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Bilberry Extract is an herbal preparation with strong antioxidant properties. It is used to promote eye health and strengthen blood vessels, and it is thought to protect the heart as well. Both the fruit and leaves of bilberries, which are closely related to blueberries, are rich in compounds known as anthocyanidins. Anthocyanidins are a type of flavonoid, an extremely powerful antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables.
As antioxidants, the flavonoids in bilberry extract can prevent damage caused by free radicals that result from oxygen reactions in the body. These unstable oxygen molecules (free radicals) are created by metabolic reactions that occur in the body every day as a result of exercise, smoking, pollution and other factors. A free radical molecule has only seven electrons, one less than a stable oxygen molecule. It will bombard the body, seeking an additional electron to make them stable. The activity of free radicals accelerates aging and contributes to the development of cancer. In the retina of the eye, free radicals cause damage that can lead to vision loss as well as macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in people over 55 years of age.