Research shows bilberry extract helps fight against macular degeneration and cataracts in lab rats
Cataracts and macular degeneration are the major cause of vision deterioration in the elderly. A study by Russian scientists shows that taking bilberry supplements may help ward off these diseases.
Researchers used a particular strain of lab rats (OXYS rats) capable of reproducing many of the key features of human age-related cataracts and macular degeneration. From 1.5 to 3 months, these rats were given either a control diet or a diet supplemented with bilberry extract.
At 3 months, more then 70% of the rats in the control group had cataract and macular degeneration. Rats in the group given bilberry extract had no impairments in the lenses and retina.
Bilberry is also known as European blueberry, and is closely related to North American wild and cultivated blueberries and huckleberries. Bilberry is known to be a potent antioxidant and has been shown to help other vision problems such as glaucoma.
Results suggest that long-term supplementation with bilberry extract is effective in prevention of macular degeneration and cataract.
Source: “Dietary supplementation with bilberry extract prevents macular degeneration and cataracts in senesce-accelerated OXYS rats”, Fursova et al, Adv Gerontol, 2005; 16: 76-9.