Research appearing in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry (Vol. 56, No. 3: February 13, 2008, e-published ahead of print) showed that bilberry extract may have a protective effect on the kidney. Mice were exposed to a chemical, potassium bromate (KBrO3), which is an additive used in bread making. It is a toxic substance that has been linked to hearing loss and kidney damage. The mice were given a dose of the chemical that was high enough to cause kidney damage. They also gave an anthocyanin-enriched bilberry extract of 50, 100, and 200 mg/kg over five days. After receiving the bilberry extracts the mice exhibited a reversal in blood levels blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine to normal levels (these are blood markers that may indicate kidney damage). The bilberry also reduced malondialdehyde (an oxidative substance), nitric oxide and xanthine oxidase. The bilberry reduced the oxidative stress to the kidneys. Bilberry is a flavonoid found in blueberries.
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