HOW TO USEFUL BILBERRY FOR EYE HEALTH
Food For The Eyes Much of the modern research on bilberry extract has focused upon the benefits to the eyes. Bilberry anthocyanosides provide three primary benefits to these organs.
First, these highly colored plant pigments nourish the retina. Night vision depends on the retina’s ability to constantly regenerate visual purple (rhodopsin), and anthocyanosides serve as “building blocks” for this important substance.
Tests have confirmed these benefits. When subjects with normal vision supplemented with bilberry extract, it was found that the acuity of their nighttime vision improved, as did the speed at which they adjusted to darkness and the rate at which they recovered from blinding glare. bilberry extract helps with distance vision as well.
The benefits of bilberry :
anthocyanosides extend beyond the regeneration of visual purple. The eye depends upon high relative blood flow and is exposed to large amounts of oxygen. Such factors mean that the eye is extremely vulnerable to problems arising from capillary
fragility and that prevention of damage by free radicals plays a major role in maintaining eye health. Bilberry helps to maintain integrity of the collagen integral to the support structure of the capillaries.Similarly, age-related vision problems appear to be influenced by the rate of generation of free radicals.
In laboratory trials, changing the diets from commercial laboratory chow to “well-defined” diets rich in flavonoids has been shown to be beneficial. Interesting results have been found with human trials in which bilberry extract was supplemented, either alone or in combination with vitamin E.
One study evaluating the ability of 6 different berry extracts (including blueberry extract) to inhibit the growth of human oral, breast, colon and prostate tumor cell lines at differing concentrations (25 to 200 µg/ml) found all extracts to be concentration dependent.
The greater the concentration of berry extract, the greater the inhibition of cell proliferation in all cell lines observed, translating to lower risks for cancer.
Another in vitro study looked at the effects of 10 different extracts of fruits and berries on cell proliferation of colon cancer cells HT29 and breast cancer cells MCF-7
This study also found the effects of these extracts to be concentration dependent and noted that of the 10 extracts tested (at the highest concentration used), blueberry extract exhibited the greatest effects on colon cancer cells. In order to determine which component of blueberry extract is most responsible for these anticancer properties observed among several in vitro studies, one study separated blueberry extract based on phenolic compounds known to be present.
This separation resulted in 4 different fractions: the flavanol, tannin, phenolic acid, and Anthocyanin fractions. Although all four fractions did show inhibition of cell proliferation, the Anthocyanin fractions were shown to be the strongest, inhibiting cancer cell proliferation at much lower concentrations than the other fractions.
It is known that regular consumption of fruits and vegetables lowers the risk for developing heart disease. A study examined the effects of blueberry consumption in relation to heart disease risk. Participants (chronic cigarette smokers) consumed either 250 grams of blueberries a day for three weeks or one dose of 250 grams of fruit.
Several markers of oxidative stress were examined along with a marker of antioxidant potential. A significant decrease in one marker of oxidative stress was found among those who consumed fruit on a daily basis but not in those with one dose. This suggests that in order to obtain the greatest level of benefits comes from regularconsumption.
Alzheimer’s Risk :The consumption of blueberries is also believed to possibly play a role in delaying the development of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. There have been several studies in laboratory animals that show promising results. One study fed blueberry extracts to laboratory animals for 8 weeks.
After the 8-week feeding, the researchers noted a reversal of age -related deficits in both neuronal signaling and behavioral parameters. Although the researchers believed that the improvements seen were due to the polyphenols in the blueberry (BB) extract, it was not evident whether or not these phytonutrients entered the brain. A further study for 8-10 weeks on spatial learning and memory measures was repeated. Results showed that several anthocyanin were found in the brain and there was a positive relationship between spatial learning/memory and anthocyanin content of the cortex. Researchers concluded that the polyphenols can enter the brain.