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Strawberries are similar to blueberries and red wine in having multiple health benefits, thanks to a compound called fisetin, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies reported recently.
Fisetin helps combat juvenile diabetes and protects neurons in the brain, according to a study by Salk researchers David Schubert, Ph.D., and Pam Maher, Ph.D., appearing in the journal, PLoS ONE.
Strawberries are the best source of fisetin, which appear to a lesser extent in other fruits and vegetables, according Maher.
Salk Institute Strawberry Study
The researchers gave Akita mice, which are afflicted with unusually high blood sugar, a fisetin-high enriched diet, and the medical effects of diabetes were eased, according to the study. There is also evidence that fisetin can protect neurons and could help slow or prevent neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's Disease, Maher said.
It would take 37 strawberries daily to equal the dosage given to the lab mice, so researchers envision fisetin not as a dietary change, but as a supplement that would be taken in pill form. Although dietary supplements containing fisetin are available in the U.S., the dose is generally lower than the equivalent dose given to the mice in the study, Maher said.
Maher said the Salk researchers have had preliminary discussion with pharmaceutical companies about fisetin. Their also plan to see if fisetin is effective in treating type 2 diabetes.