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Wild Manitoba berry shows promising health benefits

A new study highlights disease-fighting qualities of local berries.

Lingonberries may protect against kidney failure.

According to a new study, Manitoba-grown lingonberries show promising signs of protecting against kidney failure. Wild lingonberries – small red fruit similar to cranberries – grow in northern communities in B.C., Manitoba, and Newfoundland and Labrador. A staple in Scandinavian cuisine, these antioxidant-rich berries are now gaining popularity in North America due to their potential health benefits.

A recent publication by Cara Isaac of Dr. Chris Siow’s Innovative Therapy Research Laboratory at the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine (CCARM) focuses on how lingonberries may protect against kidney failure and a condition called ischemia-reperfusion (IR). IR in the kidneys is a disruption caused the by sudden loss of blood flow followed by a subsequent return of blood flow, which can lead to acute kidney failure.

“Our study points towards the potential health benefits in this local berry,” says Principal Investigator Dr. Chris Siow. “We already had a supply enquiry from a major produce distributor based in Los Angeles. This is an opportune time for the different stakeholders in Manitoba’s economy to form partnerships to get this crop to market.”

While there is potential to grow these berries commercially, it may take some time before Manitoba-grown lingonberries hit the shelves in your local supermarket.

The study, “Supplementing diet with Manitoba lingonberry juice reduces kidney ischemia-reperfusion injury” was recently published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, and highlighted in this article on freshplaza.com.

St. Boniface Hospital Foundation is proud to support and fundraise for CCARM. To learn more, visit http://www.sbrc.ca/ccarm/ and www.researchwashere.com.