From Immunity to Gut Health: Exploring the Health Benefits of Bilberries
The bilberry, a low-growing shrub native to Northern Europe, is a plant renowned for its high antioxidant content and long list of health benefits. Though less easily cultivated than its abundant North American relative, the blueberry, bilberries possess a suite of potent health-promoting properties. Bilberries have been shown to do everything from decreasing inflammation and oxidative stress, to lowering lipid levels, to enhancing immune health by fighting microbes. Bilberry extract is a key component of TWC’s Immune Boost Formula.
More Than a Nutrient Powerhouse
Bilberries owe some of their positive health effects to the various essential nutrients they contain, such as vitamins A, C, and E, as well as dietary fiber. What truly sets them apart, however, is their high concentration of anthocyanins. These unique plant pigments are responsible for the berries' deep blue color and, more importantly, their potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Acute inflammation (and oxidation), of course, is a normal bodily response. But chronic inflammation and oxidative stress lie at the center of many age-related diseases. Thus, given its ability to blunt both inflammation and oxidation, bilberry has long been touted as a natural compound capable of staving off disease and enhancing health.
Impacts on Immune Health, Cancer
Emerging research suggests that the anthocyanins in bilberries could have a significant impact on immune health. As mentioned above, anthocyanins are believed to boost the immune system's defense mechanisms by combating oxidative stress, a key factor in immune dysfunction. But the immune benefits of bilberry don’t stop there; recent research even suggests that bilberries could play a preventive role in certain types of cancers, by upregulating genes which suppress tumor growth, and enhancing the effects of a new class of treatment called immune checkpoint inhibitors.
Effects On Gut Health, Metabolic Syndrome
Equally compelling is the billberry's potential role in supporting gut health, which is intricately linked to immunity. The gut microbiome, the community of microbes living in our digestive tract, plays a vital role in regulating our immune responses. In a recent animal study, researchers found that bilberry extract enhanced the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Not only that, but it also improved lipid levels, attenuating the harms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a clear correlate of metabolic disease.
Bilberry extract's unique combination of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and anthocyanins make it an exciting compound in immune health support and more. As research touting the health benefits of bilberries continues to mount, it's fair to say that this humble berry has earned its place as a mainstay in anyone’s modern immune support regimen.
Bilberry extract is included in TWC’s Immune Boost Formula, which is a great starting point for anyone looking to enhance their immune health.
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