Overconsumption of energy dense foods and sedentary lifestyle are considered as major causes of obesity-associated insulin resistance and abnormal glucose metabolism. Results from both cohort studies and randomized trials suggested that anthocyanins from berries may lower metabolic risks, however these reports are equivocal. The present study was designed to examine effects of six berries with structurally diverse anthocyanin profiles (normalized to 400 µg/g total anthocyanin content) on development of metabolic risk factors in the C57BL/6 mouse model of polygenic obesity. Diets supplemented with blackberry (mono-glycosylated cyanidins), black raspberry (acylated mono-glycosylated cyanidins), blackcurrant (mono- and di-glycosylated cyanidins and delphinidins), maqui berry (di-glycosylated delphinidins), Concord grape (acylated mono-glycosylated delphinidins and petunidins), and blueberry (mono-glycosylated delphinidins, malvidins, and petunidins) showed a prominent discrepancy between biological activities of delphinidin/malvidin-versus cyanidin-type anthocyanins that could be explained by differences in their structure and metabolism in the gut. Consumption of berries also resulted in a strong shift in the gastrointestinal bacterial communities towards obligate anaerobes that correlated with decrease in the gastrointestinal luminal oxygen and oxidative stress. Further work is needed to understand mechanisms that lead to nearly anoxic conditions in the gut lumens, including the relative contributions of host, diet and/or microbial oxidative activity, and their implication to human health.
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