Bilberry for more than just eye health

Bilberry helps eye health – and more

Bilberry for more than just eye health NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

 


DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO BILBERRY AT A GLANCE

There is scientific evidence that bilberries and bilberry extract have health benefits beyond just the best-known effect on eye health.

♦ BILBERRY improves circulation and helps lower LDL cholesterol
♦ BILBERRY helps contribute to vision health
♦ BILBERRY may ‘significantly’ slow the accumulation of two beta amyloid peptides that are the ‘hallmark’ of Alzeimer’s


The health benefits of bilberries, according to Diabetes.co.uk, include improved blood vessel integrity and circulation, lowered blood glucose levels, a protection against cell damage and possibly improved vision health via retinal protection – especially in cases of diabetes.

Bilberries are in the same plant family as blueberries, with the former found wild in Europe, while the latter are cultivated in North America. Their health benefits are due to their high content of the bio-actives called anthocyanins or anthocyanidins. These are powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory flavonoids and help counteract the damaging effect of excess free radicals.

The National Centre for Biotechnology Information has a whole chapter on bilberry and states that:

“Bilberry is of potential value in the treatment or prevention of conditions associated with inflammation, dyslipidemia (high blood fat levels), hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels) or increased oxidative stress, cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, diabetes, dementia and other age-related diseases”.

The same chapter also identified the ability of bilberries and bilberry extract to positively affect DNA repair and gene expression. So they should be considered as part of an anti-cancer nutritional regime, which would also include carotenoids like lycopene and lutein, vitamins D3, folic acid and K2, Omega 3, soy isoflavones, green tea extract and the minerals selenium and boron.

1. Bilberry for vision health

Bilberry for more than just eye health NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsAlthough the research is not conclusive, there is enough evidence to consider bilberry in cases of retinal damage to the eye and – in combination with lutein, zinc and omega 3 – in cases of macular degeneration and cataracts. It may help low light vision.

2. Bilberry for improved circulation and heart health

Bilberry for more than just eye health NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsThe endothelium is the lining inside the heart and in the almost 60,000 miles of blood vessels, veins and arteries throughout the body. It must withstand the pressure of the constant expansion and contraction as the heat beats.

A study in The American Association of Clinical Chemistry showed that Bilberry extract has been found to significantly improve endothelial health and blood flow in humans – accompanied by beneficial reduced blood fat levels and inflammation.

A further animal study in Review of Diabetic Studies showed that bilberry reduces LDL cholesterol (the ‘bad’ kind) and overall cholesterol.

3. Bilberry protects the brain

Bilberry for more than just eye health NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsA 2013 report in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry indicates that bilberry extract is able to ‘significantly decrease’ the accumulation of two beta amyloid peptides – which are one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Supplement with bilberry

There is solid evidence for including bilberries and blueberries in your diet and bilberry extract in a supplement that is designed for all-round health defence.

There are 10mg of Bilberry extract (providing 2.5mg of anthocyanidins) in every daypack of NutriShield Essentials and NutriShield Premium, supplements designed by Dr Paul Clayton, former Chair of the Forum on Food and Health at the Royal Society of Medicine.

 


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Bilberry for more than just eye health NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals And register now for a free regular e-newsletter on the latest in nutrition and health research.


Dr Paul Clayton designed NutriShield as a comprehensive healthBilberry for more than just eye health NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals supplement with OPTIMUM levels of essential nutrients including polyphenols and flavonoids from fruits, vegetables and other plants, including bilberry extract. See more detail elsewhere on this site or click on the button.


Bilberry for more than just eye health NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsDr Paul Clayton’s best-selling book Health Defence is available from bookstores or from Uni-Vite Healthcare here.

A free summary report and the opportunity to read the book online is available here.


See online here for delicious recipes from the Health Defence Cookbook  incorporating healthy foods featuring in a Mediterranean Diet. Bilberry for more than just eye health NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals


REFERENCES

Anthocyanosides of Vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry) for night vision–a systematic review of placebo-controlled trials. Canter PH, Ernst E; Surv Ophthalmol. 2004 Jan-Feb;49(1):38-50.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92770/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/bilberry

Comparative study of anthocyanin composition, antimicrobial and antioxidant activity in bilberry ( Vaccinium myrtillus L.) and blueberry ( Vaccinium corymbosum L.) fruits. Burdulis D, Sarkinas A, Jasutienè I, Stackivicenè E, Nikolajevas L. Acta Pol Pharm.  2009; 66: 399–408.

