Bilberry Side Effects
The Benefits and Side Effects of Bilberry
Before adding bilberry supplements to your diet, it is important to understand the proper uses and side effects of bilberry. The bilberry is a berry native to Europe. As you might have guessed, the bilberry is closely related to the American blueberry and it happens to share many of its cousin’s health benefits. The bilberry bush is a perennial that grows to be about a foot and a half in height and its berries present a very close resemblance to blueberries in appearance and taste. There are many people raving about the benefits of bilberry, and you may be wondering just what those benefits are, as well as if there are any side effects of bilberry.
The Benefits of Bilberry
One of the most well-known benefits of bilberry is that it works as an anticoagulant, or blood-thinner. This berry has been used for years by the Europeans to treat a variety of venous disorders. When one’s blood vessels become clogged, weakened, or if their blood is simply prone to clotting, it can be very helpful to take a blood thinning agent to allow the blood to pass more freely. Studies are even starting to suggest that bilberries can reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and prevent them from building up into a plaque-like substance along the walls of blood vessels. It has also been seen that bilberries are able to actually strengthen weakened blood vessels which in turn can improve circulation.
The bilberry has been used for thousands of years to treat a number of maladies, but one of the most prominent conditions was diarrhea and other gastrointestinal disorders. As you know, disorders of the stomach and intestines can have some pretty nasty effects on one’s overall health, not to mention acting as a veritable sap to one’s energy levels. Bilberry has anti-inflammatory qualities which enable it to reduce irritation, swelling, and excessive blood flow in the gastrointestinal tract. Although extensive studies have not been conducted to prove this, many European countries do still use bilberry to treat diarrhea and other digestive disorders.
In addition to these conditions, it is also thought that bilberry could be useful in treating general fatigue, cataracts, skin problems, gout, hemorrhoids, arthritis, and even diabetes.
The Side Effects of Bilberry
Although bilberry seems to be a promising berry, it may not be safe for everyone. Those who suffer from hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, could suffer serious side effects of bilberry due to its ability to lower one’s blood sugar. This is definitely not a desired trait for someone who needs to have the opposite effect on their glucose levels. In fact, if too much bilberry is taken and one’s blood sugar levels drop dangerous low, one could go into shock.
People who suffer from a disorder which affects their blood’s ability to clot should not consume large amounts of bilberry or even take a bilberry supplement. We mentioned earlier that bilberry has a thinning effect on one’s blood. Someone whose body already struggles to clot their blood naturally could find their condition worsening exponentially to the point that a mere nosebleed could be fatal.
It is not recommended that anyone take bilberry supplements greater than 480mg. In fact, the recommended dosage for this in supplemental form is 120mg once or twice a day. Bilberry is generally safe in moderate amounts, however if too much is ingested it could actually be poisonous. This is because it can accumulate within the body resulting in toxicity. If you are unsure as to what dosage of bilberry would be safest for you, consult your doctor to obtain a professional recommendation.