Bilberry extract for better eyesight, what is the right dosage
Can it be combined with lutein and zeaxanthin, any side effects or risks?
February 1 2017

Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), also known as the Whortleberry and Blaeberry, is a small shrub found on heaths where it grows to about 60 centimeters tall. You will find many eye formulas that contain bilberry, including the effective formula Eyesight Rx. Bilberry herb has more than a dozen anthocyanosides beneficial for eye health. You can improve your eyesight by trying some of the supplements listed in the article.

Dosage, how much to take
It is not clear at this time what the ideal bilberry dosage would be. For the time being, a dosage of 10 to 100 mg of a 100:1 bilberry extract comprised of 25% anthocyanosides should suffice.

Eyesight Rx formula to improve day and night vision
Bilberry Extract, also referred to as blueberry, is a potent extract yielding key bioflavonoids and antioxidants called anthocyanosides, anthocyanins, ellagitannins, and proanthocyanidins. A controlled extraction process guarantees at least 25% anthocyanosides.

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Bilberry and anthocyanidins
Anthocyanosides are the pharmacologically active constituents of bilberries. They consist of a backbone known as anthocyanidin which is bound to one of three sugars: arabinose, glucose, or galactose. Five different anthocyanidins in bilberry produce more than fifteen different anthocyanosides. The fresh bilberry fruit contains an anthocyanoside concentration of 0.1 to 0.25 percent. A concentrated bilberry extract however yields 25% anthocyanidin content, which corresponds to about 38% anthocyanosides.

Bilberry extract reduces UVA-induced oxidative stress in HaCaT keratinocytes: a pilot study.
Biofactors. 2008; Department of Medical Chemistry and Biochemistry, Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic.
Exposure to UVA radiation is known to cause many adverse biological effects by inducing the stricken cells to produce reactive oxygen species (ROS). Bilberry fruit contains several polyphenols with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In this study we evaluated potential UVA preventive effect of bilberry fruit extract in keratinocytes. Pre-treatment or post-treatment resulted in attenuation of UVA-caused damage. Application of the extract significantly reduced UVA-stimulated ROS formation in keratinocytes. Bilberry extract also prevented/reduced UVA-caused peroxidation of membrane lipids and depletion of intracellular GSH. The observed cytoprotective effect may be linked to the antioxidant activity of the plant constituents, namely anthocyanins.

Benefit and medical uses
The benefit of bilberry rests mostly on its ability to provide substances that are beneficial for eye health. It may benefit those who have macular degeneration or are predisposed to a cataract. Phenolic compounds in bilberry are of benefit as antioxidants.

Benefit as antioxidant
Inhibition of protein and lipid oxidation in liposomes by berry phenolics.
J Agric Food Chem. 2004.
The antioxidant activity of berry phenolics such as anthocyanins, ellagitannins, and proanthocyanidins from raspberry (Rubus idaeus), bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), and black currant (Ribes nigrum) was investigated. The antioxidant protection toward lipid oxidation was best provided by lingonberry and bilberry phenolics followed by black currant and raspberry phenolics. Proanthocyanidins in lingonberries were among the most active phenolic constituents toward both lipid and protein oxidation. In bilberries and black currants, anthocyanins contributed the most to the antioxidant effec. In raspberries, ellagitannins were responsible for the antioxidant activity. While the antioxidant effect of berry proanthocyanidins and anthocyanins was dose-dependent, ellagitannins appeared to be equally active at all concentrations. In conclusion, berries are rich in phenolic compounds providing protection toward both lipid and protein oxidation.

Role in breast cancer prevention
Cytotoxic Effects of Bilberry Extract on MCF7-GFP-Tubulin Breast Cancer Cells.
J Med Food. 2010. Nguyen V, Tang J, Oroudjev E. Department of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology, University of California Santa Barbara , Santa Barbara, California, USA.
Bilberry (European blueberry) has many biological effects, including anticancer activity. In this study, we investigated the antiproliferative effects of bilberry extract in relation to its ability to induce apoptosis and affect microtubule assembly and organization in MCF7 human breast cancer cells. We observed that bilberry extract inhibited cell proliferation in a concentration-dependent fashion, in concert with induction of apoptotic cell death. At these concentrations there was no selective inhibition of mitosis or any other cell cycle stage, nor was there any apparent effect on the microtubule or actin cytoskeletons. We conclude that bilberry extract as ingested by humans, not just the purified anthocyanins it contains, inhibits proliferation of and induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells at its lowest effective concentrations via a mechanism that does not involve action on microtubules or on mitosis. We further conclude that at somewhat higher concentrations the extract modifies microtubule organization in cells and causes accumulation of cells at mitosis by a direct action on microtubules.

Inflammation reduction 
Bilberry juice modulates plasma concentration of NF-kappaB related inflammatory markers in subjects at increased risk of CVD. Karlsen A, Paur I. Eur J Nutrition.
Researchers looked at the effect of bilberry juice on serum and plasma biomarkers of inflammation and antioxidant status in subjects at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Macular degeneration benefit
Dietary supplementation with bilberry extract prevents macular degeneration and cataracts in senesce-accelerated OXYS rats.
Adv Gerontol. 2005.
Cataracts and macular degeneration remain the major cause of blindness and acuity of vision deterioration in the elderly. Both pathology have been attributed to damage by free radicals, there has been a great deal of interest in antioxidants. Bilberry’s flavonoids are known as potent antioxidants, scavenging free radicals and used for multiple age-related ocular disorders. Senescence-accelerated OXYS rats with early senile cataract and macular degeneration were used. From 1.5 to 3 month OXYS rats were given control diets or those supplemented with 25% bilberry extract including 4.5 mg of antocianidin or vitamin E for comparison. The testing at 3 month showed that more then 70% of control rats had cataract and macular degeneration while the supplementation of bilberry extract completely prevented impairments in the lenses and retina. The results suggest that long-term supplementation is effective in prevention of macular degeneration and cataract.

Availability online or in health food stores, pharmacies
Bilberry extract is available in a number of concentrations and extract potencies. These include 5 percent anthocyanosides, 10 percent anthocyanosides, and 25 percent anthocyanosides.

Side effects, adverse events, safety, danger
No major side effects have been reported in the medical literature as of 2017.

Bilberry is a good source of quercetin
Consumption of black currants, lingonberries and bilberries, vaccinium myrtillus, increases serum quercetin concentrations.
Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003. Biomarker Laboratory, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland.
Twenty subjects consumed 100 g/day of berries – black currants, lingonberry and bilberry – for 8 weeks. Twenty subjects consuming their habitual diets served as controls. The serum quercetin concentrations were significantly higher in the subjects consuming berries compared to the control group. The results indicate that the berries used in this study are a good source of bioavailable quercetin.

Is it okay to take a bilberry extract every day along with other multivitamins.
As with many supplements, it is a good idea to take a couple of days off a week.

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Supplement Facts:
Bilberry Fruit Standardized Extract – 80 mg
(Vaccinium myrtillus)
Yielding 20 mg anthocyanosides

Suggested Use: 1 bilberry capsule daily, or as recommended by your health care professional.