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/1be1/ed0a927367918fc815b68b8967d2689639bf.pdf

Polyphenol-rich bilberry ameliorates total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol when implemented in the diet of Zucker diabetic fatty rats. Brader L, Overgaard A, Christensen LP, Jeppesen PB, Hermansen K. Rev Diabet Stud. 2013 Winter;10(4):270-82. doi: 10.1900/RDS.2013.10.270.

Berry phytochemicals, genomic stability and cancer: Evidence for chemoprevention at several stages in the carcinogenic processes. Duthie S; Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007;52:386–7.

Anthocyanins and anthocyanin-rich extracts: Role in diabetes and eye function. Ghosh D, Konishi T.   Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2007;16:200–8

Anthocyanin-enriched bilberry and blackcurrant extracts modulate amyloid precursor protein processing and alleviate behavioral abnormalities in the APP/PS1 mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Vepsäläinen S; J Nutr Biochem. 2013 Jan;24(1):360-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2012.07.006.

Omega 3 multiple health benefits

The essential fatty acids you can’t get enough of – a definitive guide to Omega 3

Omega 3 multiple health benefits NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals


DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO OMEGA 3 AT A GLANCE

♦ OMEGA 3 helps reduce blood pressure in hypertensive people
♦ OMEGA 3 is a vital brain nutrient and optimum levels are linked to better mental health and clarity
♦ OMEGA 3 boosts immune function
♦ OMEGA 3 helps reduce the risk and severity of rheumatoid arthritis according to Arthritis Research UK
♦ OMEGA 3 may help to reduce heart attack or stroke risk, due to its proven anti-inflammatory properties, but only in combination with marine micro-nutrients


Omega 3 is strongly linked to better health of the brain, eyes, joints and immune system. It may help heart health in combination with marine micro-nutrients.

There are actually three types of Omega 3 polyunsaturated essential fatty acids. They are called ‘essential’ because the body does not make them itself, so we have to eat them in food or supplements.

Omega 3 multiple health benefits NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

  • EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) found in their final form mainly in oily fish, and
  • ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid) found in nuts, seeds and their oils.

Omega 3 multiple health benefits NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

You make billions of new cells a day which need Omega 3s as a building block.

Omega 3s are found in the outer membrane walls of the trillions of cells in your body. DHA levels are especially high in the retina, brain and sperm cells and in the immune and endocrine (hormone producing) system.

Despite the fact that Omega 3s are essential, there is not yet an RDA or RNI set for them.

But health experts recommend about 650 mg a day – to provide 330mg of EPA and 220 mg of DHA. That’s the equivalent of 2-3 portions of oily fish a week – such as salmon, herring, sardines and trout.

Vegetarians and vegans need to take in ALA, which can convert into EPA and DHA in the body. Good food sources of ALA are chia seeds, ground linseed, hemp and flax seeds, walnuts and rapeseed oil.

Omega 3 for heart health – but not on its own

Omega 3 has been shown to be able to reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure, to raise HDL cholesterol (the ‘good’ form of cholesterol) and to reduce dangerous non-omega blood fats.

Omega 3 multiple health benefits NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsPeople with low levels of EPA and DHA are associated with increased risk of hypertension, heart attacks – and dementia.

So logically, Omega 3 should reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. But a July 2018 report by the prestigious Cochrane Committee found NO reduction in heart attack or stroke risk in people who supplemented with Omega 3.

In retrospect, that’s not so surprising. In 2015 Dr Paul Clayton, the former chair of the Forum on Food and Health at the Royal Society of Medicine, stated:

“Taking fish oil on its own as a magic-bullet single supplement just doesn’t work.”

He continued:

“When you go back to the start of the story – the Inuit diet where heart disease is almost non-existent – you can see right away that they ate a diet containing many more actives than are found in any fish oil capsule.

“One of those bio-actives is a rare sea-weed derived polyphenol which is produced by the same cold-water algae that produce the omega 3s that are then consumed by krill, fish, marine mammals and eventually the Inuit.

