The blueberry and heart health study

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    The effects of blueberry anthocyanin metabolism on acute cardiometabolic health



  • Contact name

    Aedin Cassidy

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    University of East Anglia

  • Identifier


  • Duration of Study in the UK

    1 years, 0 months, 29 days

  • Research summary

    Why do people experience different health benefits after berry fruit intake?
    Berries are commonly consumed, providing amongst other things a rich source of anthocyanin (a ‘flavonoid’; naturally occurring compounds in foods of plant origin). In epidemiological and intervention studies, anthocyanin intake is associated with improved health markers (i.e. reduced blood pressure, insulin resistance and improved lipid profiles), reduced disease incidence (i.e. coronary heart disease, non-fatal myocardial infarction, type 2 diabetes) and all-cause mortality. In many studies, however, the response to intervention is highly variable between participants; we hypothesise that differences in anthocyanin metabolism may determine the health responses that are experienced. In our recently completed studies, anthocyanin metabolism profiles which were retrospectively identified, were associated with different vascular responses.

    This research will be the first to prospectively recruit on the basis of blueberry anthocyanin metabolism type; retaining only FAST and SLOW anthocyanin metabolisers following a ‘blueberry challenge’. For the ‘challenge’, healthy overweight participants (≥25kg/m2 BMI) will consume a single, dose of blueberries (freeze dried) and metabolism type will be established in urine samples (over 48h).

    FAST and SLOW metabolisers (of blueberry anthocyanin) will then take part in a cross-over study, to confirm the importance of metabolism type on acute cardio-metabolic health. On separate days (in random order), participants will consume a) freeze dried blueberries, or b) a matched placebo powder; both will be consumed with an energy-dense meal. On both occasions, vascular function will be assessed at regular intervals during day 1, and participants will be re-assessed at +24 and +48 hr after intake. Blood samples will be taken (via cannula on day 1; single venepuncture on +24 and +48 h) and urine will be collected throughout (48h). Lifestyle and dietary restrictions will be applied to control for background variability.

  • REC name

    West Midlands - South Birmingham Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    1 Feb 2019

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion