Bilberry supplements are extracts of the bilberry, or European blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus). This fruit belongs to the same family as 200 other berries, including the American blueberry and cranberry. Bilberries are one of the most potent sources of anthocyanins, a category of bioflavonoids.
The active ingredients in bilberries are called anthcyanocides, which are close relatives of the anthocyanides in grape seed and pycnogenol. This berry contains more of these compounds than any other fruit. They also contain the important antioxidant-support minerals zinc, manganese and selenium.
Bilberry extract may reduce the effects of occasional eye strain and other age-related eye conditions caused by a breakdown of the eye’s circulatory system. Its high levels of tannic acid, cinnamic acids, flavonols, anthocyanidins, and isoflavones make it highly beneficial to the eye.
Bilberry strengthen arteries, allowing them to pump more blood through your body. Bilberry lowers blood pressure, reduces clotting and can lower high blood sugar.
Bilberry has been shown to be helpful in treating ulcers because it increases the production of gastric mucous, which helps line the stomach and prevent ulcers.
Bilberry extracts may help healing wounds because they send more blood to the site, reduce oxidation, fight infection, and combine with collagen to rebuild tissues. Bilberry has been shown to be helpful in treating ulcers because it increases the production of gastric mucous, which helps line the stomach and prevent ulcers.
Bilberry extracts are valuable in the treatment of glaucoma due to their effect on collagen structures in the eye. Bilberry also protects against degeneration of the macula, the portion of the eye that distinguishes fine details in your vision.
Clinical Uses of Bilberry. In Europe, bilberry extracts are part of the conventional medical treatment for many eye problems, including:
Bilberry Helps with Night Blindness. Bilberry can help with another common vision problem: difficulty seeing in low light. Studies have shown that bilberry extract improves better night vision, allows quicker adjustment to darkness and sudden glare, such as from the headlights of oncoming cars.
Taking a dose will alleviate the condition for about two hours. The effects wear off after that, and taking bilberry supplements as an ongoing routine won't do anything to remedy the problem permanently.
Bilberry supplements, with their powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, have also been used in the treatment and prevention of:
Bilberry is often combined with lutein and zeaxanthin, two other eye supplements that have also been shown to be extremely beneficial for eye health. If you need very high dosages, you may have to get these separately. There is no toxicity or RDA for any of them.
Nature's Way makes an excellent product that combines bilberry with lutein, zeaxanthin and ginkgo biloba. This would make a great supplement for anyone who wants to protect their vision. Click on the graphic to see more details.
Supplements like these should contain 20mg. of lutein and about 1mg. of zeaxanthin, and about 100mg of bilberry per dose. None of these supplements has shown any toxicity.
Consider astaxanthin! Another relatively new discovery for eye problems is the carotenoid astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful antioxidants known. It is one of the few antioxidants that can cross the blood-retinal barrier and bring protection to the eyes. It is said to be more beneficial for the eyes in some ways than lutein. It also works all throughout the body — organs and skin, and in every part of the cell.
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