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Blueberries Improve Insulin Resistance?

Blueberries Improve Insulin Resistance?

Over the past several months, I’ve often referred to The Metabolic Syndrome. Essentially, there’s a connection between being overweight and insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. When medical conditions such as high blood sugar (diabetes), high cholesterol and triglycerides, obesity, and high blood pressure converge, it puts individuals at a greater risk for vascular related diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.

Losing weight can be very challenging and there are no easy buttons to push. Sustained weight loss generally requires dietary adjustments as well as ongoing exercise programs.

Health Benefits of Blueberries:

One of my personal favorite fruits are blueberries. To start with, they taste great and contain antioxidants. Blueberries contain anthocyanins, tannins, and flavonols as well as other phytochemicals which have several putative health benefits. Growing up, blueberry pancakes were always one of my favorite breakfasts.

Blueberries and Diabetes:

A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition (Stull et al, 2010), suggests that the bioactives in blueberries are effective at improving insulin sensitivity in obese, insulin-resistant men and women.

The study itself included 32 obese, insluin-resistance, nondiabetic subjects who either consumed a smoothie containing placebo or 22.5 g of blueberry bioactives twice daily for six weeks.


“The mean change in insulin sensitivity improved more in the blueberry group (1.7 +/- 0.5 FFM(-1).min(-1)) than in the placebo group (0.4 +/- 0.4 FFM(-1).min(-1)) (P = 0.04).”

Study Author Conclusions:

“Insulin sensitivity was enhanced in the blueberry group at the end of the study without significant changes in adiposity, energy intake, and inflammatory biomarkers. In conclusion, daily dietary supplementation with bioactives from whole blueberries improved insulin sensitivity in obese, nondiabetic, and insulin-resistant participants.”

The study authors noted that previous research involving subjects consuming whole blueberries resulted in glucose reductions over time in a preclinical study. Essentially, the study results suggest one more benefit of consuming blueberries themselves.

What Are Your Favorite Ways to Consume Blueberries?


  1. Stull AJ, Cash KC, Johnson WD, Champagne CM, Cefalu WT. Bioactives in Blueberries Improve Insulin Sensitivity in Obese, Insulin-Resistant Men and Women. J Nutr. 2010 Aug 19.


  • John Mech

    How many blueberries would you recommend daily to get the benefit?

  • Susan Davis

    Most of the research uses 1/2-1 cup or the equivalent of fresh or frozen blueberries. The study Dr. Jarret is referring to used about 12 oz for an average wt person, more if obese. This amount is relatively easy to achieve in the daily diet. The key is to get the blues in most everyday Susan Davis MS RD., Nutrition Advisor for the Wild Blueberry Association

    • Jarret Morrow, M.D.

      Susan, thanks for addressing this question for me. I've been a little slow at answering questions here lately.

    • Kevin Kennedy

      Ms. Davis, May daughter is insulin resistant. She is 5'10", an athlete not obese or diabetic but if she was not as active as she is(recent NCAA basketball player) she could put on some serious weight. She claims to be always hungary and has been prescribed Metformin to try and help with the condition. Would introducting bluebeeries improve her condition? -Mr. Kennedy

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