Bilberry aids night vision and improves the symptoms of nearsightedness

November 17, 2005

Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), a relative of the blueberry, is used for diarrhea, hemorrhoids, and urinary tract infections. The active constituents in Bilberry belong to the anthocyanoside family and Bilberry supplies more than a dozen of these powerful antioxidants that help strengthen and repair blood vessels and connective tissue.

Bilberry is very useful for the eyes and research shows it may help prevent cataracts and helps improve age related macular degeneration. Bilberry has been shown to help prevent the damage that often occurs in the little blood vessels in the back of the eyes of diabetics (diabetic retinopathy in the retina or macula) that can lead to vision loss, blurry vision, even blindness. Bilberry may even help retinitis pigmentosa that destroys night vision, peripheral vision, and eventually results in blindness. Bilberry improves the production of rhodopsin needed for night vision.

Nearsightedness (myopia) affects about 30% of Americans, and it can cause eyestrain that contributes to or results in headaches, dry-irritated eyes, poor night vision, and discomfort when reading or in bright light. In this study 60 individuals with mild to moderate nearsightedness were given either a total serving of Bilberry supplying 85mg of anthocyanosides twice a day or a placebo for 4 weeks. The symptoms associated with nearsightedness decreased significantly over placebo in the people receiving Bilberry and their sensitivity to contrast - the scientific measure of the quality of their night vision also significantly improved on Bilberry but not on placebo. The study is published in the June 2005 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Hopefully none of us will encounter an agent as destructive as mustard gas, but it is good for us to note that these particular antioxidants are very lung friendly and that available oral supplement levels have shown protective activity in research.

Using Fish Oil Capsules along with statin drugs decreases the risk of heart attack better than statin drug alone

EPA is one of the disease fighting omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils. In a study of over 18,000 men and women, those who took hefty doses of EPA along with either Zocor or Pravachol were 19% less likely to suffer a heart ailment than those who took the statin drugs alone; the study lasted 4.5 years. The heart ailments which fish oils improved the protection from were serious and included heart attack, sudden cardiac death, unstable angina, and the need to undergo bypass surgery (the procedure to reopen clogged arteries). People with existing heart disease benefited the most from the combination. The research was performed at Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine and was presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Associations Scientific Sessions that just took place in Dallas.