Live Longer Retreats: Blueberries

Live Longer Retreats: Blueberries

This summer, the Telluride Ski Resort and The Peaks Resort & Spa are hosting a series of week-long wellness intensives – Live Longer Retreat –  to support your (recurring) New Year’s resolution to get really healthy and therefore live longer – well.

The program is led by Dr. Alan Safdi, a world-renowned internist and gastroenterologist with encyclopedic knowledge of mind-body wellness and preventative medicine. Dr. Safdi also has a gift for delivering evidence-based medical findings for healthier living in easily digestible sound bytes.

In the run-up to the retreats, Dr. Safdi is posting regular updates on Telluride Inside… and Out based on the latest, closely vetted research in health, wellness and longevity. 

This week, Dr. Safdi talks about the miracle fruit: blueberries.

Feel free to sign up now to participate in a Live Longer  Retreat here  or call 1-877-448-5416 for further information.

There are lots of good reasons to love blueberries. A great source of vitamin C, potassium and fiber, blueberries are delicious on their own or with cereal, yogurt, salads and other foods

What’s more, according to the latest research, compounds found in a range of berries, especially blue ones, may soon help to treat cancer and slow the aging process.

The magic resides in  naturally occurring pigments, notably anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid which give the berries their blue color. Particularly prevalent in blueberries, as well as cranberries, raspberries, and blackcurrants, the antioxidant capabilities of anthocyanins have intrigued researchers for years.To date, however, much of the work looking at anthocynanins’ antioxidant action has been carried out in the laboratory rather than in animals.

Because of that limitation, there is some debate as to whether the pigment and associated flavonoids are easily absorbed into the human body. After all, there is a substantial difference between introducing a compound to a cell in a petri dish and actually popping it into your mouth.

However there is a new and growing body of evidence that suggests anthocyanins can help protect our bodies against challenges such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Improved mobility and cognition among older adults has in fact been determined.

Mobility and cognition were compared at baseline and after 45 and 90 days of dietary intervention among men and women between the ages of 60 and 75 years. Participants were asked to consume freeze-dried blueberries – 24 g/day or the equivalent of one cup of fresh blueberries or a blueberry placebo – for 90 days. The result? Fewer repetition errors in the California Verbal Learning test and reduced switch cost on a task-switching test were noted among participants in the blueberry group relative to controls, however, no improvement in gait or balance was observed. Overall, the study revealed that some aspects of cognition can be improved by the addition of easily achievable quantities of blueberries to the diets of older adults.

Researchers have also investigated whether or not the berries might also help in the fight against cancer. While some laboratory and animal studies have offered hope, observational studies in humans have, to date, been less conclusive. However, recently a team of researchers from the School of Pharmacy at the University of Eastern Finland teamed up with the National Institute on Aging in the United States and came up with some encouraging news.

Those researchers looked specifically at the effects of anthocynanins on an enzyme implicated in cancer and aging, namely sirtuin 6 (SIRT6). Their findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Sirtuins regulate the expression of genes involved in a number of cellular signaling pathways. As we age, sirtuin—like much of the rest of us—stops working as well as in our younger bodies, and that can contribute to a variety of ills.

In the study, researchers found, however, that one type of anthocyanin or cyanidin, was of particular interest.

Found in blueberries, wild bilberries, raspberries, and cranberries, cyanidin was shown to increase production of SIRT6 in cells by an impressive 55-fold. And it increased expression of the good genes in colorectal cancer cells.

In other words, cyanidin appeared to reduce the activity of cancer-causing genes and boost the activity of cancer-stopping genes.

More and more evidence is now on the table that suggests eating berries each day can improve your health and increase your lifespan. We will, however, have to patiently wait for scientists to untangle the increasingly complex web that anthocyanins weave to evaluate all of their potential benefits.

In short, there is a lot to learn about anthocyanins and how they impact human health. In the meantime I for one am going to enjoy my daily bowl of blueberries even more now.

More about Dr. Alan Safdi:

Dr. Alan Safdi is a board-certified in Internal Medicine and in Gastroenterology and a Fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology. A proven leader in the healthcare arena, Safdi has been featured on the national program “Medical Crossfire” and authored or co-authored numerous medical articles and abstracts. He has been an investigator in over 581 studies and is President of both the Consultants For Clinical Research and the Ohio Gastroenterology and Liver Institute.

Dr. Safdi has been involved in grant-based and clinical research for about 35+ years and is passionate about disease prevention and wellness, not just fixing what has gone wrong. He lectures internationally on the subjects of wellness, nutrition, and gastroenterology.

More about the other lectures:

A series of lectures given by Dr. Alan Safdi and Dr. William Renner in Telluride is planned for the Spring. The talks on health, wellness, and longevity research target health care providers as well as the general public.

A new workshops targets the veterinary world with lectures and hands-on training for veterinarians in the field of endoscopic therapy in animals. Multiple stations with direct hands-on learning with in-depth lectures with regards to GI disease that can be treated or prevented with endoscopic therapy. For more information, visit the following;; and

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