Blueberries may support muscle growth, repair in women, says recent study

August 14, 2020

A new research study funded by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council investigated how subjects consuming a diet enriched with blueberries affects the cells responsible for muscle growth and repair.

A new research study funded by the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC; Folsom, CA) and published in the Journal of Nutrition investigated how subjects consuming a diet enriched with blueberries affects the cells responsible for muscle growth and repair—human muscle progenitor cell (hMPC).

The six-week study included 22 women, 12 aged 25-40 and 10 aged 60-75. Participants consumed the equivalent of 1.75 cups of fresh blueberries/day, given as freeze-dried blueberries along with their regular diet. They were also asked to avoid other foods rich in polyphenols and anthocyanins. 

After six weeks, the results showed the blueberry-enriched serum obtained from the women aged 25-40 increased human muscle progenitor cell numbers in culture. There was also a trend toward a lower percentage of dead human muscle progenitor cells, suggesting resistance to oxidative stress, as well as increased oxygen consumption of the cells. There were no beneficial effects seen in the muscle progenitor cells treated with serum from participants aged 60-75.

“The consequences associated with the deterioration of skeletal muscle are a loss of mobility, decreased quality of life, and ultimately, loss of independence,” said Anna Thalacker-Mercer, PhD, the study’s lead investigator, in a press release. “Currently, research on dietary interventions to support skeletal muscle regeneration in humans is limited. This preliminary study of muscle progenitor cell function paves the way for future studies to develop clinical interventions. While the results cannot be generalized to all populations, this study is an important step in translating findings from cell culture and rodent studies to a potential dietary therapy for improving muscle regeneration after injury and during the aging process.”

USHBC had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or writing of the study. 

Reference

  1. Blum JE et al. “Consumption of a Blueberry-Enriched Diet by Women for 6 Weeks Alters Determinants of Human Muscle Progenitor Cell Function” Journal of Nutrition, Published online ahead of print on July 17, 2020