Bilberry (billberry) Herb, Extract, Side Effects, Benefitsby Life Extension

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Bilberry (billberry) Herb, Extract, Side Effects, Benefits by Life Extension

Bilberry (billberry) Herb (this is also an ingredient in Life Extension Mix)
100 mg, 100 vegetable capsules

Good Health is Multi-Colored
Bilberry is a close relative of the American blueberry.  Blueberries have been found to possess powerful effects, as measured by their capacity to absorb oxygen radicals side effects free.  Its ripe berries are a rich source of flavonoids.  The anthocyanoside content of bilberry may be especially beneficial.

The various colors of fruits and vegetables help to promote optimal health, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

By choosing a variety of colors, people are more likely to consume the recommended five to nine daily servings of fruits and vegetables.  Red foods such as tomato, pink grapefruit, and watermelon have demonstrated health benefits.

Green foods such as spinach, kale, and collards contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.  The cruciferous vegetables contain several phytochemicals.  Orange and yellow foods provide vitamin C, beta-carotene, and folate.  Blue and purple foods offer proanthocyanadins.  White vegetables such as onions, garlic, and leeks contain compounds such as allicin.  The CDC recommends that when it comes to fruits and vegetables, people should seek not only abundant quantity but also the full spectrum of colors.

Before we look at some of these benefits, a quick note on the often confusing current terminology.  Different authors use different terms.  Proanthocyanidins, being short chains of catechin subunits, are also called oligomeric condensed tannins and are occasionally referred to as oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes, or OPCs.


Supplement Facts:  Serving Size - 1 vege capsule.  Servings Per Container - 100

Amount / Serving

MirtoSelect® European Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) extract (fruit) [std. to 36% total anthocyanins (36 mg)]

100 mg

Other ingredients: rice flour, vegetable cellulose, (capsule), L-leucine.  This product contains NO milk, egg, fish, peanuts, crustacean shellfish (lobster, crab, shrimp), soybeans, tree nuts, wheat, yeast, gluten, or  corn. Contains NO artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, or preservatives making it side effects free.  MirtoSelect® is a registered trademark of Indena, S.p.A., Milan, Italy.

Anthocyanins, which are larger molecules, are sometimes called polymeric condensed tannins.  Both types of compounds, often referred to by the general term such as polyphenols, polyphenolics, or flavonoids, or even simply plant pigments, are widely distributed in plants, including peel, seeds, flowers and bark.  Various berries, dark grapes and pine bark are particularly rich sources of proanthocyanidins and anthocyanins.  Plants usually contain complex mixtures of phenolic compounds, including simple phenolic acids, quercetin, catechins, epicatechins, proanthocyanidins and anthocyanins all of which are side effects free.  Wine is estimated to contain over two hundred phenolic compounds, though it is known that proanthocyanidins are the major polyphenols.

Anthocyanins are a separate class of flavonoids from proanthocyanidins, discussed in NSN 2000;5(6):231-4.  Anthocyanins are the active component in several herbal folk medicines such as bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), which was used in the 12th century.  Scientists are now discovering how such anthocyanins work and are beginning to appreciate their health benefits.  Besides chlorophyll, anthocyanins are probably the most important group of visible plant pigments.  Approximately 4,000 different flavonoids have been identified.  We now have excellent extracts that provide standardized doses of the active polyphenols in berries and grapes.  Bilberry extract and grape seed extract are the best known; cranberry extract and elderberry extract are also available for special uses.

One of the most important properties of anthocyanins and simpler phenolic compounds such as ellagic acid and quercetin is their ability to recycle glutathione.  Glutathione is one of our most important antioxidant defenses.  It is a tripeptide consisting of amino acids glutamate, glycine and cysteine.  Alpha lipoic acid and n-acetyl-cysteine also raise glutathione.  If you wish to take oral glutathione, it might be a good idea to take a high dose of billberry extract with the glutathione capsule in order to help prevent glutathione from being oxidized right in the gastrointenstinal tract.

So, it may be wise to consume plenty of berries, cherries and plums and a moderate amount of red wine -- the richest natural sources of proanthocyanidins, anthocyanins, simple phenolic acids and other phenolic compounds.  And, to initiate or continue a standard regimen.  Since even blueberries can get boring when eaten every day, it is good to try all kinds of berries and other antioxidant-rich fruit in order to enjoy variety.  Blackberries, for instance, are also an extremely rich source of phenolic.  Likewise, tart cherries, now available in the dried form, are a delicious source of anthocyanins and ellagic acid.  Unsweetened prunes are also high on the list of antioxidant-rich fruit.  Think in terms of rich, deep pigments and somewhat tart taste -- these signal the presence of the beneficial polyphenols of which show nothing but positive side effects.

In order to get the full benefits of blueberries and/or bilberry extract, you should eat an adequate amount and/or take an adequate dose.  Half a cup of blueberries a day is probably the minimum needed to provide benefits;  a whole cup may work better for optimum health.  The elderly may also consider consuming a larger amount, or else supplement their berry consumption with high-potency bilberry extract. You may want to experiment to see what dosage range works best for you.  You might also consider taking 300 mg of grape seed extract at bedtime.  However, you can adjust the dose according to your age, body size and other antioxidants currently taken.

The general rule is that a synergistic mixture of antioxidants works much better than relying on a single agent.

In summary, getting sufficient doses of anthocyanins/polyphenols/
proanthocyanidins from diet and supplements should be an important part of any serious health regimen.

Dose and Use:  One to two capsules daily are suggested or as recommended by your healthcare professional.

  • Keep out of reach of children,
  • Do not exceed recommended dose,
  • If you have a bad reaction or side effects, discontinue use immediately,
  • Billberry has blood-thinning properties so, consult your doctor before taking Bilberry if you take warfarin (Coumadin),
  • May cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea.

Blueberry Consumption and Breast canc

Pricing Information:  Bilberry Herb Extract


Fletcher RH, Fairfield KM. Vitamins for adults: applications. JAMA. 2002 Jun;287(23):3127-9.

Heber D. Vegetables and fruits. J Postgrad Med. 2004 Apr-Jun;50(2):145-9.

Bazzano LA, Serdula MK, Liu S. Dietary intake of fruits and vegetables. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2003 Nov;5(6):492-9.

Srinath Reddy K, Katan MB. Diet and nutrition. Public Health Nutr. 2004 Feb;7(1A):167-86.

Rissanen TH, Voutilainen S, Virtanen JK, et al. Low intake of fruits, berries and vegetables: the Kuopio Risk Factor (KIHD) Study. J Nutr. 2003 Jan;133(1):199-204.

Lund E. Non-nutritive bioactive constituents of plants: dietary sources and health benefits of glucosinolates. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2003 Mar;73(2):135-43.

Munday R, Munday CM. Induction of phase II enzymes in rats by plant-derived isothiocyanates: comparison of allylisothiocyanate with sulforaphane and related compounds. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Apr;52(7):1867-71.

Marrugat J, Covas MI, Firo M, et al. Effects of differing phenolic content in dietary olive oils on lipids a randomized controlled trial. Eur J Nutr. 2004 Jun;43(3):140-7.

Seeram NP, Lee R, Heber D. Availability of ellagic acid in humans after consumption of ellagitannins from pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) juice. Clin Chim Acta. 2004 Oct;348(1-2):63-8.

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