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Information on Bilberry and other Bioflavinoids
by Linda Kaspari
Billberry, Huckleberries, cranberry, grape seed, elderberry and
pine bark extract are Anthocyanidin Bioflavonoids. These
bioflavonoids are particulary effective in strengthening
capillaries. Patients should include vitamin C and bioflavonoids as
part of a lifetime regimen to help prevent progressive loss of
sight. Essential for proper absorption and use of vitamin C,
bioflavonoids assist in maintaining the intercellular glue
(collagen) that strengthens connective tissue throughout the body.
They have antioxidant powers and are essential for strong blood
There are four primary factors which cause capillaries to become
- Abnormally high estrogen levels in females (Inv Oph 1994; 35;
- Prolonged and elevated adrenal (stress) hormone levels.
- Elevated blood sugar levels (Inv Oph 1980; 19: 168; J Ocular
Pharm 1995;11: 469-87) 4. Lack of vitamin C and bioflavonoids (Brit
Med J 1975; 3: 205-08; Ophthalmologica 1966; 152: 109-17; J Allergy
1950; 21: 133-47). Control of these factors may prevent edema
(swelling), hemorrhage and development of new undesired blood
Other studies of interest concerning bioflavonoids are:
- Billberry jam was used in World War II to improve night vision
of fighter pilots under stress (Plant Flavonoids in Biology &
Medicine II, Alan R. Liss, 1988, pp. 107-121).
- Modern studies confirm that anthocyanidins strengthen weak
capillaries (Diab Med 1996; 13: 882-88).
- Up to 70% of RP cases involve central retinal (macular) edema
(Primary Care of the Posterior Segment, 2nd ed, Appleton &
Lange, 1994, p. 436). Behind the photoreceptor cells is a bed of
capillaries or hair-thin vessels that connect arterioles (small
arteries that carry oxygenated blood) with venules (small veins
that carry de-oxygenated blood). This is called the
chorio-capillaries. The capillaries are semipermeable for the
exchange of gases, fluids, and nutrients. Normally capillaries have
tight or small openings. In disease, the capillaries are weak. Just
a 5-10% increase in the diameter of retinal arteries and veins
increases the risk of retinal swelling (edema) and hemorrhagic
leakage of red cells. (Acta Oph 1995; 73: 119-24).
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