“This marine polyphenol is a treasure, as it is not only the best antioxidant for fish oils yet discovered (ie Wang ’09), it is also a powerful anti -inflammatory compound in its own right (Dutot et al ’12, Yang et al ’14). That marine (seaweed derived) polyphenol is Ascophyllum Nodosum.

“The lesson is clear. The pharmaceutical mindset of 20th century medics and industrialists has led us all, once again, down a long blind alley costing too much money and too many lives. Diet is complex, and any attempts to reduce it to a single nutrient are inevitably doomed to failure

“To gain the original Inuit’s relative freedom from degenerative disease, fish oil alone is not enough. But if you combine it with marine polyphenols like Ascophyllum Nodosum and/or virgin olive oil containing oil-soluble polyphenols (thus combining the best of the Inuit and the Mediterranean diets), chronic inflammation is effectively stopped in its tracks.

“I have personally seen this in over 400 cases.”

So – is Omega 3 heart healthy? It has a role to play, but only if you combine it with the sort of plant bio-actives that are found in its natural environment. Better still also add other plant micro-nutrients that have been scientifically linked to heart health – including betaine, green tea extract, curcumin, bilberry extract and soy isoflavones.

Omega 3 for brain health

Omega 3 is an important component of the brain – comprising some 40% of the brain’s polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Higher Omega 3 intake is linked to a better maintenance of mental acuity in older people and possibly even a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s.

Omega 3 multiple health benefits NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Supplementation with Omega 3 has also been shown to help fight depression and anxiety and there is some evidence that Omega 3 supplements can reduce the symptoms of ADHD.

But those are not the only benefits.

Omega 3 for joint health

Omega 3 can help lower the risk or severity of rheumatoid arthritis according to Arthritis Research UK, and may help with osteo-arthritis, especially when accompanied by glucosamine, curcumin and vitamins D and K.

Omega 3 multiple health benefits NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Omega 3 for eye health

DHA is also an important structural component of the retina (comprising some 60% of its PUFAs). There is clinical evidence that Omega 3, and lutein, may help prevent macular degeneration.

Omega 3 multiple health benefits NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

 

Omega 3 for reduced symptoms of metabolic syndrome leading to diabetes

Metabolic Syndrome is the medical term for a combination of conditions that lead to diabetes. It includes higher than normal levels of belly fat, insulin resistance, high blood pressure and high triglycerides.

By reducing insulin resistance (and inflammation) Omega 3 supplements have been shown to be able to reduce the risk of heart disease for people with metabolic syndrome.

Omega 3 multiple health benefits NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Omega 3 for improved immune function

A 2018 meta-analysis, published in the journal Medicine, concluded that supplementation with Omega 3 boosted immune function and reduced inflammation in the early treatment of gastro-intestinal cancer – improving post-operative indicators.

Other research from Michigan University indicates that Omega 3 can boost the function of immune B-cells.

There are studies that suggest that higher Omega 3 consumption from foods or supplements could be linked to lower breast and colorectal cancer – but more clinical trials are needed.

Omega 3 supplements – forms and formulas

Is Omega 3 from fish oil better than Omega 3 from plant sources like flax seed?

They are different.

Fish oil contains the two polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA and DHA. Flax seed does contain Omega 3, but the type is different – ALA (alpha-linolenic acid).

Most of the research on Omega 3 has been done on fish oil Omega 3 ie. DHA and EPA, so the evidence for the health benefits of ALA are not so well documented.

ALA can be converted by enzymes in the body into EPA and DHA, but this conversion is not efficient – perhaps as little as 10%. But for vegetarians and vegans, flax and some other seeds, plus some nuts like walnuts, and rapeseed oil are the only choices.

For Omega 3 from fish oil, choose triglyceride form

There is another element to be aware of if you are choosing an Omega 3 supplement. Omega 3 from fish oil is available either in triglyceride form or as ethyl esters.

The natural form in foods is triglycerides.

The ethyl ester form undergoes further processing, and is used because it is 30-40% cheaper to produce. But it is less bioavailable and can have side effects (burping and stomach upsets) due to its industrial processing with alcohol.

Prefer the triglyceride form.

Summary

Omega 3 – as part of a comprehensive supplement programme – has multiple potential benefits.

In contrast, severe Omega 3 depletion can be overtly characterised by dry skin, fatigue and even insomnia and depression.

