April 21, 2010

Popular eye supplement also prevents damage from stress

You may have heard the stories from World War II that pilots in the British Royal Air Force ate a lot of bilberries to improve their vision. There's some argument as to whether the story is true or not. But we do know that bilberry is great for your eyes. And now, thanks to a new study, we know that bilberry also prevents the damage stress can do to your body.

As you may know, stress can damage your liver and other organs. While this new study was on mice, you can be sure that the findings will apply to you as well.

In this study, scientists restrained mice. The physical restraint of an animal induces stress. The stress promotes lipid peroxidation in their liver. Lipid peroxidation is biochemical damage to cells. After 28 hours of restraint, blood levels of the key liver enzyme ALT rose. And the stress reduced their blood's ability to neutralize toxic free radicals.

When the researchers fed the mice bilberry extract, their oxidative stress improved. They also had smaller rises in ALT than the mice that didn't eat the bilberry. Moreover, a key chemical marker of damage, malondialdehyde, a byproduct of cellular damage, was significantly lower in the bilberry supplemented groups.

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Now here's a real pearl. Restraining the animals caused them to have much lower levels (173 mcg/gm) of vitamin C in their tissues compared to free animals (400 mcg/gm). After taking the bilberry extract, their levels rose sharply to 347 and 451 respectively.

Bioflavonoids are among nature's most versatile molecular protectors. In nature, vitamin C always occurs with bioflavonoids. They work as a team. This study shows you direct proof of that, with bilberry protecting vitamin C blood levels in the animals.

Bilberry is rich in one of my most favorite foods, the blueberry. They are absolutely delicious. And, blueberries are a fruit that even most diabetics can tolerate without affecting their blood sugar. During blueberry season, my wife and I buy boxes of them. We eat them by the handful. We freeze dozens of bags, which we'll use throughout the year for our morning fruit smoothies.

The great news is that Costco now carries organic frozen blueberries, so you never have to be without them. Bilberry extracts are available in many vitamin supplements, such as Advanced Vision Formula. For those with macular degeneration concerns, I do recommend supplemental bilberry. But for general purposes, I always prefer the whole food to vitamins. So please make blueberries a staple in your diet. Delicious and oh so nutritious.

Yours for better health and medical freedom,



Ref: J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Sep 10;56(17):7803-7.

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