Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.), another name for European bluerry is the richest source of anthocyanins which is a polyphenolic component that gives it a blue black appearance. It grows abundantly in European mountain areas. They have sharp edges, green branches and fruits black wrinkle berries. It is also known as whortleberry, huckleberry and blaeberry. They contain other phenolic compounds including anthocyanins, flavonols, tannins, ellagitannins and phenolic acids. Their medical uses have proved beneficial for improved vision, lowered blood glucose, anti inflammatory and lowering lipid effects and to promote antioxidant defense and lower oxidative stress. It is used to improve cognitive memory.
ANTHOCYANINS: The term named from Greek words are water soluble vacuolar pigments that are found in cell vacuole, mainly in outer cell layers. They have high medicinal properties and give bilberry the blue black appearance. Anthocyanin helps in critical areas of the brain.
WHAT IS COGNITIVE MEMORY? Cognitive Memory refers to all mental abilities and capabilities in relation to attention, memory, judgment and evaluation, reasoning, decision making, language etc.
Bilberry For Cognitive Health
Bilberry posses a number of medicinal properties that has many health benefits. It is suggested to improve night vision. Special compounds that are present increase the production of brain cells in hippocampus. It boosts cognitive function. Bilberry extracts intake has improved memory in older persons.
BILBERRY EXTRACTS IN COGNITIVE MEMORY
The small sized berries is full of antioxidants that play a major role in protecting the brain. Special compounds that are present increase the production of brain cells in hippocampus. It boosts cognitive function. Bilberry Flavonoids including anthocyanins have the capability to enhance memory and prevent mental illness and improves its functioning. It helps to improve memory and slow age related loss of cognitive functioning. Bilberry functions through anthocyanins and flavonoids work by inhibiting neuroinflammation, activating synaptic signaling and improves the blood flow to brain. Anthocyanins can cross blood brain barrier. Consumption of bilberry has proved that it could limit or cure age dependent deteriorations in memory and cognition.
The antioxidants that are present in the bilberry help to reduce the stress of oxidation in brain. This role helps in fighting against Alzheimer’s disease. The bilberry components protect against damage caused by ROS which are causative factors for Alzheimer’s disease. When studies were conducted in rats it proved that bilberry helps in improving the learning capacity and improve motor skills in the brain. Vitro studies proved that polyphenols found in bilberry can remodel amyloid beta aggregation. Bilberry extracts protects against inflammation induced damage in cells through reduction in inflammatory mediators.
ANIMAL STUDIES OF BILBERRY EXTRACTS COGNITIVE MEMORY
In a study aged rats were administered with dietary supplementation with bilberry for eight weeks. It proved indicators of neuronal function. Bilberry extracts helps in motor functioning and cognitive functioning in aged rats.
HUMAN STUDIES OF BILBERRY IN COGNITIVE MEMORY
Population based epidemiological evidence proved that bilberry intake help against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Bilberry extracts intake has improved memory in older persons.
In a related study, supplementation of bilberry improved cognitive memory performances in many older adults who suffer from mild cognitive impairments which were screened by using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Human studies related to bilberry are very less. Therefore to prove the action of bilberry in cognitive memory is still not accomplished completely.
OTHER EFFECTS OF BILBERRY EXTRACT
- Antioxidant Effects
- Genoprotective and anticancer Effects
- Cardioprotective Effects
- Anti inflammatory Effects
- Hypoglycemic Effects
- Ocular effects
- Neuro protective effects
- Anti microbial effects
Bilberry posses a number of medicinal properties that has many health benefits. It is suggested to improve night vision. It is helpful in treating diarrhea, sore throat and inflammations in the mouth. Bilberry contains anthocyanosides which may fortify blood vessel walls and improve the blood flow and maintain a good circulatory system. It improves oxygen radical absorbance capacity levels in kidney tissue.
DISEASES IMPROVED BY BILBERRY
- ATHEROSCLEROSIS: The anthocynosides will strengthen blood vessels; prevent the oxidation of bad cholesterol which is a major cause of atherosclerosis.
- CANCER: Anthocyanins helps in anti tumor activities like antioxidation, anticarcinogensis and apoptosis of tumor cells.
- CHRONIC VENOUS INSUFFICIENCY: Bilberry has effect on flexibility of the capillaries.
- DIABETES MELLITUS: Bilberry helps in maintain a normal sugar levels in the body.
- INFECTIONS: Bilberry act against salmonella and staphylococcus and hence act against their infections.
- MACULAR DEGENERATION AND CATARACTS: It helps in impairment of lenses and retina. Intake off bilberry has improved many eye conditions.
ABSORPTION OF BILBERRY ANTHOCYNINS: It happens within 1.5 hr after ingestion of bilberry.
BILBERRY SIDE EFFECTS
It has serious side effects because it posses anti-platelet activity. It has interactions with NSAIDS. The other side effects include mild digestive distress, skin irritation and drowsiness.
OVERDOSE? High doses and over dose can be poisonous and cause serious side effects.
Bilberry comes under class 1 herb by the American herbal products association which means it can be safely consumed when used appropriately.