A new study shows that supplementation with an encapsulated fruit and vegetable juice concentrate (Juice Plus+® Orchard Blend and Garden Blend) was associated with an increase in serum beta-carotene concentrations, reduced abdominal adipose tissue and improved insulin resistance in overweight boys compared to the placebo group. These study results add to the existing body of research about the role of nutrition in promoting children's health.

This double-blind placebo-controlled study was conducted at the Nemours Children's Clinic Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism in Jacksonville, Fla., and was funded by the Nemours Research Program. It followed 30 age-matched boys between the ages of six and 10 years (nine lean and 21 overweight) for a six-month period.

Randomized participants received either placebo or fruit and vegetable juice concentrate capsules in conjunction with nutrition and lifestyle counseling sessions at baseline and halfway (three months) with a registered research dietician.

Body composition and abdominal fat mass were determined using a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan. The study found a significant increase in serum beta-carotene levels in both the lean (303% +/- 85%) and overweight (334% +/- 57%) participants who received the fruit and vegetable juice concentrate capsules. The fruit and vegetable juice concentrate capsule group also showed a decrease in abdominal fat mass and significantly reduced triglycerides among the overweight participants (P=.032), which may have played an important role in their improved insulin sensitivity. These changes were observed in the absence of weight loss in the overweight boys in both the placebo and active groups.

Despite public health recommendations such as the Healthy People 2010 Report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the latest Expert Panel on the Integrated Guidelines for Cardiovascular Health and Risk Reduction in Children and Adolescents, few children meet recommended nutrition guidelines. The improvements seen in insulin resistance, triglyceride levels, and abdominal fat attenuation in the fruit and vegetable juice concentrate capsule group open new avenues for future research and underscore the need to enhance intake of nutrition from fruits and vegetables in overweight boys. 

Published in The Journal of Pediatrics