Daily Dose of Bilberry: 20-60g
Bilberry is a fruit that is a close relative to blueberry and is also called a huckleberry. It has many potential health benefits and has been used for centuries in folk and herbal medicines. One use of bilberry extract is to treat chronic venous insufficiency. This is when veins in the legs that carry blood to the heart become damaged, which can cause them to swell, itch, develop varicose veins, and produce skin ulcers. Another benefit is that it may prevent the oxidation of the bad LDL cholesterol that causes atherosclerosis, or plaque build up in the arteries, and leads to heart attacks or strokes.
Chemicals in bilberry prevent blood platelets from clumping together, which prevents blood clots. One of the oldest uses for bilberry is to maintain and improve vision. It does this by strengthening the arteries and veins so that all the nutrients can reach the eyes. many people supplement with it to prevent cataracts, night blindness, and to sharpen their vision. Leaves of the plant have been long used to treat diabetes because they lower blood pressure. In addition to that, they also protect the kidneys and eyes from damage caused by diabetes by strengthening the blood vessels and canceling out oxidation. Excess sugar in the blood can damage small capillaries and prevent oxygen and other nutrients from reaching the eyes and kidneys. Bilberry can be used for a short period to treat diabetes but be aware of its blood sugar lowering effects if you have low blood sugar. Another health benefit of this berry is to help ease diarrhea caused by intestines that are swollen. All these health benefits of bilberry may come from chemicals called anthocyaniosides as well as the antioxidant vitamin C.
It’s always best to talk to your doctor before considering a supplement. Some reported side effects of bilberry include allergic reactions like swelling in the mouth, difficulty breathing, weakness, pale skin, upset stomach, and hives. Taking appropriate doses in a short term period does not cause any side effects but long term use can be toxic.
- Ogawa K, Kuse Y, Tsuruma K, Kobayashi S, Shimazawa M, Hara H1. Protective effects of bilberry and lingonberry extracts against blue light-emitting diode light-induced retinal photoreceptor cell damage in vitro. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Apr 2;14(1):120. PMID: 24690313.
- Sadowska B1, Paszkiewicz M1, Podsędek A2, Redzynia M2, Różalska B1. Vaccinium myrtillus leaves and Frangula alnus bark derived extracts as potential antistaphylococcal agents. Acta Biochim Pol. 2014;61(1):163-9. PMID: 24649485.
- Aly EM, Ali MA. Effects of bilberry on deoxyribonucleic Acid damage and oxidant-antioxidant balance in the lens, induced by ultraviolet radiation. Malays J Med Sci. 2014 Jan;21(1):11-8. PMID: 24639607.