Conventional drugs used in the treatment of liver diseases inevitably have side effects. An increasing number of natural substances have been studied to explore if they have protective effects on the liver. Blueberries, rich in a variety of polyphenols and often called a health food or superfood, have unique effects on human retinal, brain and tumor cells, but reports about the effects of blueberries on liver diseases are lacking.

A research article published June 7, 2010 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology addresses this question. The research team led by Ming-Liang Cheng, MD, from Department of Infectious Diseases, Guiyang Medical College, Guiyang, presented some data from their research on the effectiveness of blueberries on liver fibrosis induced in laboratory animals.

Their study showed that blueberries could reduce liver laboratory indices, serum levels of hyaluronic acid and alanine aminotransferase, and increase levels of superoxide dismutase and decrease levels of malondialdehyde in liver homogenates compared with the model group. Meanwhile, the stage of hepatic fibrosis was significantly weakened. Blueberries increased the activity of glutathione-S-transferase in liver homogenates and the expression of Nrf2 and Nqo1 compared with the normal group, but there was no significant difference compared with the model group.

The authors suggest that blueberry consumption is beneficial for hepatic diseases, including fibrosis (Courtesy of EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS).

The full article is available online free here:

Blueberries protect against liver fibrosis

Reference: Wang YP, et al. Effects of blueberry on hepatic fibrosis and transcription factor Nrf2 in rats. World J Gastroenterol 2010; 16(21): 2657-2663