There is not yet an RDA for Omega 3, but based on numerous clinical studies and what appears to be an impending UK RDA, the optimum daily level is calculated at 600mg, of which 330mg should be EPA and 220 DHA. Prefer the fish oil source as triglycerides.

The supplement NutriShield contains not just Omega 3, but marine polyphenols, plus optimum levels of vitamins and minerals and a wide range of plant micronutrients. NutriShield Essentials for under 50s comes in both fish oil and vegan versions; NutriShield Premium for over 50s is only available containing fish oil.

 


If you enjoyed this article, please share it with family and friends. You can follow us on Facebook or Twitter for daily headline health tweets.


Omega 3 multiple health benefits NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals And register now for a free regular e-newsletter on the latest in nutrition and health research.


Dr Paul Clayton designed NutriShield as a comprehensive healthOmega 3 multiple health benefits NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals supplement with OPTIMUM levels of Omega 3s, and essential nutrients including polyphenols and flavonoids from fruits, vegetables and other plants like turmeric. See more detail elsewhere on this site or click on the button.


Omega 3 multiple health benefits NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsDr Paul Clayton’s best-selling book Health Defence is available from bookstores or from Uni-Vite Healthcare here.

A free summary report and the opportunity to read the book online is available here.


See online here for delicious recipes from the Health Defence Cookbook  incorporating healthy foods featuring in a Mediterranean Diet. Omega 3 multiple health benefits NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals


REFERENCES

A fish a day, keeps the cardiologist away! – A review of the effect of omega-3 fatty acids in the cardiovascular system. Soumia Peter; Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2013 May-Jun; 17(3): 422–429.

Dietary fish oil decreases C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and triacylglycerol to HDL-cholesterol ratio in postmenopausal women on HRT; Ciubotaru I, Lee YS, Wander RC; J Nutr Biochem. 2003 Sep;14(9):513-21.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Depression: Scientific Evidence and Biological Mechanisms; Giuseppe Grosso, et al; Oxid Med Cell Longevity. 2014: 313570.

Fish consumption, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and risk of cognitive decline or Alzheimer disease: a complex association. Fotuhi M, Mohassel P, Yaffe K. Nat Clin Pract Neurol. 2009 Mar;5(3):140-52.

Age- and dose-dependent effects of an eicosapentaenoic acid-rich oil on cardiovascular risk factors in healthy male subjects. Cazzola R1, Russo-Volpe S, Miles EA, Rees D, Banerjee T, Roynette CE, Wells SJ, Goua M, Wahle KW, Calder PC, Cestaro B.; Atherosclerosis. 2007 Jul;193(1):159-67. Epub 2006 Aug 1.

Omega-3 fatty acid supplements improve the cardiovascular risk profile of subjects with metabolic syndrome, including markers of inflammation and auto-immunity. Ebrahimi M, Ghayour-Mobarhan M, Rezaiean S, Hoseini M, Parizade SM, Farhoudi F, Hosseininezhad SJ, Tavallaei S, Vejdani A, Azimi-Nezhad M, Shakeri MT, Rad MA, Mobarra N, Kazemi-Bajestani SM, Ferns GA.; Acta Cardiol. 2009 Jun;64(3):321-7.

Short-term supplementation of acute long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may alter depression status and decrease symptomology among young adults with depression: A preliminary randomized and placebo controlled trial; Annie T.Ginty, Sarah M.Conklin; Psychiatry Research. https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/omega3.pdf Volume 229, Issues 1–2, 30 September 2015

Circulating omega-3 Fatty acids and neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Merle BM, et al. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 Mar 28;55(3):2010-9. doi: 10.1167/iovs.14-13916.

Inflammation and cancer. Coussens LM, Werb Z. Nature. 2002 Dec 19-26;420(6917):860-7.

Inflammatory links between obesity and metabolic disease. Lumeng CN, Saltiel AR. J Clin Invest. 2011 Jun;121(6):2111-7. doi: 10.1172/JCI57132. Epub 2011 Jun 1.

Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation and anxiety in medical students: a randomized controlled trial. Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Belury MA, Andridge R, Malarkey WB, Glaser R; Brain Behav Immun. 2011 Nov;25(8):1725-34. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2011.07.229. Epub 2011 Jul 19.

Relationship between fatty acids and the endocrine and neuroendocrine system. Bhathena SJ. Nutr Neurosci. 2006 Feb-Apr;9(1-2):1-10.