Blueberry extract contains the dark blue pigment of blueberries. This pigment ensures that, among other things, our tongue turns completely blue when we eat blueberries. But did you know that this secondary plant substance also has many positive effects on our body? Together with the other ingredients, blueberries are a true superfood that provides us with important vitamins and nutrients. With our blueberry extract test 2021 we want to give you all the important and exciting information about blueberries and the extract. Among other things, you will find out what effects the small berry is said to have. Furthermore, we will show you which types of blueberry extracts are available and how you can best integrate them into your everyday life all year round.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 The most important facts
- 3 The Best Blueberry Extract: Our Picks
- 4 Buying and evaluation criteria for blueberry extracts
- 5 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying bilberry extracts
- 5.1 What is bilberry extract and how does it work?
- 5.2 When and for whom is the intake of blueberry extract useful?
- 5.3 What parts of the plant are processed from blueberries?
- 5.4 What types of blueberry extract are there?
- 5.5 How should bilberry extract be dosed?
- 5.6 What side effects can bilberry extract cause?
- 5.7 What are the alternatives to bilberry extract?
The most important facts
- Blueberry extract is obtained from blueberries. However, the preparation is more concentrated than the pure fruit and is also available all year round.
- The anthocyanins contained, secondary plant substances, are responsible for the blue colouring. As antioxidants, they are important for cell protection. The blueberry has the highest amount of antioxidants of all berries.
- Blueberries, or blueberry extract, are used for many ailments (weakened eyesight, constipation, diarrhoea, high blood pressure). However, if you take too much, it can also cause digestive problems.
The Best Blueberry Extract: Our Picks
Buying and evaluation criteria for blueberry extracts
When buying blueberry extract, you can look at different aspects, such as:
- Quality of ingredients
- Tolerance / suitability for allergy sufferers
- Dosage form
By making the right choice for you, you can save money and also make sure that you don't give your body anything it doesn't need. Therefore, always look for high quality and, if necessary, ask to see the manufacturer's certificates.
Quality of ingredients
A highly relevant criterion is the quality of the ingredients in the capsules or tablets of your blueberry extract.
The more ingredients are listed on the packaging, the less of the real thing, the blueberry, is present. But manufacturers do not always list all the substances they contain. To be sure that the product is of high quality, you can look for possible quality seals. These are a sign of high-quality ingredients and processing. Other labels you can look out for are:
- Organic cultivation
- Free from artificial colouring
- Free from artificial flavours
- Free from preservatives
Such labels indicate that this is a high quality product. No crap that hides unnecessary ingredients. Another indication of a good or bad product is the transparency of the manufacturer. The more information you can find about your product and its ingredients, the better.
Tolerance / suitability for allergy sufferers
Basically, blueberries are well tolerated. And so are blueberry extracts. However, if you suffer from possible intolerances, you should pay attention not only to the quality of the ingredients, but also to the ingredients in general. If you suffer from a food intolerance, such as gluten or lactose intolerance, you should pay particular attention to the ingredients when buying. If preparations contain such ingredients, they may cause gastrointestinal problems.
If you are already sensitive to the fruit itself, preparations can also lead to intolerances.
You can buy bilberry extract in different forms. These include:
- Bilberry extract in capsule form
- Bilberry extract in tablet form
- Blueberry extract in powder form
Many people do not want to take capsules or tablets. For such people, the preparation is available in powder form. You can simply dissolve it in water and drink it. Other people find it easier to take capsules and tablets and therefore prefer this form of blueberry extract.
One dosage form is not better than the other. This criterion is all about your personal preference.
Bioavailability is a measurement that determines how high the proportion of an active ingredient is that is absorbed unchanged by the body - usually by the bloodstream. Blueberries in themselves have a good bioavailability. However, if the preparation also contains piperine (black pepper), the effect is enhanced. However, if you do not tolerate black pepper, you must be careful when buying it to avoid unnecessary intolerance.
This is about the frequency of use, the content per pack and the price-performance ratio. Manufacturers often vary in the frequency of use. Therefore, find out in advance how many capsules or tablets you need to take daily. The same applies to blueberry extract in powder form. Find out how many milligrams you need to take daily. You should also pay attention to the contents per package. How many capsules or tablets, or how many grams of powder are in a package. This way you can calculate how long a pack would last. Then you can ask yourself whether the price-performance ratio is right. Whether you are willing to spend so much money so that you can get by for so many days with the respective product.
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying bilberry extracts
In order to inform you comprehensively about the effectiveness of bilberry extract and to give you an understanding of the current state of science, we have summarised all the important information in the following sections.
What is bilberry extract and how does it work?
The blueberry, also called blueberry, owes its dark colour to anthocyanins. The berry has a particularly high proportion of anthocyanins. These plant pigments provide antioxidant protection for our cells. But the superfood can do even more.
