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The Nutrition InvestigatorThe health and nutrition blog by Dr. Roc Ordman.

Berries likely to increase our healthspan from Roc Nutrition Investigator

by Roc (click here for full post)

SUMMARY: I am becoming involved in the long ongoing blueberry study, coordinated by Dr. Rolf Martin, which has helped make everyone aware of the tremendous health benefits of eating blueberries every day. There are several further benefits being investigated. 1) There is biochemical, whole animal and human cellular evidence that eating them will prevent osteoporosis; 2) eating blueberries greatly preserves the beneficial molecule in green tea, EGCG, so that a single cup of tea may equal 4 cups, and 3) that EGCG preserved by blueberries enters the brain and may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, by binding hazardous metals, like aluminum and excess iron and copper, which otherwise generate free radicals accelerating Alzheimer’s. Prof. Greg Brewer of Michigan University has proposed that the epidemic of Alzheimer’s may be generated in part by the high intake of those elements from multivitamins and consumption of aluminum associated with food. If you are interested in being alerted to clinical trials occurring which will pay for your blueberry consumption, send an email to ordman@beloit.edu, SUBJECT: alert to blueberry trial, and include your name, age, and what state you live in.

FULL STORY: Recently I have had conversations with Rolf Martin, who is a principal investigator in the ongoing Blueberry Study, which has made blueberries so desirable to eat because of the wonderful health benefits he helped to document. Recently he has become interested in two likely health benefits. Eating blueberries is likely to reduce your risk of osteoporosis, and of Alzheimer’s. Below is a summary of our conversations and some of the documentation.

As his lab is sponsoring clinical trials that reimburse participants for the cost of buying blueberries to eat, I have agreed to compile a list of volunteers who might wish to participate. If you are interested, please reply to ordman@beloit.edu, SUBJECT: Blueberries

First exchange: Alzheimer’s: On Jun 16, Rolf Martin wrote: Wonder what you think of the following papers: Re: Links to copper-Alzheimer’s articles that say copper in vitamin pills may be harmful.  Iron, and aluminum in certain forms may also be harmful.  I’m avoiding vitamin pills and foods with these minerals.  Zinc is safe according to these papers.


This link reviews evidence that iron accumulates in Alzheimer’s brains when blood transport mechanisms are low.  One of the authors is a Mass General Hosp/Harvard neurochemist, giving this article more credibility than otherwise.


We’ve avoided iron-containing supplements for many years because of similar evidence. These new papers may be confusing since many people need extra copper and iron, leading multivitamin manufacturers to include them in widely-consumed supplements.The key seems to be to consume the right forms and amounts, to get the benefits they provide while avoiding harmful excess and harmful inorganic forms. It may be safest to check with your physician if you are unsure, since he or she may know more about your personal needs.

Blueberries and other sources of polyphenols may be beneficial in part because they bind and neutralize excessive amounts of these potentially harmful or useful metals. Best wishes for long-term health past 100, Rolf

My thoughts: FROM MY WEBSITE: From chelation therapies;
1. Iron Chelation, by Dr. Richardson: we need iron chelators to treat Parkinson’s. They generate free radicals that cause damage. Rasagiline is a great iron chelator approved by the FDA in 2005.
2. EGCG from tea is a potent metal chelator that crosses blood-brain barrier. Ref: Levites, JBC 277: 30574 (2002)
For Parkinson’s disease, one needs an iron (Fe) chelator and EGCG (most concentrated in green tea) to cover both routes of damage. Fe radical damage prevented by chelator,
3 . neuron loss is prevented by EGCG. So it makes sense to me that iron or copper might trigger free radical damage.  I note many AGE and LPI people take multivitamins without iron. Between multivitamins and red meat consumption and geritol many years ago, I hypothesize iron is the culprit.  You only have one author of those two papers that add copper to the list.  Not enough to cause me worry yet.

But here’s what I do: 1. try not to eat to much 4 legged (red) meat. 2. take a multivitamin without iron only about once a week, as I think people with a good diet do not require a multi.  3. And I drink about 3 cups of green tea daily, and 2 g fish oil, and vitamin C 500 mg BID, and have blueberries every morning. 4. I get lots of exercise, think about hard topics, and think about sex – which are the 3 steps for building neurons recommended at the AGE meeting in Scottsdale a few years ago. 5. I meditate, which measurably and quickly increases the volume of the brain and generates new neurons.

Second exchange: Blueberries and Green Tea: Quercetin (a major polyphenol found in blueberries) increased the antiproliferative activity of green tea polyphenol EGCG in prostate cancer cells.  Incubation with both quercetin and EGCG for 2 h increased the cellular concentrations of EGCG by 4- to 8-fold. As stated above, EGCG from tea is a potent metal chelator that crosses blood-brain barrier, where it can prevent the harmful reactions catalazed by iron, copper, and aluminum.

Osteoporosis: There has been a lot of research conducted by Chen et al showing that in cell culture and animals blueberry consumption has many benefits that will reduce the risk for osteoporosis. Here are a few titles: *Blueberry consumption prevents loss of collagen in bone matrix and inhibits senescence pathways in osteoblastic cells.*Feeding blueberry diets in early life prevent senescence of osteoblasts and bone loss in ovariectomized adult female rats. The biochemical mechanism of these benefits has been shown in other publications, and clinical trials are being designed now to show this benefit in humans.

Link to Blueberry page with Reference List

In honor of these many promising results, I am adding blueberries to my supplement recommendations.
Caring, Roc

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