Strawberries, Blueberries, and Cranberries in the Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical
Emerging science supports therapeutic roles of strawberries, blueberries, and cranberries in metabolic syndrome, a prediabetic state characterized by several cardiovascular risk factors. Interventional studies reported by our group and others have demonstrated the following effects: strawberries lowering total and LDL-cholesterol, but not triglycerides, and decreasing surrogate biomarkers of atherosclerosis (malondialdehyde and adhesion molecules); blueberries lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure and lipid oxidation and improving insulin resistance; and low-calorie cranberry juice selectively decreasing biomarkers of lipid oxidation (oxidized LDL) and inflammation (adhesion molecules) in metabolic syndrome. Mechanistic studies further explain these observations as up-regulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase activity, reduction in renal oxidative damage, and inhibition of the activity of carbohydrate digestive enzymes or angiotensin-converting enzyme by these berries. These findings need confirmation in future studies with a focus on the effects of strawberry, blueberry, or cranberry intervention in clinical biomarkers and molecular mechanisms underlying the metabolic syndrome.