The possible positive effects of blueberry extract can be traced back to the following ingredients:
- Vitamin A, C, E
- Dietary fibre
- Amino acids
Due to the ingredients mentioned, blueberries are said to have many positive effects. Above all, the high proportion of anthocyanins, which act as antioxidants, are said to be responsible for most of the effects. In the following sections we will show you what science says about it, what is really true and what still needs to be better researched.
Effect on the eyes
Blueberries are said to have a positive effect on our eyesight as well as a preventive effect with regard to possible eye diseases. Vitamin A and anthocyanins are primarily responsible for this. However, science is not yet completely sure about the effect. There are studies that show that blueberry extract has a positive effect on vision and adaptation to changing light conditions. The berry's ingredients are said to strengthen night vision in particular. (1, 2) However, there are also many studies that contradict these assumptions. They cannot find any evidence of the influence of blueberry extract on vision. (3) However, studies have found that bilberry extract positively influences the production of tear fluid. Thus, the preparation can at least help with dry eyes. (4)
Effect on gastrointestinal complaints
Due to the high fibre content of bilberries, bilberry extract also promotes healthy digestion. With the help of the dietary fibres, the good intestinal bacteria are promoted. (5) The high polyphenol content in blueberries also has a positive effect on gastrointestinal diseases. Due to the tannins it contains, blueberry extract also helps with diarrhoea. (6) However, if you consume blueberries, or blueberry extract, in too large quantities, you will have the opposite effect. Excessive consumption can cause digestive problems. The same happens if you are sensitive to the fruit itself. In this case, the consumption of blueberry extract can also lead to gastrointestinal problems.
Effect on the skin
Furthermore, blueberries are said to have a positive effect on the cells and thus on our skin. This is why the fruit is often used in cosmetics. It is said to have a refreshing and anti-inflammatory effect. Science has also provided some evidence for these claims. According to this, the polyphenols, which also act as antioxidants, are supposed to ensure that free radicals are neutralised. This protects the cells - and thus our skin - from oxidative stress and ageing. (7, 8) In addition, blueberries are said to have an anti-inflammatory effect. This means that cell damage can be repaired. This effect is due to both the polyphenols and the tannins contained in blueberries. (8)
Effect on diabetes
In principle, it has no negative effects if diabetics consume blueberries, or blueberry extract. But now the superfood is also supposed to reduce the risk of diabetes. In 2018, a review was published that examined studies from the past 10 years with regard to the effects of blueberries. The conclusion was that blueberries can have a positive effect on diabetes. (9) The reason for this is the high proportion of anthocyanins, the plant pigments. These ensure improved glucose utilisation. This in turn has a positive effect on the metabolism.
Effect on blood pressure
The ingredients of blueberries, or their extract, are also said to have a positive effect on blood pressure. However, science does not seem to be in complete agreement. A study on the effects of blueberries, in this case consumed as juice, on blood pressure was already tested in 2015. The result was that blood pressure was significantly lowered. (10) A study from 2017, on the other hand, did not find any significant effect of blueberries on blood pressure. (11) In 2019, another study on this topic was published. In this study, the test persons consumed blueberry juice daily for one month. This showed that the blood vessels could be dilated and the blood pressure lowered. (12) The reason for this is said to be the anthocyanins, the blue pigment of the berry. According to the studies with the positive results, anthocyanins are significantly involved in the regulation of vascular function and blood pressure. (10, 12)
Effect on cardiovascular diseases
Cardiovascular diseases, also known as cardiovascular diseases, are diseases of the heart and blood vessels. These include, among others:
- High blood pressure
- Low blood pressure
- Heart failure
- Heart attack
- Cardiac arrhythmia
As already mentioned, studies show that blueberries have a beneficial effect on blood pressure. (10, 12) But it is not only blood pressure that benefits from the blue berry. Blueberries can also have a positive effect on other diseases of the heart and blood vessels. This claim has already been supported by numerous studies. (13, 14, 15, 16, 17) The longest study conducted to date was published in 2019. The subjects were given 150g of blueberries daily over a period of 6 months. The results confirm that the superfood can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. (17) The reason for this are the anthocyanins. They are said to have the ability to improve vascular function as well as reduce vascular stiffness.
Effect on cancer
It is believed that blueberries also have the ability to reduce the risk of several types of cancer. The reason for this is said to be the secondary plant compounds, polyphenols. The antioxidants trap free radicals and neutralise them. In this way, they protect our cells from damage. In 2014 and 2015, however, results of studies with mice showed that the antioxidants even accelerate tumour growth. Thus, the secondary plant compounds would not reduce the risk of cancer, but increase it. (18, 19) More recent studies, however, report the opposite results. These studies - published in 2020 - report positive influences of polyphenols on the cancer risk. (16, 20, 21)
However, more research is needed to be really sure whether blueberries are able to reduce the risk of cancer.
