An unsuspected muscle food: blueberries
Blueberries aren't just a fashionable super food for health freaks looking to boost their immune and cardiovascular health. Blueberries may also be of interest to athletes who want to accelerate their muscle growth. This is suggested by an experimental human study published by researchers at Cornell University in the Journal of Nutrition.
The researchers experimented with 2 groups of women. One group consisted of a dozen women aged 21-40, the other of 10 women aged 60-79. For 6 weeks, all women were given 38 grams of freeze-dried blueberries every day.
Just before and during the 6 weeks, the researchers extracted muscle progenitor cells from the women's blood and studied them in their laboratory. Muscle progenitor cells are stem cells produced by the body that can be absorbed by muscle tissues and grow into fully-fledged muscle cells. [Am J Stem Cells. 2012 Nov 30;1(3):253-63.]
The study was sponsored by the US Highbush Blueberry Council, [ushbc.org] an organization of and for blueberry growers.
Blueberry supplementation increased the number of muscle progenitor cells in the blood of the younger women, but the berries had no effect in the older women.
Blueberry supplementation appeared to increase oxygen consumption in muscle progenitor cells. So the cells became more active.
How blueberries may be able to stimulate muscle growth becomes clear in the figure below. In muscle progenitor cells, blueberries increased the concentration of the protective longevity enzyme SIRT1. Well known to the readers of this web magazine.
"In younger women, dietary interventions could be a feasible strategy to improve muscle progenitor cells function and thus muscle regeneration, through altering the serum environment", the researchers conclude.
J Nutr 2020;150:2412-8.
Cyanidin, the life-extender in blueberries 12.04.2018
Blueberries have an antioestrogenic effect 31.04.2014
Anthocyanins in blueberries: more muscle and less fat 26.11.2011
Unusual Muscle Building Strategies