New research shows that the nutrition in berries may be lost in part due to the way our body breaks down these complex compounds in the mouth. Some pigments in human saliva make the nutritional elements in berries more difficult to survive and become absorbed in the body.
Those conducting the study found that two pigments, the same pigments that provide berries with their distinct coloring, are prone to more significant degradation within the human mouth. This is decidedly different from another four separate pigments contained within the fruit.
The study, conducted by Ohio State University, is not conclusive. Researchers close to the study were unable to discern if the pigments themselves naturally degrade or external components of the mouth trigger this effect. The nutritional benefits to berries, some of which are linked to cancer prevention, might not be able to filter into the body due to bacteria living in the mouth. The human mouth has long been realized as a veritable breeding ground for bacteria. The question remains, ‘How much of this bacteria is responsible for diminished nutrient intake?’.
Researchers conducted the study by exposing an extract of anthocyanin pigments from various berries to various samples of saliva. Their findings suggest that a high dosage of fruits may only be necessary due to the exhibited degradation. Some nutritionists actually advise larger portions of fruits due to the high amounts of sugar they generally contain.
Despite these findings, it’s clear some of the nutritional aspects associated with berries are still able to benefit many individuals. If anything, the discovery of degradation only makes the situation at hand slightly more mystifying. Additional studies will need to be conducted to explore the link further. In the meantime, the typically recommended portions for both fruits and vegetables applies.