Effect on cognitive abilities
Science is more unanimous about the connection between blueberries and cognitive ability. Current studies show that the ingredients of blueberries have a positive effect on the cognitive ability
- short- and long-term memory (22),
- working memory (23),
- spatial thinking (22, 23) and
- episodic memory (24).
The results are not limited to a certain age group. Children, young adults and older people can all benefit from the high proportion of polyphenols in blueberries. (23, 24, 25) But it is not only cognitive performance that is said to benefit from the superfood. Mental health also draws its benefits from it, according to a study. Here, too, the high proportion of polyphenols is held responsible. This is even said to reduce depressive symptoms. (26)
When and for whom is the intake of blueberry extract useful?
What parts of the plant are processed from blueberries?
- The wild blueberry
- The cultivated blueberry
You can distinguish between the two by colour, size and taste. The cultivated blueberry is larger than the wild blueberry. The outer skin of cultivated blueberries is also blue, but the flesh is white. The taste of the two types of blueberries is also different. The wild blueberry tastes less sweet than the cultivated blueberry.
The reason for the different taste as well as the different colour of the pulp is the composition of the ingredients. Cultivated blueberries have a higher proportion of sugar. It can also be concluded that the health-promoting anthocyanins, which are also responsible for the blue colour, are less present in cultivated blueberries. Thus, blueberry extracts with wild blueberries also guarantee you a higher proportion of the good ingredients.
What types of blueberry extract are there?
- Bilberry extract in capsule form
- Bilberry extract in tablet form
- Bilberry extract in powder form
We will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each preparation in more detail below.
Bilberry extract in capsule form
The blueberry preparation in capsule form is widespread and is also offered by many different brands. The capsules are taken with a little water. If you have no problems swallowing capsules, this is a quick and easy method. The amount is also already dosed. This way you can avoid taking too much. Provided you follow the instructions and don't take too many capsules a day. Another plus is that you can easily take the capsules on the go - as long as you have some water with you.
Bilberry extract in tablet form
The extract in tablet form is similar to the capsules. Here, too, the amount is already dosed and you can simply take it with a sip of water. This means that you can also take this dosage form with you and take it on the go. Here, too, you should follow the instructions on the packaging and not take too many tablets at once. As already mentioned, too high a dosage can lead to gastrointestinal problems.
Blueberry extract in powder form
In contrast to capsules and tablets, you have to dose bilberry extract in powder form yourself. Also, you must not take the powder pure, but dissolve it in water. If you do not want to consume the powder with water, you can also mix it into smoothies or yoghurts. Always pay attention to the exact dosage instructions. If you prepare the blueberry extract in advance, you can also take it with you and consume it on the go. This form is particularly suitable for people who do not want to take capsules or tablets.
How should bilberry extract be dosed?
|Product type||Recommended use|
|Bilberry extract capsules||3 capsules daily|
|Bilberry extract tablets||3 tablets daily|
|Bilberry extract powder||1 tsp / 5 grams per day|
As so often in life, the saying goes: A lot does not always necessarily help a lot! This means that if you take more capsules, tablets or powder, it does not automatically mean that it is more effective. If the dose is too high, the effect can be reversed and digestive problems can occur.
What side effects can bilberry extract cause?
However, if you are already sensitive to the fruit itself, blueberry extract can also lead to intolerances. As with excessive consumption, intolerance usually manifests itself in gastrointestinal complaints such as diarrhoea. It is best to consult your doctor before investing your money in blueberry extract. And if you do notice intolerances, you can simply stop consuming the preparation.
What are the alternatives to bilberry extract?
|Blueberries||If you don't want to take dietary supplements, you can simply fall back on the whole fruit. It is best to look for organic quality. With this alternative, you can be sure that you are not consuming any additional ingredients. Unlike the extract, however, the fruit itself is not available all year round. In addition, the ingredients in the preparation are more concentrated than in the fruit.|
|Other fruits||If you are sensitive to blueberries, you can simply use other fruits. Fruits such as chokeberries, blackcurrants, dark grapes, figs and plums also have a high anthocyanin value. (27) All fruits that are blue, purple, red or blue-black in colour. However, blueberries still have the highest anthocyanin value.|
|Vegetables||Vegetables that have a strong, dark colour also have an increased anthocyanin value. These include red cabbage / blue cabbage, aubergines, beetroot and blue beans. (28, 29, 30, 31)|
|Spices||There are also some specific spices that contain higher levels of antioxidants. The best-known of these are sage and thyme. However, borage and heather are also included. (32, 33)|
The listed alternatives, like blueberries, have a high content of anthocyanins - antioxidants. Thus they can have positive effects on the body just like blueberries. You can also buy other berries as a preparation or simply integrate them into your diet like vegetables and spices.
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