Posted on Nov 29, 2011, 6 a.m.
Consuming dried bilberries reduces inflammation in the gut, and helps with inflammatory bowel disease, in a laboratory animal model.
Bilberries, closely related to the North American blueberry, are rich in anthocyanins, a potent antioxidant compound. Gerhard Rogler, from University Hospital of Zurich (Switzerland), and colleagues exposed lab mice to a chemical that induced inflammation in the colon, resulting in colitis. The animals were subsequently divided into three groups: one group received a diet supplemented with 20% dried bilberries, the second group had their diet supplemented with 1% anthocyanins, and the third group was supplemented with 10% anthocyanins. The animals that consumed dried bilberries a decrease in the secretion of pro-inflammatory compounds, and showed a marked reduction in the severity of colitis. As well, the anthocyanin-supplemented groups also exhibited reduced inflammation in the intestine. Observing that: “Taken together, ingestion of dried bilberries had positive effects on various parameters,” the study authors conclude that: “Oral administration of [anthocyanins] resulted in an amelioration of acute colitis as well as chronic colitis.”
Piberger, H., Oehme, A., Hofmann, C., Dreiseitel, A., Sand, P. G., Obermeier, F., Schoelmerich, J., Schreier, P., Krammer, G., Rogler, G. “Bilberries and their anthocyanins ameliorate experimental colitis.” Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 55(11) 1724–1729; November 2011.