What You Should Know
Bilberry extract is a supplement derived from a plant that is most commonly used to improve eye health. The fruit is dried along with the leaves and ground up for supplementation. In addition to eye disorders, bilberry extract may also be used to improve blood vessel health and fight chronic fatigue. The only conditions bilberry extract is proven to help are disorders of the retina associated with hypertension and diabetes. At this time there is a long list of health conditions bilberry extract may help treat, but clinical data is lacking.
List of Ingredients
Bilberry extract fruit and leaves.
There are tannins in bilberry extract that may reduce swelling and inflammation. This is the reason some people choose to take bilberry extract to reduce irritation of the mouth and digestive tract. Some experts believe bilberry extract will help control blood glucose levels. This is probably the reason bilberry extract is sometimes used in weight loss supplements.
Blood glucose is constantly on a roller coaster. When carbohydrates are consumed, blood glucose is released to convert carbohydrates to energy. When all of the carbohydrates are metabolized, blood glucose levels drop again until more carbohydrates are consumed. If a large number of carbohydrates are consumed from foods like simple sugars, candy or sugared sodas, blood glucose levels spike dramatically and then drop just as dramatically. The body reads this as starvation and hunger is triggered even though more food is not needed. If bilberry extract helps to control these spikes and dips it may also help control the hunger.
Even though bilberry extract is considered safe for everyone, aside from pregnant women, it can affect blood glucose levels during surgery. Patients scheduled for surgery should stop taking bilberry extract about 14 days before surgery to prevent problems with blood glucose during surgery.
Bilberry extract may also slow the clotting of blood, which could interaction with blood clotting medications. Studies have yet to prove this is a serious concern, but it is one users should take note of before jumping into bilberry extract supplementation.
Bilberry extract can be purchased as a standalone supplement or as part of an eye health supplement.
- May help improve night vision.
- May help treat retina problems in patients with hypertension or diabetes.
- May have anti-inflammatory effects.
- May interfere with prescription medications.
- Should not be taken before surgery.
There is much to be learned about bilberry extract. Improving eye health is the only proven benefit of taking bilberry extract. If this ingredient is included in a weight loss supplement it is likely due to the anti-inflammatory effects. Other potential contraindications include chromium, fenugreek, garlic, and psyllium as they all may lower blood glucose as well. Dieters will not see increased weight loss from taking a bilberry extract supplement or eye health supplement containing bilberry extract.