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The before and after of berries properties

Neuroprotective effects of blackberry in vitro is stimulated upon digestion

Oeiras, 24.01.11

Ascertaining the beneficial health effects of berries requires taking in account their journey through the body once eaten. This is the conclusion of a study recently published in Food Chemistry, which demonstrated that digested extracts of blackberry were more effective than non-digested extracts in protecting brain cells from oxidation in vitro. Involved in the study were researchers from the Disease & Stress Biology Laboratory in collaboration with researchers from The James Hutton Institute (Dundee, UK) and the Animal Cell Technology Unit.

Researchers used a validated model to mimic the impact of human digestion on the phenolic components of blackberry and tested these components in neuroblastoma cells. What they found is that, while digestion altered the general chemical profile and antioxidant capacity of the extract, it also led to a major enhancement in the neuroprotective ability of fruit derived components. Furthermore, this protection was not related to the antioxidant ability. According to the researchers “these findings offer up exciting new scientific and economic opportunities in the areas of dietary approaches to degenerative disease prevention, functional food development and new breeding programmes in blackberry (and possibly sister species such as raspberry) targeted at enhancing the levels of the natural components from which the bioactivity was derived.”

Original article

Food Chemistry (2011) 131(4): 1443-1452 

Neuroprotective effect of blackberry (Rubus sp.) polyphenols is potentiated after simulated gastrointestinal digestion

Lucélia Tavares, Inês Figueira, Diana Macedo, Gordon J. McDougall, Maria Cristina Leitão, Helena L.A. Vieira, Derek Stewart, Paula M. Alves, Ricardo B. Ferreira, Cláudia N. Santos


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