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Which bilberry extracts are best?

Bilberries are small, nutrient-rich berries native to Northern Europe. They are similar to the North American blueberry in taste and appearance, and are known scientifically as vaccinium myrtillus. They have been used medicinally for centuries for a range of health benefits such as lowering cholesterol and blood sugar. 

If you’re looking for bilberry extract, Nature’s Way Bilberry Capsules are made with vegetarian-friendly capsules and contain 80 milligrams of bilberry to support eye health.

What to know before you buy bilberry extract

What bilberry extract is

Bilberry extract is made with bilberry fruit and leaves, and used for medicinal purposes. The plant’s chemicals include nutrients and antioxidants. The fruit is also used to make jams and sauces.

How bilberry extract works

Bilberry extract harvests the chemicals and antioxidants in bilberry fruit and leaves. The extract features tannins and flavonoids, both found naturally in bilberry, and helps boost your immune system. Tannins work to fight inflammation while flavonoids are known to improve circulation. Other chemicals in bilberries may also help regulate and lower cholesterol or blood sugar levels. 

Health benefits of bilberry extract 

Bilberries are nutrient-rich, antioxidant-rich and help combat a variety of health issues. They are a great source of water, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese. They are similar to blueberries in their beneficial properties and are a great source of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins give the bilberry its color and have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Promote eye health. The anthocyanins in bilberries improve vision, reduce eye irritation, dryness and eye fatigue.
  • Reduce inflammation. The tannins naturally found in bilberries reduce swelling. Swelling, or inflammation, may lead to disease. Anthocyanins help to reduce and prevent inflammation. If you suffer from ulcerative colitis, bilberry extract may help reduce colon inflammation and lessen symptoms.
  • Lower blood sugar levels. Bilberries lower blood sugar levels by curbing your body’s absorption of carbohydrates. High blood sugar leads to hyperglycemia in patients with diabetes, says the Mayo Clinic. Anthocyanins may also promote insulin secretion. Insulin transports sugar from your blood to your cells and helps lower blood sugar levels.
  • Improve heart health. Bilberries are rich in vitamin K. Vitamin K helps prevent blood clots, which reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack. They may also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Fight free radicals. The antioxidants in bilberries combat the free radicals that cause disease. 
  • Improve brain function. The nutrients and antioxidants in bilberries may improve long-term memory.
  • Skin health. Vitamin K fights acne while vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties to calm skin redness and irritation. Antioxidants fight free radicals, preventing damage to skin and hair. They may also have anti-aging properties and keep your skin hydrated and nourished.
  • Hair growth. Bilberries may stimulate hair growth. They promote circulation, which supports blood flow to your hair follicles. This means stronger, healthier hair.

What to look for in a quality bilberry extract

Form

Bilberry extract comes in capsules, powder and liquid supplements. Bilberry can be eaten raw or used in your favorite fruit recipe. The extract can be mixed into your favorite smoothie or shake. These powder or liquid supplements are readily available online and in most health stores. If you have difficulty swallowing pills, consider a powder or liquid bilberry extract.

Organic ingredients

Look for bilberry extracts made with organic ingredients. Organic means the extract was made without preservatives or other chemicals. This generally means the extract supplement is high-quality and safer than non-organic alternatives.

Vegetarian-friendly

If you take bilberry extract capsules, keep in mind that not all capsules are vegetarian or vegan-friendly. Capsules are often made with gelatin, an animal byproduct. Look at the extract’s ingredients to find out if the capsules are gelatin-free.

Dosage and side effects

Bilberries are generally safe to consume in normal doses. Normal doses range up to 160 milligrams per day. Bilberry extract is not safe for children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you take blood-thinning or blood-sugar-lowering medications, consult your doctor before taking bilberry extract. 

How much you can expect to spend on bilberry extract

Bilberry extract ranges in price from $10-$20 depending on form, quality and quantity.

Bilberry extract FAQ

Are bilberries and blueberries the same?

A. Despite their similarities in taste and appearance, bilberries and blueberries are different. Blueberries are native to North America while bilberries are native to Northern Europe. Outside the United States, bilberries may be referred to as blueberries. Both berries are nutrient-rich, antioxidant-rich and contain a variety of health benefits.

Is bilberry poisonous?

A. No, but it’s best to avoid eating the raw leaf. Large amounts of bilberry leaf may lead to health issues.

What’s the best bilberry extract to buy?

Top bilberry extract

Nature's Way Bilberry Capsules

Nature’s Way Bilberry Capsules

What you need to know: This capsule contains 80 milligrams of bilberry, mixed with black elder to support healthy vision and eye function.

What you’ll love: It’s vegan, free of gluten and comes with either 60 or 90 capsules.

What you should consider: Capsules may be difficult to swallow, which some consumers may not like.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top bilberry extract for the money

Carlyle Bilberry Extract Capsules

Carlyle Bilberry Extract Capsules

What you need to know: This cost-effective and highly concentrated capsule is vegetarian-friendly and comes with 200 capsules full of anthocyanins.

What you’ll love: It’s free of gluten and genetically modified organisms. Two capsules contain 2,400 milligrams of bilberry extract.

What you should consider: A few customers complained that they had expected each capsule to contain 2,400 milligrams.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Herb Pharm Bilberry Liquid Extract

Herb Pharm Bilberry Liquid Extract

What you need to know: This high-potency extract is fast absorbing and made with the fully-ripened bilberry fruit.

What you’ll love: It’s certified organic, free of gluten and genetically modified organisms, and is easy to add to your favorite juice or a glass of water.

What you should consider: It may alter the taste of juice or water, which some consumers may not like.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Lilliana Winkworth writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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