, to avoid that there are no adverse effects, and to see if the doses are as effective. This is a burgeoning area of research. Determining the best dose for humans will be important.
Earlier several studies have shown that a group of polyphenol antioxidant compounds found in grapes, green tea, soybeans and wine may lower the risk of a range of cancers, but exactly how these powerful compounds work has remained unclear.