Bilberry (2017) & Diabetes


Learn more about diabetes.


Scientists have been exploring the multiple benefits of bilberry (vaccinium myrtillus L.) for many years. The herbal extracts of bilberry have been found to beneficial in:

  • reducing inflammation,
  • reducing oxidative stress,
  • reducing cancerous lesions,
  • protecting the nervous sytem,
  • protecting the cardiovascular system, and
  • reducing metabolic syndrome (implicated in type 2 diabetes)

These researchers evaluated the ability of bilberry extracts to inhibit enzymes that convert starches into sugars. Part of the problem of type 2 diabetes is that the body is unable to process sugar, and so the actions of these enzymes becomes important.

First, they determined total phenolic content by spectroanalysis and the phenolic acid composition of the extracts. The ability of the extracts to inhibit certain enzymes was evaluated.

They found that the content of phenolic compounds varied:

  • from 1299.60 mg to 510.88 mg GAE/100 g for organic extracts,
  • and from 453.63 mg to 290.83 mg GAE/100 g for aqueous extracts.

They found that the major phenolic acids present, gallic acid and chlorogenic acid prevailed. In addition methanol and aqueous extracts were found which are effective inhibitors of a-glucosidase, an enzyme that converts starch to sugar.

The researchers concluded that the ability of these extracts to inhibit a-glucosidase presents an opportunity for type 2 diabetics to manage, through diet, their glycaemic levels.

Researchers: D. Karcheva-Bahchevanska, P. Lukova, et al
Publishe: Effect of Extracts of Bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) on Amyloglucosidase and a-Glucosidase Activity, Folia Medica, June 2017.