Molecular Nutrition Group

Head: Karin Berger



According to WHO, improving nutrition is the single most important contributor to reduce the burden of diabetes in Europe. Polyphenols are compounds with anti-oxidative effect providing taste and color in plant-based food. In the last decade, polyphenol-rich foods have received increased interest from researchers and food industry. The main reason for this interest is the recognition of their potential protective effects in human health and disease prevention. Berries are a rich source of polyphenol-bioactives and recent in vitro and in vivo evidences seem to support their role in the prevention of various diseases. Studies in high-fat fed mice revealed that lingonberries have high impact to inhibit the development of obesity, improve metabolic imbalance and glucose control, reduce inflammation and change the expression of hepatic genes related to inflammation and lipid metabolism. Similar, but not as pronounced effects were found for blackcurrants and bilberries. In addition, we have recently shown that lingonberries can alter gut microbiota composition and functionality compared to the high-fat control and in parallel reduce the levels of markers of inflammation and endotoxemia.


The overall purpose is to assess how polyphenol-rich food can be used for maintenance of health and prevention of metabolic diseases like obesity, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. More specifically, the purpose is to evaluate the physiological and metabolic effects, underlying mechanisms, bioavailability and identification of the most potent polyphenols.


Increased knowledge of the underlying mechanisms behind the beneficial effects induced by polyphenol-rich diets will help us to develop foods preventing the development of metabolic diseases.


  1. Heyman L, Axling U, Blanco N, Sterner O, Holm C and Berger K. Evaluation of beneficial metabolic effects of berries in high-fat fed C57BL/6J mice. J Nutrition and Metabolism, ID 403041, 2014 (3 citations)
  2. Heyman-Lindén L, Seki Y, Storm P, Jones H, Charron M, Berger K and Holm C. Berry intake changes hepatic gene expression and DNA methylation patterns associated with high-fat diet. J. Nutr.  Biochem. 27: 79–95, 2016
  3. Heyman-Lindén L, Kotowska D, Sand E, Bjursell M, Plaza M, Turner C, Holm C, Fåk F and Berger K. Lingonberries alter the gut microbiota and prevent low-grade inflammation in high-fat diet fed mice. Accepted for publication in Food and Nutrition Research, 2016

Lägre vikt med lingon

Lingonberries halt effects of high-fat diet