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What Is Bilberry Fruit?
Bilberry Extract is the dry extract of the European Blueberry
(Vaccinium myrtillus: Myrtilli fructus). Bilberry, used to improve
vascular health, shows the most promise for use in supporting
the health of the eye.
Who Should Consider Bilberry Fruit?
Interestingly, this is an herbal medicine that is thousands
of years into use as a folk remedy for loose stool (especially
recommended for children) but it's most promising current
application is for use in supporting the health of the eye. Its
high levels of tannic acid, cinnamic acids, flavonols, anthocyanidins,
and isoflavones make it highly beneficial to the eye.
Positive results have been noted in studies examining the effect
of bilberry in pigmentary retinitis, diabetic and hypertensive
retinopathy, retinal inflammation, macular degeneration, retinitis
pigmentosa, glaucoma, cataract and night vision in normal subjects.
The anthocyanidins in bilberry, which have the ability to protect
and regenerate retinal purple (rhodopsin) are the primary agents
responsible for its ability to help the eyes. At least one study
we know of suggests additional benefits to the eye by adding
Bilberry Extract and microcirculation
The anthocyanidins in bilberry decrease vascular permeability.
How this works is not quite understood yet, but it seems that
bilberry anthocyanidins interact with blood vessel collagen in
such a way as to slow down enzymatic attack of the blood vessel
wall. This may prevent leakage of capillaries, decreasing ocular
pressure and relieving painful edemas. Truly impressive in its
vascular benefits, bilberry seems to work much like horsechestnut
and ginkgo in its ability to relieve vascular insufficiency,
and like grape seed in its affinity for the capillaries. These
microcirculatory improvements have wide ranging health benefits,
as one might expect: bilberry improves peripheral circulation
and eye health at the same time.
How much Bilberry Fruit should I use?
Bilberry extracts have been prescribed for over half a century
in France for diabetic retinopathy. The extract used for treating
the eye should be standardized to contain around 25% anthocyanosides.
Supplement 80 - 160 mg/day.
What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is the progressive loss of vision due to
oxidative stress to the macula - the area of the retina where
most images are focused. The macula is the area responsible for
focused sight or fine vision, and as such, degeneration in this
area first manifests itself in the form of blurred or bent lines
(otherwise known to be straight and crisp). It is highly prevalent
in persons over the age of 55, with as many as 20,000 new cases
diagnosed each year. It can, and does, lead to blindness.
There are two types of macular degeneration - "wet" and "dry".
In the wet form (more rare), the macula experiences excessive
growth of new blood vessels - it is easily treated with lasers,
but must be treated early. In the "dry"" form,
by far the most common form, the macula suffers from an accumulation
of lipofuscin, a pigment that builds up as a result of damaged
retinal pigmented epithelium cells. These build-ups can be seen
upon retinal examination and are known as "drusen